Saturday was my first visit to the amazing city that is London. A couple of other people who have studied abroad before me have posted this quote to Facebook in the past:
"Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford."— Samuel Johnson
Now, you'll certainly not hear an argument from me, either from before my trip to the city, or after. This statement has a ring to it, and I love the way it sounds, even if it might have a tendency to lean a little towards exaggeration. (If only because of trees. There's a lot of greenery in London, but even then, no city really has enough trees.) But I digress. Saturday morning, Christine and I took the bus to Victoria Station, and then walked over and got an Oyster card so I could travel on the Tube for the day. That was an experience, let me tell you. The actual traveling bit is easy, but I looked a right fool when I put my card in the wrong place, it got stuck, and an attendant had to come and rescue me. Our first stop after that was the Tower of London, which is where this first batch of pictures comes from.When we stepped out of the tube station, we were both shocked at the sheer size of this place. Even though I feel like I've been learning about the Tower of London since I was in 1st grade, I've only ever heard it referred to as a tower. Not a series of buildings comprising a small town, and then one particularly old tower in the middle. We'd only allowed ourselves a couple of hours for this place, and we easily could have spent the entire day there, and probably still have more to see.
My favorite part shows up in the 4th and 5th pictures from the top: there was a room in which particularly dangerous prisoners were held, that was covered in what the exhibitors call "graffiti." Many of the men who were imprisoned there carved their names and other messages into the walls, and the staff covered them with glass and text describing their maker. It was an eerie feeling, knowing that they made those markings hundreds of years ago in such sadness and fear, and now hundreds of tourists walk by every day, smiling and snapping pictures.
The rest of the place was really cool as well. I learned that it's actually been open as a tourist attraction for quite a long time, even when it was still in use by royalty, and for the odd prisoner. That the kings kept exotic animals there and that since they didn't really know how to take care of them, there were a lot of accidents with lions and missing limbs, etc. I saw the crown jewels, which are impressive to the point of nausea, and ogled some instruments of torture. And all this was just in the morning!I'm falling rather behind on my updates, since this was almost a week ago, but I hope to get the rest of my pictures up from last Saturday within the weekend, and then start sharing my pictures from this week! I also hope to eventually do some homework, but hey, priorities, am I right?