Saturday 18 August 2007

London - Day 2 ......

We were up bright and early and waiting at the National Archives when they opened the doors at 10.00 a.m. We checked the records we had reserved were booked out to us then ordered the others we needed (they take about 30 minutes to arrive). We had to check 10 years of records but one year was missing and guess what, 'Sod's Law' that must be the year we need because we couldn't find what we wanted in the other nine years! Doesn't it make you want to spit!!!! Still we enjoyed the research and at least we have eliminated those nine years.

We left the NA and scurried to Kew Station to catch the tube to Tower Hill. We were really impressed with London Transport as far as efficiency and pricing goes - it leaves Greater Manchester Transport sadly lacking! We got to Tower Hill at lunchtime so decided to have something to eat before tackling the Tower itself.

I had secured a coupon which, on showing our train tickets, entitled one adult to pay half price which was quite a saving as it cost £16.00 each to get into the Tower. You can see by MWM's smile he enjoyed the saving!

I've put together a slide show of some of the things we saw such as:

Traitor's Gate - it was eerie to see where Anne Boleyn would have entered the Tower and the actual steps she would have climbed from the boat to her imprisonment and eventual execution.

The Scaffold Site - where Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard (Henry VIII's wives), and others were executed. (click on photo to enlarge for details)

We saw the Tower Ravens. Legend has it that Charles II was told that if the ravens left the Tower, the kingdom and the fortress would fall, so apparently the ravens wings are clipped now to prevent them leaving. (Click on photo to enlarge)

The White Tower houses displays from the Royal Armouries' collection and of course we went into the Jewel House to see the Crown Jewels but you are not allowed to take photographs but you can see official photographs here. They truly are magnificent, but I was amazed at how tiny Queen Victoria's crown is!

The Bloody Tower is where the 'Little Princes' were suppopsesd to have been murdered, (read about the mystery of The Princes in the Tower), we also took photographs of a 'prison cell', which is quite luxurious, and instruments of torture (Scavengers Daughter, The Rack and The Manacles) in the Wakefield Tower.

As we left the Tower MWM took this shot of Tower Bridge - isn't it magnificent?

We jumped on the tube to Tottenham Court Road to pick our tickets up at the Dominion Theatre, so we wouldn't have to queue when we arrived there for the show and, as we had a little time to spare, we went to the British Museum. Unfortunately by this time I was feeling exhausted and a bit faint, it was really warm, so we didn't get a chance to look round I had to sit outside in the air until I recovered enough to get a taxi over to Covent Garden where we had booked at meal at Porter's Restaurant. I did manage to get a photograph of the outside of the Museum and one inside of the roof - you can see two (work) men walking across the roof! (see the next slide show).

Before we went for our meal we sat in the Punch & Judy pub in Covent Garden Market watching the street entertainers (see slides). Apparently the first Punch & Judy puppet show was performed here in 1662 witnessed by Samuel Pepys.

Our meal at Porters was excellent - they specialise in traditional English dishes at reasonable prices, we had booked the meal and the show as a special deal for £37.50, the meal consisting of two courses either starter and main course, or main course and a sweet, you can order extra dishes of course which you pay for along with any drinks you have.

After our meal we jumped in a cab back to the theatre and were really suprised to seen how many people there were going into the theatre for a Tuesday! We had really good seats in the stalls with a great view. Guess who was sitting just two rows behind me - Cheryl Baker who used to be with the group Buck's Fizz who won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1981 - you can see them in action here.

The show (We Will Rock You) was absolutely FANTASTIC, but then we are both big QUEEN fans, everyone was on their feet singing and clapping, the atmosphere was ELECTRIC!! You can listen here to some of the music from the show and see details of the story. We have already decided if the show comes to Manchester we will definitely be booking to see it!

We were tired when we came out of the theatre but absolutely BUZZING, we couldn't help but sing the songs we'd just heard on the tube home, I'm sure the other passengers must have thought we were totally MAD but we didn't care! Then to bed to rest - another busy day tomorrow!

Read Day 1 and Tune in for Day 3 - Hampton Court.


Flowerpot said...

Sounds like an amazing, action packed holiday. Good for you!

RUTH said...

What a full day. Nuisance about the missing records. I loved all your photos...though the rack and scavenger's daughter look rather gruesome. Horrific to think what prisoners were put through! Great photo of YWM with the Beefeater. Think I may have to start saving to visit some of these seems crazy to think they're only a couple of hours away by train. Maybe I'll start a "things to do before I'm 60" wish me 5 years...LOL
Shall tune in tomorrow for Hampton Court...I did go to the flower show a few years ago but didn't get to see anything else.

la bellina mammina said...

Wish I was at the show too!! I'd definitely be on my feet...

Pig in the Kitchen said...

You are so cool, where do you get the energy?

buffalodick said...

Looks and sounds like a busy but fun getaway! Your mass transit system is far more advanced than USAs'!

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

sarge and i visited the tower in the early 70's and it was amazing. i remember the jewels too!

smiles, bee

Jo's-D-Eyes said...

Hi ,
what a beautifull blog you always have!!! its a joy to visit as always, you do a lot to make it pretty with the music and the little video's,MY COMPLIMENTS for that, you made my morning with your stories.

Have great time in London!
Happy weekend from JoAnn :)

When you have time visit my blog, I mad a story about a cow which walked away and the serie is finished today...:)

Sarge Charlie said...

great slide show, I love london.

Cindy said...

It sounds like you are having a great time! What an interesting vacation!

the rotten correspondent said...

What a fabulous day! But I have to say this. My mom always says there's a difference between a vacation and a trip. On a vacation you sit on your butt and don't do much. On a trip you run your butt off and do everything.

You've had an amazing TRIP!

Elaine Denning said...

Queen are my all time favourite band, so I'm as envious as hell! I really need to go and see that show.

Akelamalu said...

It was tiring flowerpot, but worth every minute of the aching feet!

Start saving now Ruth and go as soon as you can you'll love it. It's amazing that we live so close but wait so long to go and see what people from all over the world come to see!

Everybody was on their feet Bella it was awesome!

It's been so long since I've been able to walk more than a few yards Pig I was determined to see as much as possible now I can walk!

It was buffalodickdy. Public transport in London is fantastic, much better than Manchester and where I live it's poo!

It is fantastic Bee I wish I had been able to go earlier, but I've seen it now.

Thank you JoAnn, I'll be over to read your story shortly.

Thanks for dropping by Sarge Charlie, I'm glad you like our Capital City - I do too!

Thanks Cindy, we have done a lot this summer. :)

Your Mom is right correspondent, this was definitely a trip not a vacation!

You will love it miss U, book it now as you're going to London soon anyway, you won't regret it!

Around My Kitchen Table said...

What a great trip, Akelamalu, and you write about it so well I almost felt as if I were there!

CG said...

You certainly pack lots in on a short break :)

Ali said...

I would have been exhausted after such a busy day too, sounds like you squeezed a lot in!!

I so want to see that show, unfortunately it's not the one I have booked!! lol, I am going to Stomp at the Vauderville.

Can't wait for day 3

the rotten correspondent said...

Stop by my place tomorrow if you get a chance. It's award time...

Akelamalu said...

Thanks around my kitchen table, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

When you're our age you have to cg! ;)

Oh we looked at Stomp too Ali you must let me know what it's like.

I'll be right over correspondent. I hope you don't mind me shortening your name but I don't like calling you rotten. :)

katie eggeman said...

I am enjoying the trip so far.I did not gone to the national archives,in England our NA for geaneology is the Morman church in Salt Lake City. I really enjoyed the visit to the Tower, but since I did not have a good camera....I did not get shots anywhere as nice as yours. Your slide shows are impressive