The London tours begin!


The last time I went for a tour in London was in 1997, just after school exams. My mum was quite high up on the corporate ladder and managed to get me to go with her for her meetings with a French water treatment company in exhange for a downgrade of her flight tickets.

While she attended her meetings, I went for a half day tour to the Tower of London, change of Guards at St James Palace and a stop at Fish & Chips shop.

The last time I came to London was for the weekend of March 2007 when I took the Eurostar from Paris (I was there for the CHANEL fashion show and meetings). I visited my just married Malaysian cousin who lives at Camden Town. She and her hubby brought me around its well-known markets. Since the 1960s, The Roundhouse theatre and music venue has been a centre of alternative culture, and later associated with punk and Goth subcultures.

As hubby hasd't been to London, we decided to be typical tourists visiting tourist sites while keeping in mind his boss's list of MUST VISIT places in mind. His boss spent a few years in London and so knows the local haunts.

With a bunch of brochures gathered from the hotel lobby in hand, we decided to do some walking first thing in the morning. Mind you it wasn't the sunniest of mornings. It seemed more like a early winter day! Cold winds were blowing through my knit coat right into my bones and there was a light drizzle. Lucky for hubby he was smart enough to bring a leather jacket with him. But before our walk, he had to send out an urgent e-mail to his office and the hotel charges GBP1 for an hour but they didn't have a a USB port to attach the file from the thumbdrive so just before breakfast (the hotel serves toast, cereal and yoghurt everyday) I made my way to the closest cybercafe while he got ready. Found one that charges 70p for a single use.

Sent out the e-mail then realized that I forgot to download a file from his boss that hubby couldn't open from his Blackberry. So after breakfast, I made my way there again and the shopkeeper was nice enough to let me use the laptop for 50p.
Once done, we bought two 7 -day Oyster card at GBP27 each (after some confusion nevertheless!), took the tube and stopped at London Bridge. Got out of the station and found ourselves facing a new attraction, the London Dungeon. Actors were handing out brochures in their bloodied faces and clothes. Enough to make me run for my life! But for those who enjoy that kind of stuff, it's recommended that you purchase other attraction tickets together with it to get a better price at GBP60 for 4 attractions.
(http://www.thedungeons.com/en/london-dungeon/index.html)

Once we got our bearings right, we walked under the drizzle across London Bridge to the Monument where we sought cover. The Monument stands at the junction of Monument Street and Fish Street Hill in the City of London. It was built between 1671 and 1677 to commemorate the Great Fire of London and to celebrate the rebuilding of the City.
(http://www.themonument.info/history/introduction.asp)

We walked along the river bank and caught sight of the famous Tower Bridge which, of course, we had to have in the background of our photo.

There on River Thames we saw the HMS Belfast(http://hmsbelfast.iwm.org.uk/) and City Hall(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_City_Hall) with its unique architecture across from us.

As the sun started shining again, we realized that we had reached the Tower of London. We bought two tickets at GBP17 each. (http://www.hrp.org.uk/toweroflondon/)


We joined one of the famous Yeoman Warder tours and heard exciting tales from the Tower’s past at the Chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula. The historic Chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula (St. Peter in Chains) is the oldest chapel royal in England. In this little chapel most of those who died on Tower Hill and six of the seven executed on Tower Green, were laid to rest under flagstones without ceremony. Between the Chapel and Tower Green is a small paved area. A scaffold was erected here for the beheading of those whose public execution on Tower Hill might have incited the people to riot. The names of the six tragic figures who died on this fateful spot are inscribed on the board. They include three queens of England: Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, and Lady Jane Grey. Elizabeth Ist supposed suitor, Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex was also executed here.

We then joined the long queue to have a closer look at the Crown Jewels, one of the unmissable highlights of a visit to the Tower of London. ( http://www.englishmonarchs.co.uk/crown_jewels.htm)

Next was a visit to the White Tower built by William the Conqueror. Displayed over 3 floors of the historic White Tower, we spent hours admiring the stunning new exhibition called Henry VIII Dressed to Kill that celebrates the 500th anniversary of Henry VIII becoming King of England.
http://www.hrp.org.uk/TowerofLondon/stories/palacehighlights/HenryVIIIDressedtoKill.aspx


Seen here are the grounds on the way up the White Tower. Wasn't aware about the story of the ravens but perhaps they're kept here. Ravens have always inhabited the Tower of London, and a centuries old legend says that if the ravens leave, the Tower and kingdom will fall. Being a superstitious person, Charles II decreed that there should always be at least six ravens in residence at the Tower of London. Seven ravens currently live on the grounds of the Tower of London and can usually be seen on the Tower Green. One of the Yeoman Warders is a Ravenmaster and cares for the ravens, feeding them meat and bird biscuits. Although the ravens's wings are clipped, this does not harm them in any way. It just keeps them from escaping the Tower. The ravens are well cared for and can live a long time. The oldest raven died at age 44. One of the ravens at the Tower of London today is in his 20's.

On the left is one of many archways leading up to a panoromic view of the grounds of the Tower of London.


After an exhausting day walking about, we set off to meet A at 5.30pm to watch a football game at his place due to start at 7.30pm. But first, we needed to fill our hungry stomachs. I craved for Fish & Chips and found Halal Restaurant, a restaurant serving briyani rice, Lebanese delicacies, Fish & Chips and burgers near the Gloucester tube station. Once I noticed that they had yummy looking burgers, I changed my mind and ordered that while hubby had a huge portion of Fish and Fries. Yummy! It cost us about GBP6 each.

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