August 15, 2005

August 2 -- London

This morning we took a taxi to the Tower of London. We got there early, about 10 a.m. , so there were no lines. Julie and Brian had been to the Tower before, about 17 years ago and had vivid memories of the Crown Jewels. Either time made our memories more vivid, or they have removed some of them. Quite frankly, we were a little disappointed. But the Tower is a great place to visit and just explore.

The highlight for Patrick was in Beauchamp Tower. In one of the rooms there are carvings that prisoners made. Patrick found the one for Thomas Pooper (although we later found out the last name was Rooper). He took several photos of this carving.

As we were wandering through the White Tower Julie walked over and glanced out the window. There below us standing in a large crowd was the Morris family. So we called them on their cell to watch their confusion when they couldn't see us, but we could see them. (Julie and Brian grew up making fun of tourists and it shows!)

We left the Morris' to discover the Crown Jewels on their own and crossed over the Tower Bridge to meet Brian's cousins, Nigel, Faye, Colin, and Lucy (a new baby). We ate lunch outside at Cafe Rouge and had a wonderful time. After lunch we trekked over to Saint Paul's. Nigel entertained us while we walked with his memories of working in the area in the 60's and early 70's.

They left us when we started talking about climbing to the top of the dome. Christopher loves "going to the top" and has been to the top of St Peter's in Rome, San Marco in Venice, the Campanile in Florence, The World Trade Center and Empire State Building in NYC. So he had to go to the top of St Paul's, and we did--all 552 steps--no elevators!

We then walked across the Millenium Bridge and headed to the Tower Bridge. An elevator takes you to the top where you are able to walk between each tower on an enclosed catwalk. After enjoying the views we watch a short film on its construction. At the base of the bridge is the engine room where they have restored the steam engines that used to provide the lifting power for the bridge. It is a great example of Industrial revolution design.

In front of our hotel there were four trampolines with tall sets of poles above them. Attached to the poles were bungee cords and attached to the bungee cords is "the rider". Christopher announced that he wanted to do "the jumping thing". So out we went, paid the 6 pounds, and off he jumped. At times he was 25 feet in the air with Big Ben and the setting sun behind him. Asked how he liked it, he said "It Rocked!"


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