Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Trip to the Tower of London

Steve and Duncan on the wall walk at the Tower of London

The house has been a bit quiet this week. We had my mom, aunt wyona and aunt moiya here for a whirlwind visit, but then they headed off for the Canary Islands (with Alex in tow!). So... Sunday being a cold and clear day, and there being no need to rush Alex off to a rugby game, it seemed the perfect time to bundle Duncan off to see the Tower of London [the London Walks people do a tour of the Tower of London every Sunday at 2pm] It is always a trade off: it is chilly to do a tour in the winter, but there are also no crowds, so it is much more pleasant to be there. Duncan and I were bundled up warmly, so i think it was only Steve who was slapping his hands together for warmth!

I already forced Duncan to give me his top 5 things from the trip out.  That left me thinking about my own list.
the former London Port Authority building
 Because the day was clear, I got a chance to enjoy the colour contrasts... like the blue of the sky against the white stone of the Former London Port Authority Building in Trinity Square Gardens (on Tower Hill itself).  On grey days, the effect is totally different.  Either way... it is also odd seeing such a gorgeous site (both buildings and gardens) in a location so steeped in blood and gore.
more colour contrasts...

The colour contrasts were there in nearly every angle:  I loved the white of wooden bell tower set off against the stone, with the branches of the chestnut tree cutting black lines against sky, stone and wood (its shadow creeping up the bottom of the tower).  I 'think' this is the tower in which Sir Thomas Moore was imprisoned (but my memory is a seive these days, so i am not positive).
Tower Bridge beind the Tower of London
Other things I loved?  Seeing Tower Bridge rising up from behind the Tower of London.  I know these locations are in close proximity to eachother, but in my mind, they all exist is some kind of separation from eachother.  Maybe this is just a function of having learned about them in the abstract...or of growing up in Canada where you have to drive ages to get from monument to monument.  haha.   even after half a year living here, i find myself surprised to see structures 'in the same frame'.

The Guards Marching by in step
  Of course it is always fun seeing the guard march by.  Each time they passed, our tour guide would move us to the side, warning us that we would just get run over if we didn't get out of the way.  For those of you who have seen the new Andrew Lloyd Weber version of "The Wizard of Oz", i will confess that, watching them march by, i could hear running in my own head the riff that Andrew Lloyd Weber uses when ever you see the guards belonging to the Wicked Witch march by.  Made me smile.

I also loved looking a bit more closely at the 'details' of a castle.  For example, looking at the 'arrowslits':  spots where the archers would have been standing, seen from both from the outside and the inside.  All those years of reading books about castles.... and then it just seems so wierd to finally see what those things looked like, and to get a better sense of how archers could shoot from fairly well protected vantage points. 

An arrow slit in the tower...

... and seeing the arrow slit from the other side

We stayed at the tower til the end of the day, and had a bite to eat at the pub on the corner.  When we came out, evening was well upon us.  The contrast of stone and sky by night is another piece of beauty!  Still... as we were heading home, and as I was grilling Duncan on things he remembered from the tour, he remarked that it was surprising that a castle can still be boring (presumably, this means having to tour a castle with your parents!).   hahaha

The Tower by night....

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