I got a bit of a slow start this morning, being very tired from the combination of jetlag and an obscene number of stairs yesterday. When I finally hauled myself out of bed, took some time getting dressed and ready for the day, then took the tube back to the Tower of London.
Why there? Mainly because it’s only one tube stop from my closest tube station1, and the sightseeing bus stops there, and that’s where I got off the tour yesterday. So, I got to ride the rest of the tour and, incidentally, find out where the theatre is for seeing The Book of Mormon tomorrow night.
I got off the bus around Picadilly Circus, with the intention of catching the red tour from the sightseeing company2. I managed to do that, though it took getting lost and finally making my way back to Trafalgar Square. When I got on the red tour, I found that it was the same as the yellow tour, but without a live guide – all commentary was on a recording, and I, not realizing that, neglected to get a set of headphones to listen to it.
By the time I figured this out, we were almost back to the Tower of London, so I figured I’d get off there and figure out what to do next. Turns out I was just in time for the 61-gun salute that the Yeoman Warders were firing in honour of the new princess. I stayed for that but, as a late arrival, I only managed to glimpse the guns themselves as I maneuvered around the edge of the crowd. Easy to hear, though. And to smell – huge clouds of smoke drifted over to us every time the guns fired.
That took about twenty minutes, in all, and I still hadn’t figured out what to do. So, I wandered down to the pier, and saw that there was a river bus service that would take me right to Shakespeare’s Globe theatre. I’m heading there tomorrow for Romeo and Juliet, but I thought it would be nice to take a tour today, and wander around the area.
The tour was awesome, led by an actual cockney named Mick. And he took us into the (mostly) empty Globe to show us the place.
The theatre is constructed in Elizabethan fashion – uncured oak, with lath and plaster between the beams, and a thatched roof. Since the great fire in London, thatched roofs are illegal, but the Globe has special dispensation. Also, a whole lot of sprinklers on the roof.
After a quick stop at the gift shop3, I set out to wander through the area and see what there was to see.
From Monument Station, it was just two underground stops to my home stop of Aldgate East. I had a bit of dinner and a bit of a rest, and uploaded the day’s pictures. While they were uploading, I went for my evening’s planned excursion: a Jack the Ripper walk.
It started getting overcast, and was beginning to sprinkle a bit of rain as the walk started, so I only got a few pictures. Although, to be fair, most of the actual sites we visited were radically changed from history, so there wasn’t much to photograph. That said, our guide, Phil, did an amazing job of painting the picture for us, and did a magnificent balancing act between humourous fun and dignified respect. I did get a few pics, though.
By this time, the rain was coming down pretty hard, so I put the camera away. We finished the tour, and I came home to post this. Pictures loaded very slowly, so I’m running late again.