Villierstown

So, you can read all about my boating adventures, where I went sailing and speed boating on the Blackwater River, here and here.

As the boats were coming back in, we were packed into the car and taken to Villierstown in groups. There were 6 of us in the car, so I got a photo of some of us as proof!

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Once we all got safely to Villierstown, we were let out at the church to wait for the rest of our people.

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While we were waiting, we were told to head inside because there was an Irish step dance competition happening, and we were invited in to watch the kids dance.

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Since I took Irish dance in the States, it was really cool to have the opportunity to compare traditional Irish dance to the Americanized version. The classes that I took were actually very similar to the dancing we saw!

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I was the only person who noticed this photo being taken!

Eventually, my friend Sara and I decided to go explore Villierstown while we were waiting for the next part of our day to start.

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If you remember from my last post, we saw Dromana Bridge, and then we found Dromana Road in our exploring!

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I saw this little house in our exploring and fell in love with it. I will live there someday!

So, Sara and I set off from the church and picked the main road out of Villierstown. We followed it along for a while, stopping to enjoy the scenery. It is a very lovely area.

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I love all the cows!

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That large gray square in the distance is Camphire House. From my google searching, I can’t tell anything historical that happened there, but it was built in the 1830’s which is cool!

At this point, Sara and I noticed a path off into the woods and decided to do a little exploring off-road. It was a pretty area with lots of trees and fresh air.

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The trees where giant, and looked like something out of a fairy tale! 

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I, of course, had to stop and take a selfie!

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We eventually discovered that the path we were following was a path for logging trucks.

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At this point, we decided to head back to Villierstown, and to meet up with the rest of our group. We were having a group dinner at a local pub, where they brought out a full spread for us.

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We ate, drank, watched some sports, and played some pool. It was a nice way to end the day.

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Eventually, they piled us back into buses and sent us back to Dungarvan. I think (huge emphasis on think) I may have gotten over my fear of water, but haven’t been on a boat since, so only time will tell.

Stay tuned to hear about my last few days in Ireland, and where I’m headed next!

Sailing on Blackwater con.

Hi all! Sorry for the crazy delay between posts! With the semester winding down, and now the holidays, it’s been hard finding time to post. You can catch up, and read about my time learning to sail, here.

So, I’ll pick up where I left off. We were at the Villierstown Boating Club where the lovely crew had taken us sailing on the Blackwater River, which the Vikings used to sail on! Since I have a pretty strong fear of boats, the first part of the day had been a real struggle since I was sailing in a 100 year old wooden sailboat. Luckily, we made it back to dry land okay. The lovely crew of VBC provided us with a really nice picnic lunch. We posed for a nice group shot, and then were split back up into our groups. This time, we were going out onto the river in a speed boat!

I was a little worried about the speed boat because there is literally nothing between you and the water! It seemed so easy to fall off/out of the boat!

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Do you see the fear behind my eyes?

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There were three other boats out with us, and the boats would take turns driving over each other’s wake making the boat shoot really high in the air! It was actually pretty fun, when I wasn’t having a baby heart attack.

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This area of the river is gorgeous! I had a great time looking at at the scenery and some of the cool buildings on the river’s edge.

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I never learned the name of this ruin, or what it used to be (and google wasn’t helpful) but it’s still cool to look at and wonder what it used to be!

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This is Ballynatray House! It’s basically just a really lovely mansion near the river.

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It wouldn’t be Ireland without cows!

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Less fear in this picture! By this point, I was really having a good time!

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This is an old castle tower!

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This is Tourin House, another old historic house on the river!

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And this is Dromona Bridge! The Indian design was really unexpected in the middle of Ireland!

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So, we made it safely back to land, and stopped for a quick wind-blown selfie!

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We wanted for the rest of the groups to get back in, and then we were loaded into cars and headed off for the next adventure of the day! Stay tuned and Happy New Year!

 

Sailing on Blackwater

Hi all! It’s finals week and things are, naturally, rather hectic around here. But I’m back! When I left off, we had just gotten back from our trip to London (It was amazing and I can’t wait to go back again!!!) We had a couple days to chill in Dungarvan, before it was announced that we were going to be going sailing on the Blackwater River!

Now, if you know me, or have been following this blog for a while, then you know I have this weird phobia about boats. Which is totally unwarranted since I can swim, but it’s there. I debated for a while about whether or not I wanted to go (It was a whole day on boats! Not my cup of tea at all!) But, I talked myself into it, by reminding myself that this was probably the only time was going to be allowed to ride in a power boat on the middle of the Blackwater River… so I went…

And actually had a really good time (The fear of boats is still there, but to a slightly small degree)!

The Blackwater River has actually been featured on this blog a few times before (You can read about those other times here and here!), and I still feel a really strong connection to the river. The Blackwater River is the river the Vikings used! I love this fact, since I’m a bit of a Vikings nerd (both the actual people and the show on the History Channel!).  I was actually rather excited to get out there on the river, and be like the Vikings!

So, we started out super early (as per usual) and arrived at the Villierstown Boating Club! The guys who run the boating club are amazing, and were very nice to my crazy ass!

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The area around the Blackwater River is just stunning. It was amazing to ride/drive the actual sailboat first, just to have the chance to soak up all the natural beauty before hand.

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So, they split us up into groups: some in the powerboats, some in canoes, and some in an actual sailboats! We got to sail around in a hundred year-old wood boat (whose name has escaped me). I felt just like a Viking!

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So, they got us all fitted into life jackets, and all the groups went their separate ways. We had to wait a little while while they got our boat set up, so we passed the time taking selfies, because we are those Americans.

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Before we left, they gave us all little lamented maps of the area. It pointed out some areas, and buildings, of interest on the river. It was really nice being able to put the name to a place or building we saw, and we all really appreciated the maps.

The nice thing about the Irish, especially these sailing guys, is that they really know their history. They probably could of told us everything on their own. It was like that everywhere we went. They just know their history, and to me that is so impressive.

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So, our boat was finally ready, and we all (hesitantly on my part) climbed aboard.

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I may have been freaking out a little. Glad to see it was documented. 

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Our captain was a lovely chap named Eioghann. He really was wonderful, since he had to deal with my crazy for awhile. He taught us some of the basics of sailing, and then we just kind of cruised around Blackwater River.

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It almost looks like I’m having fun in this picture!

Eventually, Eioghann felt comfortable enough to give us all the opportunity to steer the boat. The two other girls in my boat when first, and we didn’t die, so finally it was my turn. Turns out I like being in charge of the boat better than just riding in it!

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Proof that I temporarily captained a boat!

Soon, out time on the sailboat was up, and our trusty captain lead us back to shore.

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We got a quick pic with our trusty captain!

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After everyone came ashore, they boating club put out a really nice lunch for us. We all settled in and ate our fill.

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They also had a dog. His name was Bilbo Higgins, which I got a kick out of!

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They got a quick group shot of everyone, all the classmates, sailing club guys, and their kids, and our “babysitters” before we all split up again. This time, we were going to try our luck on the power boat. But that’s a story for another day!

Stay tuned!

 

Cooking Class

Hi all! Sorry for the radio silence! With Thanksgiving break and all, I just really wanted to spend some quality time with friends and family! But, I’m back now.

After we got back from London, classes resumed as normal. We spent some time enjoying the lovely weather in Dungarvan.

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We also got to see a dance performance put on by some of the dance majors who were traveling with us on our studio abroad! They all did such an amazing job, and it was really nice to get to see all their hard-work over the course of the semester pay off!

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An after-performance picture with our favorite ballerina, Sara!

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Dungarvan Harbor by night!

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And some of the best Indian food I’ve ever at had a great local place!

A couple of days later, we learned that he lovely faculty planned a very nice surprise for us: We got to attend a cooking class at the Tannery Cookery School in Dungarvan with the fantastic chef, Paul Flynn!

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This was a really exciting opportunity for us! The Tannery is a very nice restaurant, one most of us couldn’t afford to eat out because we’re all poor college kids, so it was a really nice chance to get to go in and sample some of Chef Flynn’s food!

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There’s the talented Chef Flynn!

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For the first part of our lesson, he went over a really light and easy to make chowder. He’s whole philosophy on cooking is that is should be inexpensive, healthy, and yet still delicious. I think he really lived up to that philosophy with all the foods we got to try!

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While the chowder was preparing, we got a quick lesson on beer from the local brewery in town, The Dungarvan Brewing Company!

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I’m not much of a beer drinker, but it was still interesting to get to try all the different beers and learn what to detect in all their different flavors. There was a pale ale that I actually really liked, which was very surprising!

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Check out that wicked side-eye. Not sure who, or what, I was looking at but it is now a documented photo.

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There’s a much better picture of me! Also, featuring one of my professor’s, Mr. Mills, who we loving called Grandpa Art, and our very own Nanny McPhee, the lovely, and ultimately too stylish, Gerty Murphy!

After our beer lesson and tasting, Chef Flynn had finished the chowder, and prepared a lovely fresh garden salad for us. We all started eating the chowder and the salad, while he began work on a very healthy quiche.

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The quiche is featured here! It was really very tasty!

He also whipped up some very excellent, and again healthy, chocolate fudge for us to eat as desert! We were given some time to wander around the school, where i noticed that he had some cook books available to buy, so I bought two and had him sign them! I gave one to my sister who is now living on her own, and can’t really cook yet, and kept one for me!

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We all had a really great time meeting Chef Flynn and getting to eat his delicious creations! Stay tuned to hear all about our trip out sailing on the Black Water River!

London Day 4: Lambeth Palace, Tattoos, and Phantom of the Opera

You can read about the start of our fourth and final day in London here.

Where we left off, we had just had coffee at the the cutest (and most hipsterish) cafe ever, called 2 Love. We had some good coffee, and I had a really good smoothie. We were basically at a loss of what to do with the rest of our day. We decided to just keep hiking in the direction we were going and see if anything turned up that seemed interesting.

We eventually cross a few streets and end up in an area of London that we didn’t really know where we were. We decided to check the map, and saw that Lambeth Palace was very close to where we were standing. We didn’t know much about the palace, and had nothing else to do, so we decided to check it out.

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Unfortunately for us, they weren’t doing tours of the inside that day. However, because it was such a perfect and lovely spring day, they were having a flower show in the gardens behind the palace. We paid a few pounds and decided to check it out.

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Below, you will see an assortment of pictures that prove I can never take a serious picture (this seems to be a recurring trend, I know)! Enjoy!

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Finally, a good one!

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Alighting down the stairs, like the princess I am!

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They had numerous tents and vendors all selling different types of flowers, plants, and shrubs. We just looked at all the vendors, but didn’t buy anything since we had no way of getting it back to Ireland. There were sooo many beautiful flowers there. They also had a tent set up with snacks and coffee and tea. Inside there was a kids area where you could make a bag.

Naturally, we three grown women sat down to make bags. They were actually really cool! You pounded real flowers onto the bags with hammers so the flowers natural pigment would dye the bag. It was a very unique idea, and the three of us had fun making them!

After we were done making our bags, we kept wandering the gardens. It was such a nice day, and the gardens were so pretty!

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That was my travel buddy, Sara. I’m not just taking pictures of random people!

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We finished in the gardens and headed off on out merry way. I would have loved a chance to go in and tour Lambeth Palace itself, but getting to explore the gardens, and on such a prefect day, was well worth it!

After we left Lambeth, we were a little stumped as to what to do next. So, we did what all people do on an afternoon when they have nothing else to do: we hit the pub!

We ended up exploring the Leicester Square area for a while. It’s a cool spot, very modern for London. It was full of shops, restaurants, movie theaters, your basic downtown area. We wandered a bit, debated about seeing a movie, then settled a pub for a drink or two.

We ended up at The Porcupine for a few drinks, before Heather, another travel buddy,  Heather, gets it into her mind that she wants to get a tattoo while we’re in London. My friend Kelsey and I both got one while we were in Dublin, which you can read about here, and Heather felt like she missed out.

She began searching for tattoo places and I graciously agreed to go with her. Somehow, still not sure, she convinced me to get one with her (I have never thought about anything less in my life, and now it’s permanently embedded in my skin).

We ended up at Tattoo 13 and got tattoos! Heather got some books on her ribs, and I got an unalome in my cleavage.

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After we were done getting tattoos, we raced back to the hostel because it was time to go see Phantom of the Opera! Unfortunately, our tattoos took longer than we thought they were going to and we arrived at the theatre late. We were in Her Majesty’s Theatre and it was lovely. We were in the nose-bleed seats, but when the Phantom was lurking around the top, and when he dropped the chandelier, it happened right in front of us!

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The dropped chandelier. I got yelled at by an usher for taking this picture, but it was totally worth it!

As we were walking back towards Trafalgar Square, we noticed a pretty fountain and stopped to take a few pictures!

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If you look really close, you can see the bandage on my chest from my tattoo.

We got back to the hostel and packed up all our stuff. We were flying out bright and early. Sara and I went down to the bar inside the hostel really quick for one last drink, and then we all went to bed pretty early.

We got up early, checked out, got on the tube, then a train, then made it to the airport. I was a little afraid that they were going to pull me over because of the bandage on my chest, but I had no issues. We got on our flight and made it make to Dungarvan before dark.

I had the best time in London! It really is a phenomenal city! I can’t wait until I make it back. There is just soooo much to see and do that the few days we were there didn’t quite cut it.

Stay tuned to see what I get up to next!

London Day 4: Westminster Abbey and London Eye

You can read about our third day in London here and here.

Our fourth and last day in London began bright and early, as always. We decided we were going to start the day off at Westminster Abbey since we didn’t get the time to go in the last time we were up in that area.

I was really excited to see Westminster Abbey because there are sooo many cool people buried there: Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, and so many more people that I’ve read and learned about. I was sooo excited to go and see their graves. My older sister had gone when she studied at Cambridge, and told me I absolutely had to go when I was in London.

We got a late start leaving the hostel, and got held up on the tube. It was fairly late in the day by the time we actually got over to Westminster Abbey. We debated about what we wanted to do, since there was a very long line. We thought about leaving someone in line while the rest went to find some breakfast, but we didn’t want to split up.

We decided that by the time we made it through the line we wouldn’t have enough time to see the Abbey well enough to make it worth it. We decided to skip it and find somewhere for everyone to get breakfast.

I was pretty upset that we didn’t make it into the Abbey, but you know, things happen. Now, I have a reason to go back to London again. We continued out hike and things were pretty packed, with areas being blocked off, as they were gearing up for the London Marathon.

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Traditional phone booth photo!

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We found a cute cafe, called Caffe Concerto in Whitehall, and popped in for a really good brunch. I loved the 20’s-ish decor. It was fun to actually have a “tea” which is so very British.

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After brunch, we were quite sure what we wanted to do. We had planned on doing Westminster Abbey for most of the day. We started wandering around the area and spotted the London Eye in the distance.

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We crossed a bridge and ended up in Southbank. There was a festival or something going on and the area was full of food and bounce houses. It was a fun atmosphere. There were a lot of street performers and we stopped to watch a few acts.

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We hiked down Southbank, and debated about stopping in at the aquarium there, but it was pretty pricey. We saw Big Ben and Parliament and stopped for some photos.

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We stopped at a cute little hispter coffee stand, 2 Love, and got delicious coffees. I got a really good smoothie!

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We sat for a while, and enjoyed the views, before packing up and continuing our walk. We weren’t quite sure where we were headed. We decided to just wander and see where we ended up. We had no other plans for the day, besides tickets to see the Phantom of the Opera later in the evening, so our whole day was free.

Stay tuned to see what we did end up doing with the rest of our day!

London Day 3: Big Ben and The Tower of London

You can read about the start of our third day in London, where we explore St James Park and Buckingham Palace here.

And now, I’m going to follow that with a plea: please follow this blog! It’s for a class in college and it needs more followers! Thanks ahead of time!

So, once we were done messing around at the Wellington Barracks, we hopped back on the tube and ended up at Westminster Abbey and Big Ben! Again, I feel like these are some classically British sites and was so excited to see them! We debated about getting in line to tour Westminster Abbey, but the lines were long and it was closing soon.

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So, we decided to hike over to Big Ben instead and get some pictures with it!

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Since I can’t ever take a serious picture!

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Selfie with Big Ben!

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Nailed the cliche “leaning on Big Ben” picture! 

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We crossed the Parliament Square Garden to this line of statues we saw on our way over to Big Ben. There were son many historical people lined  up in this row of statues! It was cool to see the likenesses of so many famous people!

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There was a statue for Winston Churchill

 

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And one for Abraham Lincoln!

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There was a statue of Mahatma Gandhi! I had never seen a Gandhi statue before, so it was a really cool one to see in this row of statues!

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There was also Nelson Mandela!

We then decided it was time for lunch. We found a nice little pub, The Westminster Arms, for some food and a pint or two!

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I had my first taste of fish and chips! I also had Pims for the first time while we were there! They were both delicious!

After we were done with lunch, we decided to hop the tube over to the Tower of London! I was so excited to see the Tower because so many old British monarchs had been housed before their coronations (or, you know, their deaths) in the Tower that it is just chock full of history! I was so excited to see it!

Unfortunately for us, it had started to rain! We spent the rest of the day absolutely soaked to the skin!

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That’s London Bridge in the background!

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It’s the infamous Traitor’s Gate! They used to bring the “traitors’ in through this gate! It was something I had read about and I was soooo excited to see it in person!

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The first building we went into had to do with all types of torture! It went through the history of torture in the Tower. Sometimes it got a little gruesome, but it was set up really cool!

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What was cool about this display was that they had clear etched glass with the shapes of people inside the torture devices. It was interesting to see them actually being “used.”

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This is the White Tower!

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This is the Jewel House! It’s where they keep some of the crown jewels!

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It started with a video about the monarchy and the jewels, before going down a hallway with some of the monarchs of England.

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Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take pictures of the actual crown jewels, but I can assure you that they were stunning!

We left the Jewel House and set off towards The White Tower and the old Roman Wall!

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That’s the staircase they found the two bodies under.

We then went into probably my favorite room in the White Tower. It was filled to the brim with the armor worn by actual historical people! Like I saw the armor that Henry VIII wore! How cool is that?

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How freaking cool, right?

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The next room of the White Tower was filled with all types of historical weapons and the like. Again, it was very cool to see that much history collected in one place!

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There was also this really cool dragon up there (don’t know why it was there, but that still doesn’t change the fact that it was really cool!)!

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After we left the White Tower, we climbed up into St Thomas’s Tower! It still had that medieval vibe, so I really liked it. Plus, we got to climb out onto the wall of the Tower of London, onto the battlements, and that was really cool!

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We had some good views of London Bridge on the way!

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We then moved from the bedroom area, into a beautiful little chapel! It had some really pretty stained glass!

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We left the tower, and were back out on the battlements. There was a really good view of London Bridge, so we stopped to snap some pictures!

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At this point, the Tower of London was closing, so we were shooed out by some friendly worker bees, and went on our merry way. Since we still had some daylight hours, we decided to head down to Molly Bakes for some delicious looking freakshakes!

After we found our way to Molly Bakes, we were not disappointed in the least! It was totally worth the tube ride and walk for that freakshake!

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Since the night was still young at this point, we decided to head back towards the hostel and find a place for a drink or two. Since I’m a huge Jack the Ripper nut (read about that here) I suggested the Ten Bells Pub! This is the pub all the hookers hung out in before Jack the Ripper killed them.

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I was sooo freaking excited to get a drink there! We had a few drinks before deciding we needed dinner. We found a cute little Mexican place, called Lupita, and settled down for a quick and tasty dinner!

When we finished dinner, we headed back to the hostel and all fell right into bed! Stay tuned for our forth, and final, day in London!