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Tower of London, Tower Bridge, and STOMP

London, United Kingdom

I've realized that my blog entries are longer than average, so I thought I could give the rundown of the day quick and easy like a bandaid and then go into more detail.

Tower of London-- Beefeaters, Ravens, Torture, Crown Jewels, Beheadings, Henry the VIII
Tower Bridge-- Two landmasses connected by a strip of iron... yup
Shopping-- First European Beer!
STOMP!-- Hella sweet
Dinner—Sorastro’s, Turkish themed restaurant

(The Tower of London)

The Tower of London isn't actually a tower. It's an entire fortress with six foot thick walls, portcullises, primitive plumbing and everything else that goes along with a castle built in 1066. We were led on the tour by the infamous Yeoman (the Beefeaters), and our guide was cracking jokes as he told us the history of the place. We stopped by to see the crown jewels which aren't just jewels either. They are the entire vestments and ceremonial regalia worn by the Queen and her company during coronations and other stately affairs. We got to see the biggest diamond in the world set into the Queen's staff, all her robes, the solid gold plates used for royal christenings, and a large array of crowns. Because they're celebrating Henry the VIII's 500th anniversary since taking the crown, there was an exhibit devoted to him and his armor, but once you went in, there wasn't any getting out until you finished the entire thing (and went through the gift shop)! They definitely know how to control a crowd there.

(The Tower Bridge)

We ate on the bank of the Thames with a view of the Tower Bridge which we visited after lunch. It was 194 stairs up which led me to start keeping a tally of how many steps we'd climbed that day going in and out of exhibits, underground stations, and other attractions. I broke 500 easily.

We went shopping for a bit in Convent Square and stopped for a pint at Sussex pub where I had my first European beer. Foster’s lager, which is actually very popular in Australia. We toodled around for only a bit because STOMP started at 6 o’clock. In London, you aren’t given programs… you have to buy them! While we were perusing our three pound program, the entire audience was greatly entertained by the antics of a mouse that had scurried out from one of the wings and had taken its place center stage without a care in the world. It received cat calls and rounds of applause until the ushers lowered the curtain to take care of the lovable rodent discreetly. The show itself was absolutely spectacular… and HILARIOUS! Not a word was spoken, but the rhythms, gags, and physical stunts seemed to fly by. The cast banged on everything imaginable… INCLUDING the kitchen sink which a quartet of men came waltzing out with strapped to their fronts, and still full of water!

After STOMP, we headed to a restaurant called Sorastro’s whose tagline is “The show after the show.” It caters especially to people who have just been out to the theatre and provides some additional entertainment if the first performance of the night left them begging for more. The decorations were incredible. It was Turkish themed, and unlike many restaurants like this in America, the ornamentations and design genuinely had a ring of truth to it. We were entertained by a string quartet and a pair of opera singers while we ate. The real surprise was dessert: baked pumpkin and fresh fruit. The pumpkin was very sweet and had oats sprinkled on it—very good, and the fruit was whole! No preparation at all.

(Thankfully, the Underground is pretty easy to figure out)

Walking home, we passed through London’s Time Square, Picadilly Circus. Even on a Sunday night, it was hopping. The buskers here are actually very good and play music that I would actually pay to listen to, instead of the normal street performers that I’ve heard.

(This is the theater where the London premiere of Harry Potter was!!!)

I have to crack another fashion rumor that I had heard before I left. If Londoners are anything to judge by, Europeans definitely wear sandals. For some reason, I had heard that it was all closed-toed shoes across the pond. Well, you can put that piece of gossip to rest.

(The Ritz Hotel)

permalink written by  Kelsey Ingle on August 16, 2009 from London, United Kingdom
from the travel blog: A Rover in the Clover
tagged TowerBridge, TowerOfLondon, STOMP and SorastroS

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