As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, my dad is from England and we have family that lives in London. For this reason I’ve been to London 7 times. (That’s a lot!) I loved it growing up! We would spend two weeks at a time in England visiting family and friends as well as sightseeing. I feel incredibly fortunate to have had this experience. I believe it has helped shape me into the avid traveler that I am.
I have been to the Tower of London a million times. It’s one of those places that you must visit if you are in London. It’s the backdrop for so many historical events: anything having to do with Henry the 8th; it was the Royal Menagerie housing wild animals from all over the world; thousands of religious prisoners passed through Traitors’ Gate; and it is home to the Crown Jewels. As a kid I have done a million school projects on the Tower and many of the sources I used to cite those projects were pamphlets and literature I collected during actual visits. The Tower of London was like living history for me every time I visited.
In 2009 I visited London as an adult without my family. I made sure to go to the Tower of London because it had always been such a memorable place for me, and my travel buddy, CJ, had never been. We managed to strategically plan our trip during the biggest snow storm London had seen in 20 years. By the end of our trip the snowfall had turned into rain and we were soaked, cold and all of our pictures had umbrellas in them. (I guess this is classic England weather though!) It was quite an experience!
When we entered the Tower of London, we decided to get the audio tour to learn more about its history. CJ is a history buff and it had been about 15 years since I’d done any school projects on the prison to I needed a refresher. As many of the gruesome details were spoken of on the audio tour I began to wonder what my fascination with the Tower was. It has such a dark history of torture and death: Anne Boleyn was beheaded on Tower Green (rumor has it that when her head was held up for the crowd to see her lips were still moving from the prayer she had been saying); Prince Edward V and his younger brother were declared illegitimate and imprisoned (and likely killed) by their uncle who later claimed the crown as King Richard III; and an uncountable number of people have been tortured and killed there. Who knows what 12-year-old Mary found so interesting about the Tower of London, but 28-year-old Mary found it gruesome… and a bit boring.
I know! I know! Boring! The Tower of London is a World Heritage Sight! It has such a rich history! How can it be boring! I don’t know exactly why I found it boring. Probably because I had been there so many times. I absolutely loved visiting Hampton Court with its lavish decorations and ornate furnishings, but the Tower of London didn’t have those things and I found it drab. It just wasn’t pretty to look at.(what prison is?!)
So there it is. I’ve called one of the most historic places in all of England boring. But I guess that’s the great things about opinions: we all have our own!