Today I was back at my frantic pace. Class this morning was a guest lecture with Matt Wolf, an America theatre critic living in London. His insights were most enlightening and I enjoyed very much what he had to say.
After that I headed out to the Tower of London. My goal – today – see the Crown Jewels. I found my way down to Tower Hill with just a little difficulty. That tube line is a bit confusing. On the way I passes the University College of London (which seemed redundant).
Outside the tube station and before you cross over to the Tower (which is not really a tower) there was the remnants of an ancient Roman wall.
I crossed over and bought my ticket to enter the impressive fortress known as the Tower of London. I am posting the pictures. They need little description here. I’ve included most of that in the captions.
My main objective was to see the Crown Jewels so, I didn’t go into any of the other buildings. The line to see the exhibit was about an hour long and I had to get back up to central London for my next jaunt. The exhibit though did not disappoint. (Sorry, again no pictures.) Once you enter the Waterloo Barracks, there are several rooms with information and history presented in a number of ways. It builds nicely until you come into the first of several rooms with the artifacts that are or have been used in various ceremonies that most important of which is the coronation of the sovereign. You have to realize that no photograph can do these items justice. Displayed in a relatively low light they are dazzling and breathtakingly beautiful. It is difficult to say what I liked best. One item I did not expect to see was the small crown Victoria had made after Albert died that she wore in most of her official portraits and to official functions. It was tiny and very delicate. One item I found amusing was a solid (I assume) gold punchbowl that is three feet across used in the past for the coronation banquet. The ornamentation was incredibly ostentatious. The ladle was similarly sized.
I left the Tower to head back and meet Christina. She wanted to take me to one of her favorite areas of London – Hampstead. Apparently, Hampstead was at one time a village on the outskirts of London and incorporated into the city. During the early 19th century the romantic poet John Keats lived here during part of his short life. Today the neighborhood is home to the wealthy. It is a picturesque place with beautiful homes and nice shopping judging from the stores I saw. We had dinner in lovely little french restaurant and walked up to Hampstead Heath which is a sizable green space with a terrific view of the city.
I did find the Baptist church an odd thing. It has been a busy day but, it ended lovely with the walk through the heath.