On Monday we had thought of doing one of the iconic hop-on-hop-off bus tours. But they’re rather expensive (£25 per person), and I’m a bit more familiar with the transit system here now…especially since a co-worker pointed out the “public transportation” option on Google maps. So we opted to take the regular city bus around town for a fraction of the cost. Besides, if you sit on the upper deck, it’s like being on a tour bus anyway.

So we headed off toward the Tower of London and jumped off to change buses at Trafalgar Square. We didn’t make it into the National Gallery but did get a few shots of Hahn/Cock, the 15-foot high blue fiberglass rooster on the fourth plinth, which hosts rotating art exhibits. The artist is a German woman who is thought to be poking fun at “male-defined British society and thoughts about biological determinism.” Gotta love the Brits for picking it as the winner. 🙂

Hahn/Cock in Trafalgar Square.

Hahn/Cock in Trafalgar Square.

From there we hopped on the #15 bus and continued on to Tower Hill. Stopping briefly at a roadside stand for a pastry, we paid homage to an awesome and sizeable surviving chunk of almost 2,000-year-old Roman wall that was part of the defensive wall first built by the Romans around Londinium. We also admired the statue of the Roman Emperor Trajan, whose full name apparently was Imperator Caesar Nerva Traianus Divi Nerva fili Augustus.

I’m not sure why they picked Trajan for the statue since he came after the conquest of Britain but wasn’t particularly involved in Britain afterward, from what I could tell. But he was one of the better emperors. He also happened to be the adopted father of his successive Emperor Hadrian who built Hadrian’s Wall near the Scottish border…another cool Roman wall on a much larger scale.

Roman Wall.

Roman Wall.

Saying ciao to the Romans, we then crossed under Tower Hill road through the pedestrian tunnel and got our tickets to the Tower sorted. I highly recommend the annual membership to the Historic Royal Palaces if you’re going to visit more than two of the six palaces as it quickly pays for itself.

Once inside the medieval walls, we spent the next three hours perusing the Royal Mint, the Traitor’s Gate, the Crown Jewels, the individual prisoners’ cell rooms in the towers along the walls, and harassing the ravens. I would have to say that my favorite part, and the part I will likely drag my son back to, was the Line of Kings Exhibition, which was an amazing display of 500 years of human and equine royal armour.

The Tower of London.

The Tower of London.

Tower courtyard.

Tower courtyard.

Raven on a cannon.

Raven on a cannon.

Close up.

Close-up.

Tower Bridge in the background.

Tower Bridge in the background.

I had originally hoped to visit the neighboring church called All Hallows by the Tower. But after walking around for hours we were tired and hungry and just wanted to sit down for a bit. So we left the Tower, crossed over Tower Hill road again and planted ourselves at a table in the most creatively named pub in the world…The Hung, Drawn & Quartered. And yes, the walls were lined with portraits of dead people…including William Wallace, Charles I, Mary Queen of Scots and Anne Boleyn.

But the food was good and so was the beer. I had the Hung, Drawn & Quartered Pie, which consisted of steak, onions, celery, Stilton cheese and white wine gravy. And AF had the Cock-a-Leekie pie with chicken, leeks, onion, rice and prunes. Yummy. And it gave us just enough energy to finish out our day with a quick walk through of St. Paul’s Cathedral.

pub

 

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