This April I made my triumphant return to England. I went to London about 7 years ago on one of my first back packing trips. Back when I had no idea how to plan a trip and no idea what to do with my time. I had been thinking about re-doing London. Not only did I only spend 3 days in England, solely committing my time to London, I also have none of my pictures from that trip. And a few terrible memories as well. Time to fix that!
This time I spread out my time more and planned out all my day trips accordingly. I was all set to have a home base provided for me since I have a good friend living there. Having spent 3 days in London last time I decided to dedicate two full days to just bumming around London and countless nights in pubs but that is another story.
London reminds me of home. The city , for me, has a similar feel to NYC. It is crowded and modern. It is filled with tourists who have no idea where they are going. There are really old things but mostly lots of new stuff. Maybe this is why London does not impress me the way other European cities do. Don’t get me wrong I still love London, Its the home of Harry Potty for goodness sake!
Living in America we don’t have the history that Europe does. We are so new in comparison. In fact we tend to knock down the old and start over. Europe does not (usually) do this. Not to mention our history as a country is no where near as old as most of Europe, Asia and South America. We don’t even have the opportunity to have the type of stuff they do.
My favorite thing in London is the Tower of London. Mostly because it is one of the oldest things in the city but also because it is just so cool! It is a fortress, a castle and a museum. It is filled with artifacts from the crown jewels to the armor of (my favorite king) King Henry VIII. Who doesn’t love a king who wants a divorce and is so hell bent on getting what he wants that he murders his own wives and creates his own church. What a bad ass. You can’t write better fiction then the reality that is King Henry VIII.
The church on the grounds of The Tower of London is where his second wife Anne Boleyn rests. I read an amazing historical fiction series by Phillipa Mcgregory about all of King Henry’s wives which got me hooked on his reign.
One of the most interesting things about the tower is that it was used as a menagerie for a long time. Apparently it was popular for royalty to give live gifts to each other. So the tower ended up with tons of exotic animals. From monkeys to polar bears the tower had animals roaming all over. They would even let people in to look at them. Since no one in England had any idea what these animals were capable of they would let them roam free. Often causing fatalities. It was not until after a young boy was killed by a monkey that they finally decided it might be better to restrain these beasts.
I spent the better part of a rainy day pretending I was Anne Boleyn as I climbed my way threw the walls. I was soaking wet by the time I was done but I felt transmitted into a different era. I felt like if I stayed long enough I might catch a glimpse of my friend Henry.
However I decided enough was enough with the rain and got myself a delicious soft serve vanilla ice cream cone and stood under an awning while I enjoyed my snack and the view of the tower.
Maybe London isn’t so bad after all.