Tuesday, June 30, 2015

London, 2015: The Tower of London

Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, also known as The Tower of London,
 is an internationally famous monument and one of England’s most iconic structures. 

William the Conqueror built the White Tower in 1066 as a demonstration of Norman power,
siting it strategically on the River Thames to act as both fortress and gateway to the capital. 
It is the most complete example of an 11th century fortress palace remaining in Europe. 
A rare survival of a continuously developing ensemble of royal buildings, from the 11th to 16th centuries, 
the Tower of London has become one of the symbols of royalty. 

It also fostered the development of several of England’s major State institutions, 
incorporating such fundamental roles as the nation’s defense, its record-keeping and its coinage. 

Today the Tower of London is best known for its Crown Jewels, 
but it used to be notorious for the many political opponents of the kings that were locked, tortured and killed in the Tower. 
The Tower was also a royal residence: 
several kings lived here, especially during turbulent times when the donjon seemed a lot safer than the palace in Westminster.

It has been the setting for key historical events in European history, including the execution of three English queens.

The so-called Beefeaters or Yeoman Warders, dressed in historic clothes, are ceremonial guardians of the Tower of London.
In principle they are responsible for looking after any prisoners in the Tower and safeguarding the British crown jewels, 
but in practice they act as tour guides and are a tourist attraction in their own right, a point the Yeomen Warders acknowledge.
One of the about forty Yeoman Warders is known as the Ravenmaster, 
responsible for the ravens that have been living here for centuries.  

Legend has it that the Tower and the kingdom will fall if the ravens leave. 
Hence King Charles II placed the birds under royal protection 
and the wings of the ravens are clipped to prevent them from flying away.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

MySpot: Rapaciously We Gathered Flowery Spoils

"Always keep that happy attitude. 
Pretend that you are holding a beautiful fragrant bouquet."

Earl Nightingale

MySpot: Remember the Sea

"...and you will hold me with your wondering eyes in the serenity of purest mind 
at the dreams edge of my quiet golden shores 
accompanied by the melodies of emerald blue rippling waves 
where I will always remain 
voicing harmony in the over the rainbow soothing memories of your heart..."

Oksana Rus

The Plains

"Then again, I'd just see a windmill and an open sky, too, 
never feeling the need to conquer either. 
You think it's all obvious and straightforward, this world. 
But really, it's all in who is doing the looking."

Sarah Dessen

MySpot: Footsteps and Thoughts

"I don't have a warm personal enemy left. 
They've all died off. 
I miss them terribly because they helped define me."

Clare Boothe Luce

London, 2015: Kensington Gardens

Kensington Gardens, once the private gardens of Kensington Palace, 
are one of the Royal Parks of London, lying immediately to the west of Hyde Park. 
It is shared between 
the City of Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, 
lying within western central London. 
The park covers an area of 111 hectares. 

The most famous attraction in Kensington Gardens is without a doubt Kensington Palace, the former home of Princess Diana and the birthplace of Queen Victoria. 
The red brick palace was originally built in 1605 as a mansion by the Earl of Nottingham. 
It became a palace in 1689 when it was bought by King William III. 
Today the palace is still a royal residence - prince William and Kate Middleton live here.

In front of the Kensington Palace is a marble statue of a young Queen Victoria, created by her own daughter, Princess Louise, and unveiled in 1893 in the presence of the queen.

Just east of Kensington Palace you'll find the sunken garden, 
a beautiful garden created in 1909 and based on a Tudor garden in Hampton Court.