On to day two of the London tour! We decided to go to the Tower of London because Elora really really really wanted to see the crown jewels. I am not kidding, she was so excited. First a little story about Elora before we came to London. We told her we would be going on vacation. She wanted to go to Rhodes, but we informed her we would be going to a new place she had never seen before - to which she responded in a grumpy voice, "Aaawwww, I want to see some old stuff!" We reassured her that there would plenty of "old stuff" to see in England, and every day after we arrived she asked, "Today do we get to go see the old stuff?"
There were two Tube lines that were undergoing extensive maintenance, meaning it took us an hour and a half to get to this side of London. Sigh. We decided to walk along Tower Bridge before attempting a tour of the Tower of London so the kids could get out of the stroller. They both loved the bridge, Elora called in "The Castle Bridge" because of the neat castle-like towers on it.
We thought the Tower of London shop would have some souvenirs Elora would like, and sure enough she found more than enough princess stuff to please her. We had a really hard time helping her understand she could only pick out one thing to buy, not two tiaras, a magic wand, princess bear, princess shoes, and a dress... She tried on all the tiaras before she found one to her liking.
We were happy to discover that you don't have to take a tour of the Tower of London, you can just go inside and walk around. We started by having lunch outside the walls and admiring the catapult that was set up. A nice man dressed as a knight came and chatted with us, and let Elora hold his very heavy helmet. That poor guy wearing all that gear! It was a hot day.
Off we go to see some "old stuff" including the crown jewels. The best part about the Tower of London is that if you ask at the welcome center, they give you free coloring books, pencils, and little badges for the kids. Elora got the Practising Princess kit, and Oliver got the Apprentice Knight kit. Elora was so excited about the new pencils and books.
The kids thought this guy was pretty neat and just watched him do nothing for a long time. I think it is funny that his hat is pulled down over his eyes so he can't see. Maybe he is taking a nap...
Check out Oliver's little Knight Badge. He was so proud of it, and showed it off to everyone who looked his way!
There is a cute little village inside. I guess people still live here... We couldn't take pics of the crown jewels, which is sad only because Elora's little face lit up whenever she saw the "fancy crowns". She thought everything was so fancy and beautiful! We bought her a book with pics of all the crown jewels and she will just sit and stare at all the pictures. Funny kid.
Inside the "White Tower" there was an exhibit of some armor and weapons. And this random exhibit with a bunch of heads. Not sure what that was all about, but Oliver thought it was really funny.
And Elora was fascinated by the "Really Old Potty!"
If we had a barbeque, I am pretty sure I would have had to splurge and buy the BBQ sword, it's pretty sweet.
Outside the White Tower. We also toured the Bloody Tower where prisoners were held including the little princes who myseriously "disappeared". They had a whole exhibit presenting evidence and speculating about different things that could have happened to the two princes and who was responsible for their deaths (What?!? I thought Shakespeare cleared that up for us...) But! They said that two skeletons were actually found in the Tower of London when they were excavating to do some renovations. They belonged to a 10 and 12 year old boy. I am not really sure how there is much mystery left after that discovery... (Once again, refer to previous posting about how messed up the Monarchy intrigues in England have been over the years...)
View of the Tower Bridge.
If you are familiar with Mary Poppins, here we are on the steps of St. Paul's... and there was no bird woman! Although the kids did chase some birds up and down the steps. This church is Enormous inside! Not the most beautiful inside I have ever seen, but I thought the outside was quite pretty.
We decided to get something to eat and then quickly realized that we were apparently not in the right section of London to find food... we wandered around the streets for quite awhile, saw a few more neat buildings...
We think that was the Bank of England in the background, not sure, we saw a lot of buildings and we know one of them was the Bank... but here is Chris with his Tuppence that he needs to invest frugally in the bank since we couldn't find the bird woman anywhere.
Cute kids, each sporting their little badges from the Tower of London and once again holding hands.
After a lot of wandering around Cheapside we finally found this little pub where we could eat standing up outside, and since the kids (and pregnant mommy) were tired, we decided to eat here.
This was one of those random spots that became one of my best memories of London. There was a little stage set up with bands playing music, so while we waited for our food the kids danced to the music and enjoyed hanging out in the covered alley where it was not so hot! It's called Leadenhall Market, and apparently is known for good food and events. We had no idea, we were just happy to find somewhere in the shade to eat! I looked it up after we went home, and there has been a market place in this location since the first century AD and this building was built in 1881. What a happy accident to come across this place!
Here is Elora reading her crown jewels book while waiting for dinner.
Fish and Chips (of course). Elora was so excited every time we ate at a pub because she knew she would be getting fish. Oliver just ate the chips for dinner... and for some reason I couldn't get the kids to try the mashed peas. They have to taste better than baby food peas, which was Elora's favorite food as a baby...
And of course, dessert! Or should I say pudding. Chris got a little confused, he said, "What is it with British people and pudding?" I told him I think it just refers to dessert, because this was called a sticky brownie. And I might add, it was amazing. Nothing like a brownie, more like warm chocolate goo with ice cream - so good! It was a great place to end our day.