I've been here officially for a week and I feel like I've been here for only 3 days. Everything is running together and if it weren't for blogging I would forget which day I did what or that days had even passed. Today I got up at 7am so that both Bella and I could be out the door by 7:30 so that we could be at the Tower of London by opening (they open at 9). The problem was when I knocked on Bella's door to exit the building like the great Elvis Presley, I heard rustling in her bed and knew that she hadnt woken up yet. She greeted me with profuse apologies and promises to be ready in 20 minutes.
37 minutes later we left the building in style, and when I say in style I mean half awake and wearing some of yesterday's clothes. Our plans for the day consisted of seeing the Tower of London and catching the next afternoon train out to a country. Train delays and a delicious pub at Euston station changed our decisions. We went to the Tower after we purchased tickets on a 5:10 train to Scotland and soaked up some history.
Our tickets to the tower included a Beefeater guide around parts of the Tower. Seriously, that is a attraction that is worth the price. Just make sure you have 4 hours to look around, there's a lot to see. He told us the history of parts of it; the tower has been there since the 1100's, there was a lot of history. He regaled us with stories of famous imprisonments, escapes and horrific beheadings. He took us into the towers cathedral and told us where the bodies of Anne Boylen, Catherine the 5th wife of Henry VIII, and other famous people lay. It was incredible to think that just a couple hundred years ago Anne Boylen was in the same cathedral I was in today praying for her life. It was strange to look across the expansive courtyard and imagine ladies-in-waiting and knights wandering them; it was strange because I could totally picture it.
Everything was old. Carvings of writing of some of the Tower's prisoners were on the walls, leaving their last mark of their existence, it was real and it was astonishing. It smelled like stone and wood, just how towers and castles are supposed to smell. It was surreal in a weird sort of way to touch the stone walls leading up a circular staircase and think about who could have also touch the spot I just touched. Perhaps a king? Perhaps someone who a couple hundred years before could have faltered on their way to their doom and touched that spot for support? It's crazy the things that run through your mind when you see these ancient spots.....or maybe it's just in my mind.
I wandered through the White Tower and saw the artifacts of the life that existed behind these walls. There were the armors that a majority of the kings wore in battle and their horses....yes...their horses. All the horses of the kings were preserved. Strange.
I also made a point of seeing the crown jewels. We accidentally cut in line, well it was mostly me. A group had lagged behind and I thought that was where it ended and where we were supposed to join. So I jumped in.....and a lot of people followed suit until an Italian man yelled at the bunch of us that we had cut. Bella didn't budge and I wasn't leaving her.....so we cut down on some major waiting time. The crown jewels were pretty cool. We saw coronation spoons, specters, swords, and crowns, all of which was jewel encrusted. But the clarity of the jewels weren't that great, I mean yeah don't get me wrong I'm being pretty picky over something I will never wear or ever come close to touching, but come on. These are the crown jewels; pomp, beauty, and perfection is what it's all about right? Hence, I reserve my right to critique if I feel like the crown jewels aren't perfect. Plus, I would have made a better princess, as we all know, and would have demanded perfection.
At the end of looking at all that bling, I couldn't help but look down at my engagement ring. Yes, it's not massive like the coronation crowns and rings I saw but it's a perfect and beautiful ring. Somebody gave that to me with a lot of love and all the powers or titles in all the world wouldn't make me trade that (except perhaps the title 'princess', that would look good in front of my name). So all in all: my ring > the crown jewels.
Bella and I then met up at the Starbucks by the Towers. We booked our hostel and made our plans. We then hobbled (I say hobbled because we did a lot of walking and our feet were sore) to the train station. We caught the train bound for Edinburg, Scotland; land of the kilts. We talked about how we would fall asleep on the way there as it was a 5 hour train ride there, but our bodies didn't stand a chance against our mouths. We chatted some more about life, love, and other mysteries. Once again we were on the verge of solving all the worlds problems when the train reached our destination.
Scotland is just like what you see in the movies. Only it's far more impressive. Never have I seen anything of this magnitude and so old. It's a sight to behold. Stepping out of the train station onto the street you feel small. Towers, castles, cathedrals, everything looms over you. The air was different than anything I had felt before. It was damp, but you didn't feel it. It was cold but you weren't cold. The roads curved and your eyes couldn't look anywhere else but at the intricate gothic details of the buildings around you.
We arrived at our hostel for the night, despite the poor directions. I'll never forget stepping into my first hostel; it sharply reminded me how prissy I am. The lobby had a cheerful atmosphere and eclectic items all around. We checked in and headed up into the rooms. It was relatively clean, the bunk beds lined up next to each other, and a clean smell in the air. Still it reminded me of an orphanage and I automatically missed home. I wanted to book the next ticket home and crawl back into my familiar bed, where there were schedules and where I wasn't concerned about the next place I would be in. I bucked up though and told myself I was tired and after a good nights rest everything would be ok in the morning. True to my own word, it's morning and everything is better. And Scotland is waiting for me to explore it, better go so I don't disappoint.