Thanksgiving in London

Last Thursday we got up and headed for the airport.  We decided to spend Thanksgiving in London since all of our family would be together in Virginia.  Surprisingly, when I started researching how to get there I found that flying was half as cheap as taking the train.  We got our tickets to London for $14.99 pounds which is about $ 23.00 American dollars each way.  It was a good thing the flights were inexpensive because the hotels there are costly.

The next few posts will be about our trip.  I took a lot of pictures so I can make a few posts with them.   Hope you enjoy.

The first place we wanted to go was the Tower of London.  Kent and I had been there when I was pregnant with Timothy so it had been a while.  There is so much history there and it really is interesting to hear all the stories.  I will tell you all that I remember from our tour.

The Tower of London sits on the River Thames (Timz) and was built in the 1000’s.  The first building completed was called the White Tower.

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William the Conqueror built it and it has been a royal palace along with a prison and torture chamber.  Many royals and “regular” people are buried there under the floor in the chapel.  There were 2 areas they held executions.  One was on the tower green which was inside the complex and was for the nobles.  Interestingly, there were 7 executions and 5 of them were women!  One you may know was Ann Boleyn.  She was the wife of King Henry VIII.  She had given him a daughter and promised him a son which she was not able to do.  He brought 20 charges against her (treason, witchcraft, making fun of her husband, etc.) and she was found guilty of all of them.  They say she was kneeling on the green praying when they cut her head off with a sword and the people gasped as they said her mouth and eyes were still moving as they raised her head up to show she was finished.

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Also, within the compound is the building that houses the crown jewels.  We couldn’t take a picture but we saw all the beautiful stones and the infamous 500 karat clear diamond.  It is huge.  We could take pictures of the armor they used for their fighting.

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The second picture is the collar of torment that was used on women.  Nice…..

I didn’t get a picture of the other area where the executions took place.  These were held for the public to watch so they wouldn’t think about committing treason.  After they cut their heads off they would just throw their bodies in a hole and bury them with no markings, names, coffin, etc.  They have over a thousand bones and I think only about 30 or so have been identified.  They definitely wanted to make a point.

The tour guides are called “beefeaters”.  These were originally the king’s body guards but now they tell about the tower.  To get this job you must have served in their military for over 20 years.  They live there on the grounds and wear a very unique outfit.  They do a great job telling the history of the tower in an entertaining way. Oh, by the way, our beefeater said there are different stories of why they are called beefeaters but nothing has ever been found that was official and written down.  So, he didn’t know.

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Don’t know if you’ve heard about the poppies?  In November they honored the 100 year anniversary of the WW 1 soldiers.  They made a ceramic poppy for every fallen soldier and placed it out for all to see.  They were supposed to have kept them up until the end of November but this is all that we saw.  Most people here were wearing a red poppy on their clothes to honor them.

Hope you’re not bored.  Lots more to come tomorrow.

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