We set out to explore the city using the subway (underground) today. The cost for a day pass is 9 pounds (16.40), which is equivalent to the cost for a one day pass on the Hop on, Hop off, but much quicker and more efficient.
We got off at the Tower of London, and were awed by our first look at it. While Buckingham Palace is surrounded by high walls and gardens, making it imposible to see from the street, the Tower is a medieval castle with a viewing walk that goes around the entire outside. It is especially exciting to see right now, as they are creating a display of metal poppies in the moat in honour of the 100th anniversary of the First World War. By the time it is complete for Armistice Day, there will be one poppy for each British soldier who died in the war.
As we crossed the moat heading into the castle, we were met by a Yoeman Warder (Beefeater), who entertained us with historical stories told with great humour. He pointed out the areas where King Henry's wives lost their heads, as well as where King Richard hid the bodies of the two young boys who he had killed because of their claims to the throne.....such a bloodthirsty time!
So exciting, we got to see the crown jewels, including the incredible crown that Queen Elizabeth wore on her coronation and still wears on special occasions. There were crowns and sceptors from the English monarchs dating through history, including the tiny crown made entirely of diamonds that Queen Victoria had made to wear with her widow's veil after Prince Albert died.
We went into many different sections of the castle, including the Royal Beast Tower, where the King's menagerie, including tigers, snakes, babboons, lions and an elephant were kept.
We finished our tour in the King's armory, where displays of armour and artillery dating back to the 1600s were kept.
After walking across the Tower Bridge and back again, we caught the underground to the Natural History Museum.
As much as we enjoyed the displays of every natural thing, we were especially awed by the beauty of the Victorian era building, which is made of sand and blue coloured terra cotta. We headed home exhausted once more, to get ready for our early morning wakeup call to head off to Paris.