Sunday, October 10, 2010

Greenwich cruise

On Friday we were supposed to experience a mini Indian summer so I decided to take a trip to Greenwich and take a look at the Harrison clocks and the Prime Meridian (0 degrees longitude).
It was a foggy start to the day and when I arrived at Waterloo station the gloomy sky was still apparent.
The London Eye must have had poor views from the top but it was still busy.


I bought a ticket (£6.25 return) for a 60 minute cruise on a boat down to Greenwich which stopped at the Tower of London on the way.
We set off with the grey skies persisting so rather than take photos I listened to the commentary given by one of the crew. The hour long guided tour was humorous at times. As we passed under London Bridge we were told that it was the fourth to be there. The previous bridge that had been sinking in the mud was sold to an American for one million pounds. It was taken apart and shipped over to Arizona back in 1970. Our guide reckoned that after we had this current bridge for fifty years, we would sell it to the Aussies. A bit further downstream the sunshine began to appear and we passed a glass building and were advised that this was the HQ of the British Window Cleaners training centre. Here it is :-

Later we came to the Prospect of Whitby pub that is a well known meeting place for artists. Our guide had been there only last week and had met Vincent Van Gogh and offered to buy him a pint. Vincent declined as he “already had one ‘ere”.
The guide told us that his dog had recently passed on and that he was going to buy a pair of goldfish. He was going to name them ‘One’ and ‘Two’, so that if ‘One’ died he would still have ‘Two’ left.
At Greenwich I walked up towards the observatory. I passed the Queens Building on the way.

Looking up the hill.

At the observatory I spent some time in one of the museums looking at the Harrison clocks. These were the first really accurate timepieces capable of surviving long sea journeys back in the 1700’s. It was possible to determine longitude using one of these chronometers.
I also took a good look at the Prime Meridian and like thousands of others before me, straddled the line with one foot in the East and one in the West.

Me in reflection.

I could see that it was a long way around the globe to Sydney.

At five minutes to one I saw the signal ball being raised.

At exactly one o’clock the ball fell to provide a time signal for all those mariners who wanted to set their chronometers to 12.00 GMT

I had an ‘al fresco’ lunch and then wandered around the various observatory buildings that offered an impressive view over part of London with the Naval College at the bottom of the hill.







I strolled down the hill in the warm autumnal sunshine.
At the bottom of the hill I firstly visited the very impressive National Maritime Museum.
Inside the museum


Having spent 90 minutes here I walked over to the Naval College.

Much of the college was fenced off and had been taken over by a mass of tents and vehicles. This was for the filming of the latest “Pirates of the Caribbean” production with Johnny Depp playing Captain Sparrow. The horses and coaches that had been used in the film were in abundance. I took a few pictures of the large sets.


It would seem that part of the college is used by musical students and I could hear many of them practising on their instruments as well as some singers working out their voices.
Having spent a very pleasant few hours in Greenwich I had got the impression that you really need to spend a week there to fully appreciate all that was available to be seen (mainly with no entrance fees). However I decided to catch the ferry back to the London Eye.
It was sunny for the entire cruise back to Westminster and I was able to take a few photos.
Canary Wharf

Tower Bridge

London Mayor's office

The wibbly wobbly bridge that now obscurs the only good view from the river of St Paul's Cathedral

Bricks can look good

Cleopatra's needle

London Eye and County Hall

I actually got off the boat at Westminster Bridge by the Houses of Parliament and walked over the bridge to County Hall. From there it was only a short walk back to Waterloo station where I was able to join the rush hour travellers and stand up for my entire rail journey home.

Some strange people in London


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