Tuesday, June 28, 2011

june 11

Previously: May 31, June 1, June 2, June 3, June 4, June 5, June 6, June 7, June 8, June 9, June 10

This was may last day in London, so what did I decide to do? Leave the center of it. Kind of. I went to Greenwich, via the Thames. It's an hour each way (obvs) from Westminster Pier. Aside from the Prime Meridian and Greenwich Market, I didn't really know much about Greenwich, so this was another of those "let's see what happens" days.

I started by going to the National Maritime Museum. Not bad. Not great.

I then walked - nay - HIKED up to the Royal Observatory. Oh boy, that's steep. Ever heard of switchbacks? Dayum. At the top I was a little hesitant about going into the actual observatory so I was speaking to the cashier and asking her what my money actually got me. Here's a snippet of the conversation:

Me: So this is the only place to "see" the Prime Meridian, right?
Cashier: To see the marker, yes. Though you know it's an invisible line that runs the length of the Earth, right?
<connecting eyes and laughing>
Me: Of course, yes.
Cashier: You have no idea how many people don't...

Once inside I learned - well, saw - a bunch about astronomy, but I was most interested in standing with a foot in each hemisphere. My camera is still dead at this point, so I've drawn you a representation of the moment:

The views looking over Greenwich and the Thames were also nice, if not marred a bit by all of the construction. The Cutty Sark is being renovated and they're building the equestrian site for the 2012 Olympics there. 

I then walked down to Greenwich Market. I had such high hopes. I came on a Saturday because that's the "crafts" day at the market and I thought I could finally happen upon some really unique stuff to take home. Nope. Still a bunch of crap I could get back here. I have never been so continually frustrated while shopping.

From there is was off to the Old Royal Naval College. As the name implies it used to be the Royal Naval College. The buildings have now been re-purposed, though some have been preserved. For example, the Painted Hall, which you may recognize from Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides as St. James' Palace where Jack is introduced to King George II. One of the buildings is now Trinity Music College, and you could hear students practicing inside and out on the lawn. Added a nice touch, especially when I decided to sit and read on a bench along the Thames.

Once done reading I had about 45minutes to kill before the next boat left for Westminster Pier, so I decided to walk under the Thames. It would be awesome if I could hold my breath that long, but I'm pretty sure I would get a disease from that water. There's a pedestrian tunnel that goes underneath. So I walked over, took a quick look around, and walked back. Now I can say I did it.

That night, after a sushi dinner, I turned on the television to see a replaying of the Queen's official birthday parade that happened earlier in the day. Part of me was glad that I didn't know about it ahead of time because I may have gone. I mean, how often do you have that opportunity? I suppose if you live in London, once a year... but not for me. Plus, Harry could have seen me and fallen in love and then I could be a princess. It's possible, right? But in reality, if you know me, you know I despise crowds and I would have probably been miserable standing there for hours pressed up against thousands of people, to just get a small glimpse of royalty. A day to be held in stark contrast to my relaxing day in Greenwich. Nonetheless, it was cool to watch on TV.

Up next: The NeverEnding Story Train-Ride and Amsterdam

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