Tuesday, August 14, 2012

THE LONDON TOWER & CROWN JEWELS


On my way back from the English coast I stopped early in London not to go to the Olympics, but to see the Crown Jewels of the UK. Of course when I arrived, all tourist guides wanted to send me to the Olympic Games and were rather surprised when I asked for the tube to the London Tower. They hadn't been instructed for such an unusual wish during the Olympic Games.

I managed to catch the right tube and arrived at Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London. It is a historic castle and was founded towards the end of 1066. In its history, it also served as a royal residence. As a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat.

I don't want to copy and paste its history it's more easier to read it here



When I arrived around 10.30 am, the sky had decided to cover and therefore my pictures are a little dark but it gives an idea of the impressive building.





The very modern buildings I saw from this romantic old place disturbed me. It was as looking out of the past to the future on another planet !



What a contrast !



Seeing the Tower Bridge from far was much better





There were quiet a lot of tourists, who should have been at the Olympics !



This building  is called the "White Tower"




and here I was in front of the Waterloo Barracks. I have to say, living in the town Waterloo where the name is coming from due to the battle of Waterloo, we don't have this kind of barracks, if there are, they would look a little more modest.

I had no time to visit all towers and rooms, and avoided the bloody tower and the torture chamber because of eventual nightmares (I have a sensible soul) and hurried through the whole complex to find the Crown Jewels !



Finally I arrived ! there was already one guard. I don't think he wasn't very efficient to protect the Jewels, but at least the tourists had something for taking pictures. Me included.





and there was the entrance ! Taking pictures inside was of course strictly forbidden. Anyway it was too dark and films about the various coronations and pictures were projected on the walls. I had seen the coronation of the actual Queen already several times so I didn't listen to any explanations but hurried into the room with all these treasures displayed, which knocked me out of my shoes (almost) !

Never ever I had seen such sparkling diamonds and other precious stones ! Or maybe in Istaambul in the Topkapi Palace. It's really difficult to describe. There was a moving walkway on which you stood still and could admire piece by piece. I noticed that some kings had very big heads, others smaller once. The crown of Queen Mary the Grandma of the actual Queen had a quiet little crown. It was like a very exclusive hat boutique. The accessories like the rings,  swords, plates, and scepters were also stunning !



In short you have to see it yourself just to believe it ! (these pictures are "borrowed" from several internet sites)

Despite the fact that taking photos was not allowed, I managed using the paparazzi mode to take some pictures at least of the boxes where the crowns and swords are stored when they have to be taken out of the tower.





Here you can see the cases for the swords, and boxes for other accessories,



and these boxes are for the crowns. The case below was for a big golden plate



Very friendly guards posed for the tourists



Ice cream for the exhausted tourists





This canon was a gift from Malta



and then I saw the royal monkies (sculputred with wires)




dangerous lions



and last but not least an elephant who waved me good bye, "see you the next time for the rest !"

13 comments:

Fun60 said...

Glad you enjoyed your visit to the 'Tower'. It is one of my favourite places. Don't be fooled by just one soldier outside.I was there once when an alarm went off and within seconds the place was completely surrounded by armed soldiers. Luckily it was a false alarm and they seemed to melt away as quickly as they appeared.

ladyfi said...

Wonderful shots. We didn't visit the Tower this time. London is indeed a study in contrasts.

A Lady's Life said...

Oh wonderful! I never came across anyone doing a blog on the Crown Jewels. Fascinating story and pictures :)

eileeninmd said...

Wonderful shots from London! I enjoyed the Tower of London during my visit a long time ago. I believe I have a shot of my girlfriends standing with the guards too. Thanks for sharing, have a great week!

Jo said...

Phew! Some of those walls are OLD! We passed the Tower of London and didn't go in. Dang. (sometimes it's better to tour a historical places without a man, LOL!) I love the Beefeater Guards in the photo before those of the royal monkeys and dangerous lions. Thanks for the tour! Hope you're having a great day. Hugs Jo

Gary said...

Fantastic tour!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

diane b said...

I went there years ago but I don't remember seeing as much as you have here. I do remember the jewels though, they are unforgettable.

ArtMuseDog and Carol said...

What a delightful tour ~ Awsome photography ~ would love to see Great Britain some day soon ~ (A Creative Harbor)

claudie said...

What a fabulous visit, Gattina! I wish I was there with you admiring all those royal jewelries! Olympics are closed now and Mélissa and her Team are in London still and shopping! See us tomorrow!

jabblog said...

Beautiful! The Crown Jewels are unbelievable - priceless. I love your photos showing the contrast between ancient and modern.

Kay L. Davies said...

Fascinating photos, my friend. The Crown Jewels are wonderful, but I love your elephant photo best.
K

Loree said...

I was 8 years old when I visited the Tower and I can still remember some parts of it so clearly. Of course, I was very impressed with the crown jewels. Nice to see there is a gift from Malta in the tower. I do not remember that.

Linens and Royals said...

You will be arrested one day and thrown in the Tower for trying to take forbidden photos. The jewels are so beautiful it could be worth the risk.

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About Me

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I love painting, writing, travelling and photography. My favorit models are my four cats which I observe with fun and humor. I am German, married to an Italian and we live in Waterloo (15 km from Brussels) / Belgium since many years. Waterloo is a famous place to many tourists, because Napoleon lost his battle here against Wellington and other European countries.

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