Torture, Towers, and Turrets

So this weekend I fit in a few more tourist attractions. London has so many things to see that it’s almost overwhelming!

On Friday, I went to the Tower of London with some of my friends. While looking at the brochure we discovered that admission to the tower also covers three different guided tours. However, as we soon found out, the “guided tours” were just sitting in a chapel with a “yeoman” telling us about the history. Fail. We decided that it would  be more fun to walk around and just see the things ourselves. One cool thing we did learn from the first tour was that Anne Boleyn was buried in the chapel we were sitting in. The Tower of London should really be called the Towers of London because there are multiple towers. My favorite was the tower with the crown jewels in it. You have to stand on a conveyer belt to move past them so unfortunately I couldn’t stand and marvel at them for hours. They were breathtakingly gorgeous. I picked out the crown I want when I marry a British royal. It was so crazy to look at them and know that these huge oversized gems were actually real. The largest diamond in the world is actually in one of the scepters, so that was awesome to see. Unfortunately though we couldn’t take pictures. After the jewels we went in some more towers, shot a bow, jousted, saw the largest and the smallest armor ever made, where Sir Walter Ralegh stayed, the execution block and torture devices. Overall it was pretty interesting, but I thought there was going to be more creepy than it was. Whenever I’ve heard about the Tower of London it was about all the horrible torture and executions they did there but there were only 3 torture devices and they were the typical devices – the stretcher, the scavengers daughter (compressor) and shackles. I was expecting to see crazy ones like the coffin of nails. During the summer, one of the radio stations in Hickory was doing a special on torture devices used in London so I was gearing myself to see all of those but there weren’t any. I remember on the show they talked about how one of the kings had a favorite method of torture for prisoners: he would put them in a box and fill the box with hot coals, but had holes put in the box so he could hear their screams. Morbid I know, but that’s what I was expecting to see.

The Scavenger's Daughter

After the tower, we ate lunch at a pub on the river, where I had fish and chips, of course. That night, Elon parents who live around the corner from us hosted a party for us students and Elon alumni in London. We had some wonderful food (lamb, duck, shrimp, mini cheeseburgers, fish and chips and many desserts) and got to mingle with the alumni who were all really nice. The Dean of Admissions of Elon flew out to visit so we got to talk to him too. We even skyped with Leo Lambert!! For those of you who don’t know the great Leo, he’s the president of Elon and we all love him. After the party, I just hung out and watch the Lizzie McGuire movie with some friends. Don’t judge, I love that movie and it got me even more excited to go to Rome!

Saturday morning I got up really early to go to Windsor Castle. We had an absolutely beautiful day- low 60s and completely sunny, such a rarity for England at this time.

Check out that gorgeous sky

Windsor Castle is actually the largest castle still in use today. It’s also the Queen’s favorite castle, and I can see why. It had beautiful gardens and the inside was so ornate and elegant.

Gorgeous garden and fall leaves

Lovely garden and fall leaves

On display there was Queen Mary’s dollhouse, which is a huge dollhouse that was built for her and each room in it was designed by a famous London designer. Everything in the dollhouse is real too, like the plates are actually made of silver. It was awesome. After the castle we explored the town of Windsor, which was a cute little town. I had my first cup of English tea and scones with clotted cream. Clotted cream sounds like such a gross thing but it was actually amazing. I felt so British!

Sunday I needed to catch up on my sleep so I didn’t do any touristy things…

Today (Monday), Clinton and I went to the Museum of Natural History. We saw dinosaurs (including an animatronic T-Rex), lots of different animals (we had fun imitating the animals for pictures) gems, minerals, and many other things.

Being a bear, obviously.

It was a really nice museum, and just like all museums in London it was free! The museum building is gorgeous too, it kind of looks like a cathedral.

Inside the main hall of the museum

Now another long week begins….wait not really because class still isn’t real life! I’m hoping we finish watching Shakespeare in Love in class tomorrow….

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