Our priority on Friday (and Chris’s number one for the whole trip) was to see the Globe Theatre. From there, we would semi-improvise.
To the Tube!
Tours of the Globe are held only in the morning. After surfacing from the Tube (and contending with some more stressful London street confusion), we arrived just in the nick of time for the last tour.
A die hard Shakespeare veteran, at the birthplace of it all.
And needless to say, a thrill for a big Hamlet nerd…
A moment of awe when we walked inside, first arriving at today’s “cheap seats.” Interestingly, they were actually the expensive ones four hundred years ago, being further away from the epicenter of the stink-cloud. Imagine a thousand packed-in folk, who only bathed twice a year and would eat garlic throughout the show.
It’s one thing to hear Shakespeare lines and transport yourself to the Globe in your mind’s eye. Quite another to actually occupy the space itself, feeling it all around you, while hearing the lines in your mind’s ear.
This most excellent canopy the air, look you…
This brave o’er hanging firmament…
This majestical roof, fretted with golden fire…
Truly awesome to be there in the flesh.
After the Globe, we stopped in to the nearby Tate Modern.
Time to move north across the Thames, into downtown, on our way to the Tower of London.
Lexy spotted a single playing card on the street. Chris took it for good luck. What might the 9 of clubs portend?
The Tarot equivalent, 9 of Wands, shows a weary man in a defense posture, after fighting a battle and winning. He appears exhausted but is ready to overcome a final challenge to reach accomplishment and victory. Sounds eerily appropriate.
… Or not.
Apparently it portends that, twenty minutes later, your chest will be shat upon from above while standing in the Tower of London ticket queue.
Is that good luck? Superstition says so. And hey, some people pay good money for that kind of action.
After some cleanup, it was time for the Tower, home to a thousand years of kings, soldiers, and ill-treated prisoners.
A medieval castle, right in the heart of a huge, modern city. So strange to people who live in a country as young as ours.
Winding passages, tiny staircases, bed chambers, thrones… all very cool.
Onward to gawk at the Crown Jewels…
Sorry, no photography allowed inside!
It was (literally) spine-tingling to be totally surrounded on all sides by huge solid gold objects and diamonds the size of a fist. Never before or again will we be that close to that much treasure. Some estimate the value of the collection to be in the neighborhood of 11 billion dollars.
Back over the Thames now, via Tower Bridge, to find a particular vegan-friendly cafe that Lexy wanted to check out.
We were there too late in the day to eat for dinner what they were offering, but you can’t beat the name:
On the way back toward the Tube station, we were able to successfully help a tourist from Connecticut find her way through the torturous London street system. It can’t be emphasized enough how maddening it is to get around here on foot. The streets are laid out like a web spun by a drunken spider on meth. But being able to help somebody else, when we actually knew exactly where we were going for once, was a confidence-boosting moment.
For dinner, we decided to see how London does Mexican food at Chilango, “London’s Best Mexican Restaurant.”
Turned out to be little more than a Chipotle of the UK, but that’s alright, we like Chipotle.
Yep, that’s a burrito alright.
Time to experience the Tube, during rush hour! The trains are squat and tight, and even more claustrophobic when at full capacity.
We stopped at Tesco again to get snacks for the plane, and to blow off our last £10 note. Here’s Lexy reading ingredients, which she does with just about everything lately.
Now back at the hotel, we boarded the elevator, “going up” for the last time.
Our plane home leaves tomorrow. One more post to tie it up? Perhaps!