Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Tower of London

The guidebooks recommend Tower of London as one of 3 World Heritage sites. It's that popular which explains the crowds. I didn't remember liking it the last time I was there. I did remember liking the Armoury and the Crown Jewels. As Laura had not been we had arranged to go taking the Sightseeing Ship down the Thames River to Tower Bridge. It was rainy and windy and cold. I think it was like that the last time I was at the Tower. I've found castles in general inhospitable. There were bus line ups for tickets. 18 pds a person or roughly $36 dollars. Laura was as impressed as I'd been by how little the early kings were as indicated by the armor. A lot of Little Man Syndromes going on with British kings to match the French Napoleon syndrome. That's how the Scots thought of them, especially Henry VIII, a particularly quarrelsome sort. These buildings were filled with armaments and whenever the Scots, Welsh or Irish or local peasants acted up, the arms were handed out and a bit of mayhem for the Knights ensued. That at least was what happened when the English weren't bashing the even more irritable French.
In the Jewelry room there's a vault and the fellow ahead of me a ways got roundly told off for taking a flash. Next thing I'm being reamed out and publicly humiliated for trying to take an Iphone picture, without a flash, of the jewelry. "You knew you weren't supposed to take any pictures." a British guard chastised me.
"No I didn't, " I said. "Yes, you did."
There are button hole cameras that takes videos. If I was wanting to take pictures on the sly I'd have used that. But really if I'd been given a test, "are you allowed to take any pictures of the crown jewels," I suspect I'd answer no. It was just that I figured it wasn't a flash thing because the other guy had a flash. The sign saying no dogs was all I'd seen. No "no picture" signs in the dim light and crowds. I'd have thought dogs would be liked in castles.
They're not worried about pictures of the crown jewels really, it's to limit thieves wanting pictures of the containment, that or that the crown jewels might be duplicates and the real things are stashed somewhere away from camera carrying Canadians.
Everywhere else pictures were fine. All the mail and steel shields and flint lock weapons aren't cutting edge technology by any means. All manner of bash and stab and poke things were on display. More was behind glass probably following my last visit when they allowed more hands on and I probably got carried away. I was there with one of the blokes and a couple of girls so vaguely recall some kibbitzing about.
We visited where the Princes got poisoned and the cell where imprisonment took place. Outside it was wet. Laura and I tired soon of all the stair climbing and waiting in lines while idiots ahead read lengthy treatises. Laura loved it all though was glad to go for a cup of tea. I felt like I'd tolerated another couple of hours of imprisonment in the Tower of London and got a little taste of what the poor folk who were forced to stay there felt.


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