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Tower of London — London Bridge

by on June 29, 2012

From Renee:

Today the freezing, cold, damp weather we’ve learned to expect returned (after two hot, humid summer days!).  We spent the day touring the Tower of London — what an amazing amount of history in a single place.  Photo below is us with the Yeoman Warders aka Beefeaters, who are the guards of the Tower.


Anna was most excited to learn that the kings kept their “menagerie” here including a polar bear that they put out to swim in the Thames (with only a rope attached to a small neck collar!).  Apparently it was quite fashionable for rulers to exchange living gifts — and the Tower had quite a collection of lions, tigers, bears and a few American Alligators too.  I can only imagine that these animals didn’t have the best quality of life – and there were a few ‘accidents’ where subjects petting the lion, for example, had her arm ripped off – opps – that’s what happens when you try to make a house pet out of a wild animal.

The Crown Jewels were as impressive as I remembered them being.  Anna and I took the moving sidewalk three times so we got a good look.  My personal favorite, the Crown of India, was created for the Kings visit to India (the crown jewels can’t leave the country) and it was only worn once – what a shame.  We saw the crown Kate will likely wear when William is crowned.  Apparently the 105 carat diamond in this, the Queen Mum’s crown, is only worn by the wives of kings as it causes bad luck if worn by rulers.  We did resist purchasing a crown in the gift shop, although they had a nice selection and Anna was interested in adding one to her suitcase.

We stopped by St. Paul’s Cathedral and got to hear a little of their massive organ playing.  Quite a large and impressive place.


Last stop of the day was the Apple Store!  Alex likes to visit Apple Stores in any city we find ourselves in…and this one has a lovely glass staircase.  We are going to return to the Apple store on Monday as my  friend Katherine, who is the producer of BRAVE, is giving a talk there!  It will be great to see her.


We have discovered one of London’s secret treats — MR WHIPPY!  Amazingly soft, light, creamy in an unusual way, soft serve ice cream.  Kids give it two thumbs up.

One last photo — as part of a city wide celebration this summer, a piano moving company has put beautifully painted pianos all over town.  Anyone can sit down and play.  Here is David playing the Harry Potter Theme song…for all to enjoy!


When we planned two full weeks in London we wondered if we would find enough things to keep us busy. Tonight we sat down and had to prioritize what we can fit in before we leave.  As David keeps reminding me, this is not the only time we will visit London.  Some things will have to wait.


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  1. Lucy permalink

    I love the idea of David playing the piano in the middle of London. Did you take a video?

  2. ali fraser permalink

    video of David! video of David playing the piano! video of David!
    We’re learning so much. Especially which treats are worth the money.

  3. Jennifer Youstra and Bobby Youstra permalink

    What a great day in a great city. I loved thinking about the pianos all over the city and just walking up and playing one of them. Excellent! We’ve been following you all along, albeit quietly – but thought we’d pipe up. Mr. Whippy sounds excellent. I don’t imagine Mr. Whippy comes in gluten free dairy free varieties, does it?!

    Bobby says: Guess what Alex – Jack just got an Android stuffed bot on his ID Programming Camp trip to Google. I’ll try to send you a photo of it.

    Have a spot of tea and enjoy London:)

  4. Alec V. permalink

    The jewels are magnificent! It is kind of sad but understandable that you cannot take pictures of them. Me and my sister also went through the moving side walk like 5 times. Did you see the Ravens?

    Nice to meet you, Mr. Whippy.

    Don’t forget to mind the gap!

  5. Aunt Ginny permalink

    What no photo of the Crown Jewels – David where’s your sense of adventure?!

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