London, United Kingdom; Day 5

For our last day in Europe we packed in a few more activities around London. Our first stop was the Tower of London (with a better view of Big Ben on the way).

Big Ben

Initially built in the 11th century the Tower of London served as a royal residence, a defensive structure and a prison over the past 900 years. Although the royal family moved to other castles in the 1600s, it remained a prison until the 1950s and today it is one of the most visited sites in the UK.

It also houses the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. This is a stunning collection of royal ceremonial objects including the coronation regalia. We were all excited to see the crowns, scepters, swords, maces – all encrusted with jewels. But no pictures are allowed so you’ll have to trust us that they were spectacular.

We spent some time wandering the grounds and checking out the prisoner tower, the location where Sir Walter Raleigh was imprisoned and the torture chamber and tools – including ‘the rack’ which was first used here.

Our next stop was a decidedly more modern structure and definitely less torturous. We went to The Slide.

It is part of the art installation and observatory called the Arcelormittal Orbit that was built for the 2012 Olympics. The slide was added in 2016 and is the tallest and longest tube slide in the world. It starts about 300 feet off the ground and winds over 500 feet of twists and turns down to the ground. In the picture the silver tube is the slide.

First we spent time gazing at the spectacular view from the observation deck. 360 degree views on a pretty clear day showed us all of London and the Olympic Park just down below.

Then the kids got geared up and did the slide twice. They all enjoyed it a lot and want to do it again someday.

Mom and Dad passed on the slide – walking down the gently winding 480 steps was exhilarating enough

Our last stop for the day was more history. The kids desperately wanted to see the Rosetta Stone so we went to the British Museum.

The museum is filled with millions of antiquities from all over the world. We spent some time in the Egyptian gallery seeing giant statues from the time of our old friend Rameses II.

We also saw many well preserved sculptures from the Parthenon in Athens. We didn’t make it to Greece this trip so that was a fun thing to spend time with.

Shadow puppets behind the antiquities

And of course we saw the Rosetta Stone; the key to deciphering Egyptian Hieroglyphics and a central plot point for The Red Pyramid.

Rosetta Stone

We didn’t see anywhere close to all the treasures in the Museum today. We got a great taste of what was there and then called it a day. A last great day in London.

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