Saturday, June 27, 2009

Saturday June 27, 2009 : The Original Tower of Terror

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” - Henry Miller
Have you ever gone someplace and found out it was very different from what you expected? That's how I felt when I first entered the compound known as the Tower of London. The tower is not just one tower, but a series of towers, castles, and fortresses within the confines of the outer wall.
Most people would probably identify with the largest tower centered in the complex, known as The White Tower. On the day of my visit, it housed an exhibition called "Dressed to Kill" which featured the armour of Henry the VIII, as well as weapons, protective armour for horses, and various armours of other monarchs.
The highlight of this tour, as most people see it, is the visit to see the crown jewels. Within one of the center towers, the jewels are locked behind a huge vault, but this vault is opened to the public and you can move through most of it on foot. At one point (when you are looking at the crowns), you are put on a conveyor belt to view them. Otherwise, you would probably run into gridlock. The jewels are magnificent. It's difficult to realize that they are actual rubies, diamonds, emeralds and sapphires.
For a regular admission price, one of the warders will take you on a guided tour, or you can walk around on your own. Most displays have some explanation, or you can pick up a guide book in one of the several gift shops on site. Although the complex itself was not where the actual executions took place (that was in a square outside of the tower walls) be aware -- the Tower is said to be haunted with the unhappy souls of the victims of the monarchs' wrath.

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