europe: london tourists

Wednesday, August 4, 1999

I’m again waiting for Rosie, but this time I’m outside the Westminster Station, which opens right out into Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. Let me catch you up on yesterday’s travels.

I eventually met up with Rosie outside the Tower of London. The name of the place is a bit of a misnomer; it should actually be called the towers of London. Inside the Tower are lots of little towers each decked out as a museum. We started our exploration (after paying the requisite ₤7.50) with a guided tour given by a Yeoman (also known as a Beefeater—they have 22 years service in the military before they can become a Beafeater. It turns out that our jack the ripper tour guide was also by day a Beefeater). The tour was quite good and brought us through the major history of the tower, which included plenty of torture, execution, and intrigue, with a sprinkle of history.

After the tour we went on foot to explore the rest of the complex. The towers, which consisted of the white, bloody, jeweled, etc. tower each housed a different exhibit. The white tower held the armory and was supposed to hold the torture devices (but they were in the shop for repairs—you know how worn the rack can get if it doesn’t get the proper maintenance, e.g., removing the clumps of skin from the rope). Contained within the Jewel Tower was England’s crown jewels. After a 45 minute wait, the jewels themselves were….