On my way back from the English coast I stopped early in London not to go to the Olympics, but to see the Crown Jewels of the UK. Of course when I arrived, all tourist guides wanted to send me to the Olympic Games and were rather surprised when I asked for the tube to the London Tower. They hadn't been instructed for such an unusual wish during the Olympic Games.
I managed to catch the right tube and arrived at Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London. It is a historic castle and was founded towards the end of 1066. In its history, it also served as a royal residence. As a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat.
I don't want to copy and paste its history it's more easier to read it here
When I arrived around 10.30 am, the sky had decided to cover and therefore my pictures are a little dark but it gives an idea of the impressive building.
The very modern buildings I saw from this romantic old place disturbed me. It was as looking out of the past to the future on another planet !
What a contrast !
Seeing the Tower Bridge from far was much better
There were quiet a lot of tourists, who should have been at the Olympics !
This building is called the "White Tower"
and here I was in front of the Waterloo Barracks. I have to say, living in the town Waterloo where the name is coming from due to the battle of Waterloo, we don't have this kind of barracks, if there are, they would look a little more modest.
I had no time to visit all towers and rooms, and avoided the bloody tower and the torture chamber because of eventual nightmares (I have a sensible soul) and hurried through the whole complex to find the Crown Jewels !
Finally I arrived ! there was already one guard. I don't think he wasn't very efficient to protect the Jewels, but at least the tourists had something for taking pictures. Me included.
and there was the entrance ! Taking pictures inside was of course strictly forbidden. Anyway it was too dark and films about the various coronations and pictures were projected on the walls. I had seen the coronation of the actual Queen already several times so I didn't listen to any explanations but hurried into the room with all these treasures displayed, which knocked me out of my shoes (almost) !
Never ever I had seen such sparkling diamonds and other precious stones ! Or maybe in Istaambul in the Topkapi Palace. It's really difficult to describe. There was a moving walkway on which you stood still and could admire piece by piece. I noticed that some kings had very big heads, others smaller once. The crown of Queen Mary the Grandma of the actual Queen had a quiet little crown. It was like a very exclusive hat boutique. The accessories like the rings, swords, plates, and scepters were also stunning !
In short you have to see it yourself just to believe it ! (these pictures are "borrowed" from several internet sites)
Despite the fact that taking photos was not allowed, I managed using the paparazzi mode to take some pictures at least of the boxes where the crowns and swords are stored when they have to be taken out of the tower.
Here you can see the cases for the swords, and boxes for other accessories,
and these boxes are for the crowns. The case below was for a big golden plate
Very friendly guards posed for the tourists
Ice cream for the exhausted tourists
This canon was a gift from Malta
and then I saw the royal monkies (sculputred with wires)
and last but not least an elephant who waved me good bye, "see you the next time for the rest !"