It’s so easy to forget sometimes that I live in an amazingly historic city, where there are tons of things and places to see, visit and explore in London. It’s not just the historical sites or museums, as there’s a plethora of more modern things to do as well. But it’s more that I’m here in this city and I tend to not think of ‘playing tourist’ in my own city.
I really should do it more often.. we all should really.
Instead, I tend to get stuck into my day-to-day life of work, sleep, eat, and occasionally having a social life (whatever that is lol).
If anything I think there are tons of people living in this city (or other historical cities around the world) who’ve never actually done the touristy things because it’s ‘just there’ and you get in the mindset of maybe you’ll go visit this place or that one when some relative comes to town to visit.
Well that’s kinda of what happened with me last Sunday. A dear friend of mine from my days in Montreal (he lives in Vancouver now) was in town on a 24 lay-over (flight crew for a Canadian airline), so he suggested we do something touristy. He tends to get a London flight once every 6 months or so, so we usually just spent it getting pissed in Soho and not doing much else.
After messaging back and forth on Facebook, we eventually decided to meet at London Bridge station, walk down the river to cross over Tower Bridge, and then over to the Tower of London itself.
Now despite my living here for 5 years or so now, I’d never been to the Tower of London. Sure I’d walked by it a couple times, or passed by on a bus, but never considered going inside and taking a peek around. It wasn’t because I wasn’t interested, because I was, it was more that it just never happened..
First thing you need to know about Tower of London if you’re going to visit is you better be wearing comfortable shoes and be able to stand for long periods or climb lots of stairs. Walking by it doesn’t necessarily look like the towers would be that high, and they’re really now, but there are tons and tons of tiny stairwells.
As for the standing around, we had to wait in the queue for about 40 minutes to get into the Crown Jewels exhibit and then walk through the exhibit itself at a very slow and halting pace (though there is one section where they have a moving sidewalk past some displays).. only to have everyone crowding around one little display of the Crown Jewels themselves. It was cool to see (you’re not allowed to photograph it though..), but just seems like the rest was a build up for something that didn’t happen.. but that’s just me probably.
The other exhibit we had to queue for was the Torture Tower.. which was actually in a basement/dungeon, and wasn’t that exciting. We went into a tiny lower room that had maybe 3 torture devices on display, then up and our again. Just a tad disappointing.
Maybe I’m a bit of a sadist, but I think it could have been cool if people could have been strapped into some of the devices (like the rack) to get pictures taken. At least it would have made a fun Facebook pic. Hahahah
Overall it was a cool visit to the Tower of London and I did enjoy it, but probably not as much as someone else who’s really into history or war memorabilia.
More than anything it was cool to hang out with my friend, joke around, and just catch up on life.. and take pictures of course. 😀