London, Part II: Thank You Cheesus!

It’s so hard to narrow down what parts of London I should write about – I really just want to tell more and more…and that’s not to discount any of our other trip stops.  It’s just that, I really loved London.

One of my pre-trip obsessions has been the Tudors…you know…whacky King Henry who went through wives like most of us go through ice cubes?  And thanks to the just finished series on Showtime, I was completely up to speed on his reign. 

So, on my list of things to do (you remember it, don’t you?) was to visit the Tower of London.  This was a prison of sorts (I mean, I don’t really consider two story townhouses to be prison cells, but I guess if you’ve come from castle/palace living, it could be a downer) and now houses the Crown Jewels. 

Guests of the Tower included such folks as William Wallace, Sir Walter Raleigh and just about anyone who hung out with King Henry.

To get the full visit, you’ve got to go twice – once during the day and once at night.  At 9.30 at night to be exact – as that is when the Ceremony of the Keys takes place, locking the Tower for the night.

This ceremony has been going on daily since the 14th century. It’s now open to the public – as long as you write a letter in advance (handwritten – imagine that!) for tickets, arrive early and behave.

We were hooked up with a Yeoman (an officer who would be ‘in charge’ of us) and led through the tower to observe the ceremony. 

Somewhere in the middle, I found out that there are 30 or so Yeoman that live on the grounds.  Which means that since I’ve been back I’ve been scouring the internet to find an available Yeoman to marry so I can live there, too. 
We did come back the next day to see the Tower innards – including the Crown Jewels and some great footage of the Queen’s inauguration, showing just how young and nervous she was. 
I’d imagine taking the throne is a really sad event since the only way to get the promotion is to lose a parent.  And for her, it was sudden and unexpected.
We also hit the ‘usual’ spots in London – St. Paul’s Cathedral (meaning I’ve now see three out of four of the largest domes in the world) and Westminster Abbey (which is really just a very large crypt). 
And we hit the unusual spots.  Well one, anyway.  One of my goal items was to have a Toasted Cheese Sandwich in Borough Market.  I pretty much had written that one off as our tour day was with a guide – and really what were the chances that he’d let us break off for a glorified grilled cheese.
So you can imagine my reaction when he blurted out in his cute little English accent that he wanted to give us an hour for lunch at his favorite spot…Borough Market.  Pinch Me!
My friends…what you see here is some sort of heaven on earth.  It’s the sandwich of my dreams.  It’s what I think about when I lie in bed at night unable to sleep.  If a food can change your life, then let this one be the Gandhi of deliciousness.
If you are ever in London, and you don’t pick up one of these miracles….we are no longer friends.
PS – The booth you’ll be looking for is called Kappa Cassein. 
I wanted to show you the final shot of another trip phenomenom….
Did I mention my dad’s uncanny ability to show up in my lens just as I was snapping pictures?  Here’s his best photo bomb.
This was while we were learning about the Tower Bridge and why there was a bale of hay hanging off the middle (it signals that work is being done on the bridge). 
And Dad was kind enough to point it out.  At just the right time.
Our last stop of the big day was to Buckingham Palace – as the Queen was up in Scotland, it was open to visitors.  The thing about Buckingham is that it sits right in the middle of this immensely busy city – and yet when you are on the grounds, you feel like you are way out in the country somewhere. 
It really would be too much house for me – I can only imagine the hours it would take just to get the vacuuming done.  It’s all yours, stupid Kate.
So, that was it – our last day of the adventure.  Once again, a trip we’d been planning for a year had come to an end.  Once again, I learned how great I’ve become at travelling (truth be told…I used to be a bit of a wimp with new experiences).  Once again, I’m already jonesing for the next one. 
Who’s with me?

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