The plan was to get up by 7 and out by 8. It didn't work out that way as John had to be out the door for work by 8. Jim made way in the bathroom for John (of course!) which threw us a little later than planned.
While we were finishing up getting ready, John called to tell us he had found Leisa and Tim loitering at the tube station. We told him to tell them we would be there shiortly. By the time we got to the station we didn't see them outside, so we went in, but couldn't find them in the station or down on the platform either. Byron went out to search for them and we spent a few anxious moments until Byron returned, having found them at the other Clapham Common station, across the steet.
Our first stop was Victoria station to pick up train tickets for later in the week, and then over to Tower Hill.
While Rowena and Jim waited in line for tickets Leisa and Tim and I went gifty shopping. Then while Rowena and I stood in line so I could get a guidebook and she could inquire after the Key ceremony, the others got lunch.
"We had Fish N Chips at the Tower of London" I like being able to say that 8) They never could find the guy who would be able to tell if we were on the list to view the Lock-In, so we had to give up on that.
After lunch we joined a tour with a yeoman-warder. Rowena and byron had been on the tour before so they left almost immediately to wander about on their own, and Tim and Leisa left the tour shortly as well, saying to meet later at the Traitor's Gate. Jim and I remained with the tour through the end, which was at the small chapel called St Paul of Vincula.
FACT: The Yeoman warders were formed in 1485.
After the tour we went to the Jewel House where we saw the crown jewels and royal platters and such. Golden wine bowls that coulsd double as baptismal fonts or vice versa. The ladle was a giant golden seashell! I think the current royalty should add gilded sporks to the collection.
Following the Jewel House we went into the White Tower, which is the armory. I wasn't all that interested in the armory, but we were trying to figure out how to get to the wall walk. This was not the way. After the first couple of rooms of swords and armor I was searching for the way out. We kept following the exit signs, but they kept leading up these winding steep staircases with impossibly tiny tringular steps. It was a little frustrating, but it turned out to be worth it as eventually we came to an absolutely beautiful chapel
on the top floor. The top floor is where the Royal family lived. After the chappel it was back down the windy staircases all the way to the bottom floor. Very scary for a person who falls down walking on even, unbroken pavement!
At one point as we were wandering I was taking pictures of one of the ravens, talking to him to try to get him to turn and look at me. I called "hello" to him, and he said it back!
No one else was near me at that moment, so I have no proof, but I swear he talked. Reading the pamphlet about the ravens later I discovered that one of the ravens, Thor, does indeend talk.
We headed for the Traitors Gate, but got sidetracked into the Bloody Tower. There was a stairwell in there that was so small I was scared I was going to get stuck in it! We saw the chamber where Walter Raleigh was held.
Back to the traitor's Gate,
but no one was there, so we headed for the Medieval Castle, where Edward I lived. From there we finally managed to get up on the wall walk and took pictures with the Tower Bridge in the background.
Coming down we took a few more pictures, spoke to a re-enactor in elizabethan garb, bought some souveniers and finally found Byron, who had been sent to find us when we were not at the Traitor's Gate when everyone else showed up.
After the Tower we had some delicious sweets from a vendor, exchanged picture taking services with some other tourists
and then went to the Tower Bridge Exhibit. This was free with our Heritage passes. yay!
The exhibition allows you inside the bridge, where you can see some of the mechanics,
watch a short film, and walk the elevated footbridges. there are sightseeing binoculars at stations along the footbridge allowing you too look out at either bank and down the Thames. Next to the binoculars are placards that tell you what the different distinctive building are. Like the Gerkin. 8)
At one point you are required to follow a blue line to the next portion of the exhibit and Leisa and I had an attack of the sillies which involved following the line too literally.
We took a bus to Covent Garden Market. First thing we saw when we got off the bus was Cadenhead's Covent Garden Whisky shop,
which means we waited a little while for jim to peruse the shelves. 8)
We saw a marker in Covent Garden that stated that it was the site of the first Punch and Judy show ever performed. We shopped a bit (LUSH) and had dinner at The White lion. We walked to Leiciester square, but it was a bit late by then
so we tubed it home, where I promptly fell on my face, exhausted.