The Lost Scrolls of London

When visiting a city like London, it’s certainly a challenge to figure out everything to see in the time allotted. While there is plenty of research you can do ahead of time, you also have to factor in your own personal desires and biases against all the popular attractions and advice from prior visitors. Then you have to stir in how much energy you can put into everything. Then of course you have to gird your loins against the responses you might get upon your return, when you’re talking to someone who has already been and they say, “Oh, you didn’t go see that? You really missed out! Why are you so stupid?”

I’d hoped that we would have learned what “gird your loins” actually means by visiting the Tower of London, because no doubt it originated back in the middle ages when girding was all the rage. Alas, we failed to do so, but we do know a helluvalot more about the Tower of London than when we started. Unlike our first full day here where we crammed in more places than Donald Trump has hotels, we ended up only doing the Tower of London because A) we got a late start on account of this is a vacation and sometimes you gotta get late starts and B) we enjoyed it immensely and nearly closed the place down.

Of course, the biting cold rain also helped not only clear out the place, but scuttled any desires we had to wander about to see some of the B-level sights. And so instead we decided to get back to the apartment and cuddle under some blankets with visions of chopped-off heads dancing in our dreams.

So without further ado, here are a a whole bunch of pictures with captions and not much more, which means you’ll be scrolling and scrolling and scrolling. Since it’s all about the Tower of London, if you’ve already been, or you otherwise are a bit allergic to scrolling, you might want to skip this entry and instead go back to your favorite blog about, say, the amazing history of vanilla pudding, which I begrudgingly have to admit might be a bit more entertaining and informative than any of mine.

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Our first view of the Tower of London, which isn’t as much a large tower as it is a castle complex.
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Our second view of the Tower of London.
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Our first view of the sidewalk outside of the Tower of London. Don’t worry, we won’t show every single picture we took. Just the really, really, interesting ones.
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Our first view of inside the castle. All of a sudden we thought, “This is actually really, really cool, we’re really inside an authentic medieval castle!”
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A tour guide who was quite funny and entertaining. Unfortunately, we’re not able to duplicate that effect here because we’re not getting paid for that and he is.
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This building is cleverly called the “White Tower,” and is the centerpiece to the whole concept, much like Donald Trump’s hair.
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Here’s the last thing you might’ve seen if you were defending the thing and an arrow just pierced your chest. 
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And here’s the last thing you might’ve seen if the attacker would have been me traveling from the future and I was carrying a weaponized iPhone.
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You’ve heard of the dueling banjos. Here, we have dueling iPhones. I think I won because she’s a lot prettier than I am.
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Here’s proof of that.
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These are implements of torture, not unlike forcing someone to read this blog. To the right is the famous “rack” they used to create basketball players.
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The inscription says someone died there long ago but I forgot who it was and can’t really make out the words. I guess we can just figure it says, “I lived a long life back in the middle ages and all I got was this lousy plaque.”
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George I’s crown. I’d make a joke here, but actually it’s really cool to see a real live old crown. Okay, who am I kiddin’. This is actually what they wore when they made margarine back then.
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Victoria’s Crown. When she’d had a few too many glasses of port, that’s about all she’d wear. When she got older, all the men schemed on ways to get her a bit more covered up, which is the true inspiration behind the name, “Victoria’s Secret.”
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I’m pretty sure these are replicates, but that middle one is 530.2 carats, enough to feed Bugs Bunny for over half a year.
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I couldn’t resist taking a picture of this in regards to the ostrich, as proof that people always have, and probably always will, believe just about anything.
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Take away the modern railings and the metal box and flagstones, throw in a bunch of smelly animals and even smellier people, and you know what it’d be like to live in the Middle Ages!
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It was, frankly, simply cool to walk around a medieval castle. This was one of our favorite attractions in all of London, honestly.
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I hadn’t realized how advanced some of their weaponry was back then. What was that? Oh. This was from World War II? Nevermind. Just part of a cannon exhibit.
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They had a whole hall of knights display. Some of them were horsing around a bit, something I never do.

On display, in clockwise order, is the Keira Knightley, the Ted Knight, the Good Knight, The Suge Knight, The Bobby Knight, The Gladys Knight (sans Pips), The M. Knight Shyamalyan, The Ray Knight, The Knight Not in White Satin, and The Nighty Knight.

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This is the actual toilet used by King Henry the Turd.
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And this is what you definitely didn’t want to stand under when he was using it.
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This is an actual book, and is only slightly larger than the size of this blog if you printed the whole thing out.
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Can you imagine actually wearing this thing and developing an itch on your thigh? Or being in the sun on a hot day? Or discovering a bee is stuck inside of it? Or suddenly realizing you’ve got an urgent case of the runs?
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If you’ve got knights, you’ve got to have a dragon one way or another.
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An actual chopping block for lopping off heads. Apparently there were a lot fewer executions than the Tower of London became infamous for. But for anyone who experienced it, one was probably enough.
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Of course we had to get all touristy.
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I only allowed this to be taken so I could see what I would look like if I lost weight.
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More art made from old armaments. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could do that to all of the weapons in the world?
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It takes some mighty big balls to conduct war… although it takes even bigger ones to conduct peace.
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A 3D rendering of what the whole complex looks like from above.
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Cue the “waaaaaaaaah!” crescendo here.
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The one in the middle is known as the Diane Cannon.
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A view of the Tower Bridge from inside the castle.
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Not the most comfortable looking throne. I would’ve insisted on a recliner with an ice chest next to it myself.
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There were parts of this tour that were quite simply a major pain in the butt.
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According to legend, the salute originated with the knights. I have no idea why I chose that particular time to illustrate that.
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Ooh! We got to see these guys with the large fuzzy black hats up close!
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I tried to make him laugh by doing the chicken dance, to no avail.
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Apparently they’ve done the locking of the gate ceremony in this castle without interruption for 700 years. Even after a bomb dropped on them in WWII, they were only delayed by a half an hour. I don’t know why they were even delayed, however, as those hats certainly would’ve protected them against any bomb, short of nuclear.
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I don’t know the origins of those hats, but I have to admit it’d be a good place to store a complete change of clothes, or maybe a ham.
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There were signs that at the entrance of this chapel that said “no photography.” Carolyn missed the sign and so I watched in bemusement as she took photos, knowing that when I told her that she’d just violated a rule, she’d recoil in horror and attempt to delete them from the device as quickly as she could. When it became apparent the swat team wasn’t going to crash through the windows and throw her to the ground, she finally relaxed.
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Well, maybe not completely relaxed. She still looks a bit like a deer in the headlights, doesn’t she?
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They also forbade photography in the Crown Jewels section, which I did obey because I think a swat team really might’ve taken us out. What we got a big kick out of was seeing this ornate display of millions of dollars of precious jewels and then at the end there was a donation box. Hey. Brits! Put one of your diamonds in there once in a while and call it good!
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Medieval porta-potties, I think.
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Wire statues of baboons, showing where they might’ve been chained up, along with polar bears and lions and such, for the entertainment of the masses. We read that one lion tore the arm off a woman as she tried to pet it, and later died. Score one for the lion.

 

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The Tower Bridge is quite impressive. We were going to walk over to see the London Bridge, but the bitterly cold rain that came upon us forced us to continue to only think of it in song.
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And what more fitting way to close than the a positively medieval Door of the Day!

 

 

 

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