Straddling Time and Space: Greenwich and the Thames

One not-so-fine day, we made our way (via Tube and DLR) to Greenwich. Known for being {are you ready?} the beginning of time-where Greenwich Mean Time is located-it’s also a lovely little suburb of London and worth a look-around.

When you get off at the Greenwich Stop, make your way east towards the Royal Observatory-where it all begins.

National Maritime Museum in Greenwich

The Royal Observatory sits at the top of a gently sloping hill in the middle of Greenwich Park. There’s a small complex of buildings that include the Royal Observatory, a Planetarium, some historic buildings and the actual line delineating GMT.

In case you weren’t sure-here are the official measurements.

In the Royal Observatory Gardens

Telescope Dome

It was foggy and wet out. I loved the way this dew looked like crystals resting on the leaves.

The Altazimuth Pavilion and new Planetarium in the background

Astronomy Centre

We wandered throughout the courtyards and admired the lovely buildings and exhibitions. Then it was time to conquer time and space.

Mom exists on both the Eastern and Western Hemisphere!!! At the same time!!!

The line represents the earths Prime Meridian or Longitude 0˚, ie every place on earth is measured at east or west of this line. It also represents GMT which is, and I quote, “the centre of world time”, ie our time is either + or – a certain amount of hours from GMT. California is -8 GMT because we are 8 hours behind them.

Are your minds blown??!

Chelsea in Eastern Hemisphere-Eric in Western Hemisphere. A world apart holding hands.

Ok, maybe your minds aren’t blown. But I think it’s really neat!

After exploring the boundaries of time and space, we wandered back down to the water in search of the pier where we would begin our Thames River Cruise. After a slight kerfuffle of getting lost, involving the construction crew of the Cutty Sark, an underwater tunnel beneath the Thames, and a 2nd ride on the DLR, we finally made it to the pier in question.

Here are some of the things we saw on our circuitous trek.

Crest on the Gate of the Maritime Museum

I have absolutely no idea what this was about.

Union Jack Wheel in the Tube Station

Finally, finally we made it onto our boat and began our river tour. My Mom is a big fan of seeing cities from the water so we always try to take a river tour where we visit. Despite the cold, we braved the outdoor deck and took in the town par l’eau. Luckily, the crew took it upon themselves to give us hilarious commentary all along the way.

Tower Bridge from our Boat

Brrrr……

The Customs House on the River Thames, where our guide told us that they test each import of alcohol coming into England

The very pretty City of London School Building

The London Eye-where our guide told us that the missing pod had fallen into the Thames (I believed him!)

Big Ben and Parliament

These photos might make it look a bit grey and dismal, but we actually had a wonderful time on the River Cruise. The guides were hilarious and at the beginning of the tour {closer to Greenwich} we saw a lot of interesting parts of London we would have never normally seen.

We got off near Big Ben and Parliament and wandered towards the National Portrait Gallery, where we had a brief visit before they closed.

Big Ben

Royal Crest

Statue of Prince Albert and Queen Victoria at the National Portrait Gallery

After a very full day of sightseeing, we dined that night at the Lamb-a traditional old pub on Lamb’s Conduit Street. They had something called Snob Screens at the bar from the 1890’s. These are glass screens that allow you privacy at the bar, sort of creating a little kiosk for you at the bar, but allowing you to speak with the bar staff. They advertise that there’s not music, no TV, just lively conversation. This was echoed by the fact that we ended sitting next to a local poetry group which provided a bit of in house entertainment for us. A full lovely London day.

<3 Chelsea

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