One of my favorite things at the Tower was the ravens. There are about eight or so, and some of them roam freely. Our audio tour said that some can talk; the ravenmaster gave one a treat and told him “That’s for you,” to which the bird replied, “That’s for me.” They also steal hair ribbons and bark like dogs, according to the tour.
Hours and hours later, we’d finished the tour. A snapshot of what I remember: Anne Boleyn’s execution site, Jane Grey’s prison tower, the tower where the young English princes may have been murdered, and the gate where prisoners were brought via boat. William the Conqueror’s large keep also stands out as well as some of its exhibition contents - armors, submachine guns, and many swords.
Another standout: the Crown Jewels. The Heart of Africa, the Koh-i-Noor, and the ancient sapphire that allegedly belonged to Edward the Confessor, Queen Victoria’s small tiara worn in mourning, Elizabeth’s sceptre - all incredible. Nowhere else have I seen such opulence and grandeur in the secular sense.
 On my way toward the other side, a young Eastern European woman took me by surprise when she asked if I would take a photo of her near the river. She asked if I do photo professionally, and I said I studied it in school, She asked if I was practicing now, and I said “just for vacation.” Although, how grand it would have been to be assigned to shoot London as homework. After a few smiles and awkward pauses, the girl went on her way. I watched her go and felt melancholy. As she dragged her suitcase behind her, I wondered if she was just a tourist visiting alone, or if she was visiting someone, or here for business. I felt a sense of loneliness for her and hoped she wasn’t alone. And then I realized: I was alone as a tourist in London. But I didn’t feel like one. Instead of feeling lost and confused and unaware, I felt connected, determined and able. I felt like I knew the city well and my way around by heart, and I didn’t feel like I looked like a tourist. The camera may have given it away, but the camera could have also belonged to a photographer, or a student, or someone who calls London home.
I’m glad I had a night alone, because it allowed me the independence to know what it would feel like to live in London. And it felt great. I do truly want to return.
 So while we were buying our second round, Chris was at the table, and the homeless guy struck. We went back to try to rescue her, but she continued to talk to him. So we continued to drink. Although, we had to do a bank/apartment run, and while we were out, Angela completely summed up the appearance and demeanor of the guy: a Weasley twin. I cried laughing down Greek Street. And I baptized him as Freorge.
-Three passages from the 8/25/11 entry in my London journal.