Friday, September 17, 2010 3

OK...I just want to point out that I am NOT a shoe person.  At best, I probably own, maybe, 10 pairs, tops.  I realize that this is probably shameful for a woman to admit that, but considering the size of my purse collection, you can obviously see where I decided a while ago to overcompensate in other areas.  Now in saying this, however, I'm also not one of those people who isn't ever NOT prepared for anything.

Anything...that is, except for apparently bringing the WRONG SHOES TO LONDON!!!

I don't know what I did wrong!  I packed shoes I've worn before...that were properly broken in and could handle long-distance walking.  Why it is, however, that my shoes have decided to stand up and revolt against me is completely beyond my comprehension!  My blisters have blisters.  This is not good...nor is it conducive to walking great distances around a city that apparently has no beginning or end.  I would like to, for the record, sit down for five minutes and have a good cry over how much my feet ache. 

But....I digress.

Despite the podiatry aches and pains, today was spent cruising around the area around the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge.  For those of you unfamiliar, the Tower of London is a huge castle-area-type-thingy that has been a prison, a residence and a gigantic vault for the Crown Jewels.  . 

This place is HUGE!!!  Holy cow is it expansive!!  I mean, I truly thought I was just going to walk in, check out the grounds, see where Anne Boleyn got her head lobbed off and leave...but noooooo....there is all kinds of crazy going on there!!  There are 12 actual towers to the Tower of London.  There are chapels, residences where kings and queens slept, rooms where people were imprisoned, a vault where the Crown Jewels are kept, Royal Guards,

I love the furry hats!!!!

...Beefeaters, suits of armor, and ghosts!  It's its own town in and of itself!  And what I found to be absolutely even more fascinating, is that most of the history that this particular building garnered came even before America was even colonized!!  And then, on top of that,  never mind the fact that this "city"...probably extremely modern for its now surrounded by evidence that time marches matter how historical a site may be in value.

It's amazing...absolutely not to be missed!!

So, after leaving the Tower of have no choice but to hit the Tower Bridge...

And of course, right up the river is the infamous London Bridge (not falling down, however...)

Pretty cool, huh??

So after all the history that I've absorbed was time to wash it down with a cool pint...or two...or three...or...ALE TOUR!!!

Yes, you heard me correctly...there was a pamphlet at one of the pubs I visited recently that had Ale Tours for different sections of the city.  How cool is that?  And how perfect is that for me?  And yes, there was an Ale Tour that followed a portion of the city from the London Bridge around the Tower Bridge.  Coincidence that I was in the area today....????  I think not.

So, to start the Ale Tour, we hit the Old Thameside Inn off Clink Street...

Winding past the Borough Market, we make our way up to The Horniman at Hay's right by Hay's Galleria...

Which was right about when I was getting hungry, so a traditional lunch of Fish and Chips was in order...

After filling up on lunch it was time to venture towards The Mudlark...

followed by The Walrus and The Carpenter...

And to finish off the tour...we end up at The Ship off Talbot Court...

Oh...don't get me feet are still killing me by this point...even alcohol hasn't numbed the pain...but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do...and since I'm not one to leave anything unfinished, there was no way I was going to leave an Ale Tour incomplete.

The cool part about all of this, was that, despite the chance to sample a variety of local cask ales, it brought me around to more of the city than just the "tourist attractions."  I mean seriously, if I were just in the area for the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge, I would not have discovered the Borough Market, the Hay's Galleria and the area surrounding The Monument to the Great Fire of London (1666).  It was a great chance to see different parts of the city and enjoy the local scenery.

So....with that in mind, I think it's time for me to hang up my pint mug for the night and consider hitting the sack a bit early.  Tomorrow I'm scheduled to leave for Paris at 6:30am via the  I'd best get my poor tired feet into bed and rest up for the busy weekend ahead.

Hmmm....Paris.  Think anyplace there will be able to sell me a decent pair of shoes???