Tuesday, March 14, 2017

London: Crows, Crowns, and Convicts.

We woke up fairly early on our second day in London and immediately headed out for a tour of London via the double decker bus, hosted by Big Bus Tours. What we discovered was that our tickets lasted for 48 hours, and its hop off and on. It allowed us great flexibility for getting off the bus and wandering when we wanted and riding close to our next destination when ready. Since it hits most popular tourist destinations, it was perfect!

A View From The Top

We first took it past Tyburn, the infamous site of executions of a general nature. So, highwaymen and all around bad boys. If you spent a month in the company of gypsies, you may have been hung there. My favorite story is of Jack Sheppard, a notorious highwayman and all around bad boy hung there. Its said he was quite good-looking and a bit of a player with the ladies. If you hear the term, he is a Jack The Lad in Britain, its attributed to our heartthrob, Mr. Sheppard and means the man in question is a heart breaker. His hanging attracted over 200,000 viewers. The most ever. I imagine mostly women, some crying, some laughing and the rest relieved husbands and fathers.
Right next to where the hanging tree was, which could hang up to 28 people at once, 12 times a year, is now a beautiful horse head statue.
10m high bronze Marwari horse head by Nic Fiddian-Green  

The Marble Arch is also next to this area. Built in the 19th century by John Nash, it was meant to be the state entrance to Buckingham Palace but has since been moved to the same island as the Marwari horse head sculpture.

We next traveled along Oxford St and found out that if an area has crowns on their street lights, they still pay a portion of their taxes to the Queen. She makes a small amount of money off of it. Something like 40,000,000. :)

Interesting side note, but the same topic...the City of London, pays the Queen quit rent for two parcels of land that no one recalls where they are located. The terms of the rent has not changed since it was created in the 1200's. An axe, a knife, six oversized horseshoes, and 61 nails. Talk about loving their traditions! No one remembers where the land is, and the only reason they continue to pay it is, its tradition. I love these Brits.

Our last stop of the day was the infamous Tower of London. Famous for brutal executions and housing the crown jewels. 
Sadly, you aren't allowed photography in the room with the crown jewels. And the rumor is, if you touch the glass, the doors close around you immediately. I'm not sure its true, but I wasn't tempted to find out. 

Three queens were executed here, as befitting their station in life. Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, and Lady Jane Grey.  Otherwise, most people were executed close by at Tower Hill, not in the Tower of London as commonly thought. 
One great story we heard about the Tower of London, is its believed that 6 crows must sit on the walls of the Tower or London will fall. To make sure thats always the case, there are 8 domesticated crows with their wings clipped that live there. 

                                                                Two crows on the wall

These are just a few highlights of our day touring London. There is so many more stories I can tell and would love to share in a future post!

I hope you enjoyed these ones!

1 comment:

  1. Keep them coming... Where are the quadcopter shots?