Barney the Beefeater and the Beatles


If you’re ever in London, you absolutely must go visit the Tower of London. Seriously. Hands down the best thing we’ve seen the whole trip. The British Museum was good. The Museum of London was good. Edinburgh Castle was good. But the Tower of London blew them all away. It’s a freaking huge fortress of castles and towers and dungeons and moats, and you can wander around inside all of them and look at artifacts and armors and weapons and torture chambers and all that wonderful sort of stuff. It’s expensive, but it’s totally worth it. And you can even get a tour by one of the Yeoman Warders, who are also called Beefeaters; I didn’t know this, but these guys aren’t just tour guides in funny outfits. They’re for real veterans with some pretty impressive credentials, and they actually live at the Tower too. We ended up with a guy named Barney who had been a Sergeant Major in the Royal Marines. He was awesome. The guy was hilarious and full of personality and just tons of fun. He told all sorts of stories about the Tower and about history. If you ever get to the Tower of London and you go on a Yeoman Warder tour, ask for Barney. You won’t be disappointed.

I can’t even begin to tell you about everything we saw. Tombs and chapels and death sites and execution sites and murder sites and moats and I could go on and on and on. It was amazing! And the crown jewels too!

We spent hours there. Hours and hours, but it didn’t feel like it.

Oh, and get this, it was HOT. Like actually hot. I was sweating. And I got a tan. Most folks were in shorts and sun dresses.

We ate our lunches on the cobblestones inside the tower grounds, and then we got up and continued going through things. The hour-long tour with Barney was really just an introduction so we’d have an idea of where to start looking around. After we spent most of the day at the Tower of London and I burned through like 300 photos, we decided to try something a little different.

We went searching for Abbey Road. And we found it. And Andy nearly died getting his photo taken. But we managed it. And he’s alive. So mission accomplished.

By then, I was exhausted. I think we were all pretty tired, but I was exhausted and parched. We still stopped off at Picadilly Circus to see what all the fuss is about (it’s not really that impressive, honestly) and then we came back to Manna House. Katie and I got our Indian fix (chicken korma with rice and naan!!), and I finished packing.

Andy and I have hired a taxi to take us to Heathrow in the morning. It’s expensive, but it’s worth it. Otherwise, we’re dealing with a bus, a train, and a tube with zero margin of error to get to Heathrow in time. This way, we can know pretty certainly when we’ll arrive at Heathrow, and we can be sure we’re going to the right terminal, since some of the tubes don’t go to Terminal 5. It’s really confusing. But our flight out in the morning is at 8am. Oddly enough we fly to Manchester, which is like a 20 minute flight. But it was part of the ticket deal that we got online, so oh well. Then, we fly from Manchester to Chicago and from Chicago to Wichita. We should arrive back in ICT Sunday morning sometime, if all goes according to plan. My hope is to have all day Sunday to chill. Originally I had planned to take Monday off as well, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to do that or not. It will just depend on how much has stacked up while I’ve been gone.

I was telling Andy today that this has been one of the best trips I’ve ever taken. Jet lag and all, I would totally do it again. Now we’ll just see how many international incidents we will cause on the way home!

I’m not sure when I will have internet again, but as soon as I can update, I will. Later, everyone!

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