towerOn our first day in London, we visited the Tower of London, which was originally built as a symbol of authority by William the Conqueror in 1078, but later served as a prison and place of execution for many famous people.  Henry VIII married his second wife Anne Boleyn at the Tower of London, and later executed her there.  Queen Elizabeth I was imprisoned in the Tower by her half-sister Queen Mary (as depicted in the movie Elizabeth).  The Crown Jewels of England, including the world's largest diamond (The Cullinan I, which is 530.20 carats), are stored here.

white tower

Agnes in front of the White Tower, the original structure built by William the Conqueror


Bernard in front of the building in which the Crown Jewels of England are kept

During our visit, we listened to the audio tour which described many of the stories surrounding the Tower.  The narration made the visit much more interesting because it was informative, and delivered in a very British deadpan style.  If you visit, you should strongly consider the audio tour.  Among the highlights of the tour were the chopping block upon which Anne Boleyn was beheaded, the display of the Crown Jewels and the Ravens.

ravensAround the Tower, one can find six large ravens.  A local legend says that as long as the ravens reside at the Tower, it will not fall.  These days, the ravens are cared for by one of the Tower Wardens called the Raven Master, who feeds them and keeps their wings clipped to prevent them from flying away.  The ravens really add to the wet, gloomy atmosphere of the place.

Just outside of the Tower of London is the Tower Bridge.  Here's a picture of Agnes in front of the Tower Bridge:

tower bridge

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