Tower of London and GIFT GIVEAWAY!

As I write this, I’m afraid I have a terrible cold. I had planned on posting this earlier. My apologies, dearest readers!

For those who have read my bio, you know that I love to travel. I’ve had the good fortune to visit a number of countries, and have seen some incredible cities and places. I even stood on the top of a volcano once and looked into its mouth. It was dormant, of course. Yet still it was a little scary and exhilarating.

And yet, despite having been to four continents, I’d never been to England. I don’t know why, really. It’s always been on my radar. And I was excited this year to go! My husband, the kids and I spent 8 days touring around London and the south of England. We had a fabulous time! We explored London, ate enough fish and chips to last several lifetimes, did the Jack the Ripper tour (at night!) and saw Stonehenge, Bath, Brighton, Hampton Court Palace – just to name a few.

For now…Let’s step into the infamous, TOWER OF LONDON.

Approaching the entrance…See it there on the right?

Inside the Tower of London visitors are met with two wooden signs that offer a concise description of the Tower and it’s history. The first read as follows:

“PRISONERS OF THE TOWER OF LONDON

The Tower of London was not built as a prison. Yet ever since its construction as a fortress and royal residence, people have been imprisoned here. Over the centuries the Tower has become a symbol of state authority and an object of fear.”

The next:

“SENT TO THE TOWER

The story of imprisonment at the Tower of London is not simply the popular one of heroes and heroines forced to cower in rat-infested dungeons. The Tower has housed the nation’s most important prisoners of state, including kings and queens, as well as ordinary men and women caught up in momentous historical events. Royalty and aristocrats were usually held in luxurious and comfortable lodgings. Many prisoners were released after they won back royal favor. Others were set free after providing information. Some even escaped. However, if the government of the day considered that your religious or political beliefs posed a threat to national security, you could be locked up in solitary or ‘close’ confinement. Your next sight of the outside world may have been during the short journey to your execution.

During the Medieval and Tudor period, the Tower of London was a secure citadel where royal or aristocratic rivals could be kept out of sight. It was a place where religious opponents could be incarcerated during the turbulent years when Protestantism battled with Catholicism for national supremacy. Later still, the Tower housed political radicals, prisoners of war and disobedient soldiers.”

The famous TRAITORS’ GATE.

This is the gate prisoners entered the Tower, many never to return home again. The first photo is the outside view of the gate. The second is what the gate looks like inside the Tower grounds.

Most prisoners were marched outside its walls to the streets for a public execution. Only very important people were executed inside its walls in private. Our tour guide said, “You must be very well connected to be disconnected inside the Tower.”

Both wives of Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, were executed on the Tower green.

THE TOWER GREEN –INSIDE THE WALLS OF THE TOWER OF LONDON

MORE OF THE TOWER GREEN – INSIDE THE WALLS OF THE TOWER OF LONDON

NEXT TO THE TOWER GREEN – INSIDE THE WALLS OF THE TOWER OF LONDON

The approximate spot where executions were done inside walls of the Tower of London. In the middle of this monument is a glass pillow and around the circle are the names of those executed on the Tower green. (Including King Henry VIII’s two unfortunate wives).

The Tower of London is made up of various towers and also houses the incredible, royal crown jewels of the monarchs of England. They date back to Cromwell. I don’t have any photos of them. For security reasons, photographing them is prohibited.

Apparently, they’re uninsured because they’re irreplaceable. Understandably, they don’t want any jewel thieves photographing their security system and plotting to steal the royal jewels. Talk about great stuff for a novel!

I did see this crown (stunning in person)…

…as well as many others including the small crown Queen Victoria had made (seen in this pic) because the larger ones gave her a headache. It’s breathtaking!

One of the views outside The Tower…”

There were wonderful gift shops in the Tower of London. I purchased some items, and I’m going to give one of the little gifts away to a random commenter who responds to the question below.

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NOTE: You *must* be a follower of this blog to qualify.

I’ll select the winner and announced it on Friday. Sept. 17.

QUESTION: What’s the best vacation you’ve ever taken?

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Next time…I’ll be talking about beautiful Bath!