Quick Recap and the Tower Attractions

Aug 14

Quick Recap and the Tower Attractions

Hi everybody, let’s recap the last couple of days… On Sunday, the 12th, Keith and a friend took us on an 18 mile bike ride along the coast to Reculver for some breakfast and to see the Reculver Towers. After our sore butts recovered a little we drove to Herne Bay to see Hollie, Keith’s niece, sing a few songs in her band the Interseptors. They put on a great show! Then we headed home to BBQ with Jill & Keith’s neighbors, who were lovely, and watched the Olympic closing ceremony.

On Monday, the 13th, Keith dropped us off at the train station and we rode into London. We met up with our Airbnb host and then holed up in our room to plan what we wanted to do in London and where we could stay in York and Edinburgh. Once we got most of that figured out we ventured around our place to find some grub. Most of the restaurants we saw were closed but we ended up finding a place called Small and Beautiful. My burger tasted fine but Amanda’s risotto tasted a little like dirt 🙁 We finished that night with some Game of Thrones episodes and hit the sack.

Today, the 14th, has been a long day. Our pedometer recorded 9.53 miles of walking today! I wish it could keep track of the time spent standing though. Then you could really get a sense of how many calories we burned today.

Our first tourist attraction was the Tower of London. A collection of 2o towers in two rings of concentric defensive walls and a partially filled in 160 foot wide moat that protects the Crown Jewels, and previously protected kings, queens, prisoners, and more. We did the hour-long Yeoman Warder (aka Beefeater) guided tour and definitely enjoyed it. To be a Yeoman Warder, you have to have served in the military for over 22 years and have a certain list of badges and qualifications. We stood at the spot where Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII, was executed. Lady Jane Grey, the “Nine Days’ Queen”, was also beheaded there.

We also learned about the tower’s ravens. There used to be a problem where there were too many ravens in the tower and they interfered with astronomy work. A legend stated that if all the ravens leave the tower, the tower will fall. Clearly, all ravens could not be removed but something needed to be done. Charles II compromised and decided the ravens would be protected by a newly appointed Ravenmaster, but that there would only be six ravens at the tower. From then on, only six ravens are kept in the tower with clipped wings. WWII bombings brought the live raven count from 6 down to 4 so two replacement and two reserve ravens were added.

After browsing around the tower some more, and doing a tour around the tower walls, we unexpectedly found a Guinness World Record poster in the White Tower (the main tower in the center of the fortress). The record was of the tallest suit of armor for a man. The suit measured 6 feet 8 inches tall. Imagine being on the battlefield and having a giant in a shiny suit of armor swinging a sword or mace at your face. No thanks.

Stepping out of the Tower of London you can’t help but see the Tower Bridge and that’s where we decided to go next. Before we went up top, we waited for the bridge to be raised for a boat to come through. We watched a few funky videos on the design and building of the bridge and were able to see the Thames from up high. There was an engine room tour at the end and that was pretty interesting. The massive steam engines aren’t used anymore as the bridge was converted electricity.

Dinner was next. We stopped at The Pommelers Rest and had some tasty food there. Our intention after dinner was to visit the British Museum but we had mixed up the opening and closing times and found that it was closed. Oopsies. I really wanted to make sure we saw Big Ben so I convinced Amanda to walk the 2.5 miles over to Westminster. Well, it would have been only 2.5 miles if we hadn’t gone across the London and Millenium Bridges. Once we realized what Big Ben was attached to Amanda wasn’t too happy that I made her walk almost 3 miles to see something that we had planned on seeing the next day. Tomorrow we’ll be visiting Westminster Abbey later on in the day which is very close to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.

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