Tag Archives: UNESCO’s world heritage

Blood, Polar Bears and Cravens in the Tower of London

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Time for another world heritage site: Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress that we saw in London in October last year. You don’t know it? It’s more commonly known as the Tower of London. It is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, England. It lies  by the open space known as Tower Hill. It was founded towards the end of 1066 . The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078, and was a resented symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite. The castle was used as a prison since at least 1100, although that was not its primary purpose. A grand palace early in its history, it served as a royal residence. As a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat. There were several phases of expansion, mainly under Kings Richard the Lionheart, Henry III, and Edward I in the 12th and 13th centuries. The general layout established by the late 13th century remains despite later activity on the site.  The Tower has served variously as an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint, a public records office, and the home of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.

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London Bridge, leading to the Tower of Lpndon

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Part of the Tower of London

In October last year Jany and I took our mothers to London. We wanted to listen to Carmina Byrana at Royal Albert Hall, see a few World Heritage Sites and just get away for a while. The idea to take our moms along seemed like a good one at first, but wait they actually never met before, so this could end anyhow. My mom is by the way talkative, she always has an opinion and always wants to convience anyone that she is right. Jany’s mom is calm, doesn’t talk too much and is more quiet. And now the four of us ended up in London.It was pretty OK after all, even if I was nervous and my mom tried to talk everyone down.

On the third day in the afternoon we decided to go to Tower of London. It was Halloween weekend, so we were passred by ghosts, vampires and werewolves, but when we got to the tower there were atually mostly normal people here.

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The building is huge, so this is another part

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We were not alone

We walked around the castle fascinated by its size. We listened to one of the guides at first, but then we decided to go on our own and read, look and listen to guides when we passed them, or they passed us. Maybe not as good, but we were quite late and we tried to be effective. It was still too much information for one visit, so I guess that I have to get back here.

As I wrote before the place is really old. It was cadtle, it was prison, it was treasury. It’s fascinating to see all the different time prints from different eras, different purposes and different kings. Like walking inside a history book. The oldests parts were more simple, the newer more fancy, but all the parts fit together really well and they still look like one whole piece.

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Inside one of towers

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Beautiful glass

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Fancy building in the yard

We walked in the different towers, all the different parts and you could almost feel the ghosts, the soul of the place, the glorious history and the less bright. The power struggle was pretty obvious as well. Not always criminals were thrown into the prison. Sometimes brothers get rid of each other in order to take, or protect their power, their crown and their money. And sometimes the luck turned.

The old kings had they pets from around the world. They had imported lions, elephants and evebn a polar bear that used to swim in a special pool in the castle. How did they got it there ? Poor animal, there was probably not enough snow there, it must have benn too hot, but imagine that impression of power. I gueass the guests were amazed.

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One of cravens

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This is the ledend of cravens

There were also cravens in the Tower. The legend says that as long they are there the kingdom and the crown will live in prosperity and wealth. When they go the disaster will struck and the power will shift. It’s importrant to keep the cravens there. Well, they solved it by cutting the birds wings, so they can’t fly away. It’s cheating in my eyes.

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Royal guard

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A couple of guides

The guides were dressed up in old clothes (I guess) and played often roles, pretending to be from back then. It was quite interesting and yet another story. I think it’s good for the imagination and makes the tour a little more special and theatrical.And it was fun for the kids and tourists to photograph the guides and themeselves with the guides.

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More Tower

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Old and new

We went also into the treasury to look at the royal jewels. No photography inside there, so I only have great memories. Inside the treasury there was automatic band, that we stood on aand rolled by the treasures. The jewwels, crowns, spears were beautiful. Gold, diamonds and other presious stones. Just beautiul, really worth seeing. I think that both mothers were really impressed. We were as well.

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Protecting cannon

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Detail

The Tower of London became world heritage in 1988. Link to the site: Tower of London.

My grade is three gloves. There is almost everything here: history, blood, treasure and beauty, maybe too much people.

GlobeGlobeGlobe

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I met a rhino in Ngorongoro, is that possible?

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I have always said that nothing is impossible, just slightly improbable. But when you least expect it it might happen, just like that. And you don’t know it beforehand, but if you just say that it’s impossible, you might not notice it and miss the opportunity. So let’s say less probable from now on.

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Impossible to see rhino

Before going to Serengeti and Ngorongoro I was said that it’s almost impossible to see a rhino. There are so few of them, so you have to be lucky, very lucky. Impossible? Neh, maybe less probable. But we saw them, not one, but four then and there. Impossible?

I met a rhino in Ngorongoro and it made my day. Few other places as well, but that first time in Ngorongoro was extra special. I was on my first safari trip, first visit to Africa ever. Another post is here. I want to return to this spectaular place, yes, I do. The initial thought was that we were not going to see so much and that the nature films must be a photographer waiting for hours, days, and weeks. And there were animals everywhere. And we saw rhinos as well.

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Coming down to Ngorongoro crater we hoped to see Rhino as well. But we were not sure, you know, impossible, or almost. And we saw it! First one, very close, it just walked behind our truck like nothing happened. A while later we saw a whole family, one large and three small ones. Wow! I was speechless.

After that we saw one at Nairobi National Park and two more by lake Naukuru, but the first time in Ngorongoro was the most special one.

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Family, one more young was just behind

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In Ngorongoro

Faith of rhinos

Rhinos are very much endangered. That’s sad. Some people seem to think that their horns are ultimate medicine. And some others just kill them to steel the horns and sell for lots of money. Greed, that’s very much human. Can this be stopped? I’m sad to say, but as long as someone is willing to buy the horns the answer is no. People cannot be nice to each other, simply by greed, then they cannot be nice to animals either. Not everyone of course, but as long as there is one doing it, it’s one too many.

Many would say that it’s impossible for rhinos to survive human greed, pocher’s hunt for horns, no matter the price. But it’s not impossible to save the rhinos, it might take an effort, but it’s not impossible.

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A smaller inhabitant of the area

Impossible to win

“It’s impossible to win, let’s not waste our time.” We went to an travel and adventure fair and visited an African travel agent. If you don’t compete I would use word impossible this time, but if you do it is possible. So I did compete. And today I’ve got a mail anout first price. Being doubtful I checked their webpage and there was my name. Impossible? Not really.

So now I’m planning to use my prize and go on another trip to Africa to see those impossible, I mean less probable to see animals, like rhinos or leopards.

Links and globes

Ngorongoro Conservation Area has been a world heritage site since 1979.

Some links:

My grade to Ngorongoro is still five globes.

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//Monika

Daily Prompt: Impossibility.

via Daily Prompt: Impossibility.

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