When one has the option of visiting the Tower of London for free, regardless of what one was doing the night before or what they should be doing that day, one 100% goes. To decipher that cryptic opening, the Friday before my Spring Break I had a UF Management exam at 10 am. Naturally, I had 8 million other tests and papers due that week so I put off the “easy” studying until the last minute. I also started (re)watching The Office, which I claimed helped me study (just do what Michael Scott doesn’t) but really it just distracted me further. On top of that, Nora, Morgan, Jocelyn, and I had the genius idea to attend London Fashion Weekend the Thursday evening before. All of these factors contributed to me staying up until 4am studying and three hours later getting back up to study some more until 10am finally arrived. The test was, of course, absurdly easy (I got a 59/60) and I was absurdly tired. By lucky, yet poorly timed, happenstance, my roommate Meghan received free tickets to the Tower of London that were expiring the next day from one of Metrogate’s Resident Life Advisors (essentially, an RA). Solely based on the normal ticket price of £20, I couldn’t refuse regardless of my self-imposed exhaustion.
I don’t know what it is about the Tube that makes you want to fall asleep, but the 30 minute ride out to Tower Hill was quite rejuvenating. After walking aimlessly around the perimeter of the Tower, we finally found the ‘Group Ticket Holder’ entrance (again, didn’t really question the two extra tickets my RLA had). The main architectural feature of the former castle is the White Tower, so that’s where we headed first. Along the way we came across some of the famous crows that live on the premise. Legend has it that once the crows leave the Tower, the monarchy will end. The British being quite practical clip their wings. With another stroke of luck, we walked into the White Tower just as the last tour was starting (you can walk through it yourself but there are only two tours throughout the day and we happened upon the last. Brilliant). The shouting children and foreigners translating to each other made it a bit difficult to understand everything out guide was saying, but my vast knowledge of Henry VIII filled in most of the gaps. We saw Henry’s suits of armor and how they expanded throughout the years and got to sit in St. Peter’s Chapel (where I literally almost fell asleep, because while the story of Anne Boleyn might be new to Meghan, I watch way too much period film and TV to not know all about her). We also walked down the brilliantly designed
spiral staircase, whose steps are the only one’s made of stone and are of different heights, and railing is on the right hand side (so if you are invading, you’d have to chose between holding your weapon in your shooting hand or steadying yourself with the banister. Unless of course you are my sister- shout out to the lefties). This walk down was rather slow seeing as a small boy would stop at every window opening to take a picture…every window. After we got past him, we moseyed over to the Crown Jewels where I snapped an illegal picture of Queen Elizabeth II’s crown before a slightly frantic Asian girl told me I wasn’t allowed to take picture. Once we had seen all the jewels (and were ushered out by the security guards), Meghan and I took our classic jumping picture in front of the White Tower, questioned this fake elephant (which, according to Wikipedia, represents Henry III’s menagerie), took 18 more pictures of Tower Bridge, and headed home (I actually did fall asleep on this tube ride).
This leads me to my review of The Other Boleyn Girl. Now, I’ve already told you of my vast knowledge of Henry VIII and his 6 lovely wives (and if you are in BLaw this semester and didn’t answer that question right in lecture the other day, we can never be friends) which stems from TV and movies, but also from 10th grade AP World History and a certain ABC’s of History Big Book project (H is for Henry VIII…). Luckily, this film came out in the 11th grade, so I was still obsessed enough to adore it. I still do actually; it’s quite juicy. I mean, yes they could have chosen British actors instead of have ScarJo and NatP pull off British accents (and Eric Bana for that matter…he’s Australian!). And the historical accuracy of anything Philippa Gregory writes is questionable. But if you are looking for a way to kill 2 hours with costumes, affairs, betrayal, and beheadings at the Tower of London, The Other Boleyn Girl is the movie for you. Until next time,