Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Tower of London and a bit on Democrats

I was in London the second time yesterday. We went to the Tower of London first. The white tower in the middle was the palace before Hampton Court before Buckingham Palace.. It was built by William the Conqueror in 1066. then they built and outer wall and then another outer wall and then they built a mote with another wall. so it is huge, the oldest part in the middle. It took 200 years to build. There are 20 towers in all- it's like a little city inside a city- like the vatican- but not. The first zoo in the world was there. The first royal observatory was too before they moved it to Greenwich. We saw some crazy armoury stuff inside the tower! And the crowned jewels- GEEZE- tooooo many diamonds. tooooo obnoxiously but pretty many diamonds. They had a tribute in there to the diamond quarries in South Africa from 70 years ago- but they treated it like it was a historical tragedy- not a current issue- see Blood Diamond if you haven't. It is interesting spending all my time with all these northern liberals. Northern liberals are very different from the few southern liberals that I encounter- as silly as that sounds it is true. We have lots of political debates- environment, oil, war, taxes, social programs, social freedoms, health care and whatever the heck else. Anyway. I'll put a video clip on the Tower of London up later. The Tower of London was the prison for all the nobility accused of high treason. We saw Tower Hill where thousands of public executions (hang to almost dead, disemboweled, drawn and quartered, and decapitated. Then they'd stick their heads on pikes on the London bridge until they rotted and fell into the river but they buried their quartered bodies. Then, London Bridge was the only way to cross the Thames for miles so people would definitely see the heads coming to town or traveling to trade. The gory tour guide told a story about a duke who was decapitated and then they realized that they didn't have a recent portrait of him so they sent a beefeater back to the bridge to get his head and reattached it to his body and a painter painted the fastest painting he'd ever painted- in a day and a half- and it was an ugly painting. We saw the room where people like Sir Walter Raleigh were kept- they had furniture and could even bring their wives to prison with them- weird huh.
The picture on top is me in front of Traitor's Gate. It used to be called Water Gate since it was the boat entrance. I am standing underneath "Bloody Tower" because the tower was quite bloody back then. Funny, saying "I'm going to the Bloody Tower" here is sort of like saying an American "taking dam pictures" at Hoover Dam. They have a draw bridge and a spiky, reel-up metal bar door to slam down! I think that's exciting.

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