Friday, November 16, 2012

Greenwich- the middle of the world (kind of)!

Well, on November 11th, Remembrance Day over here, Veteran's Day in American, instead of waking up early and spending hours standing with hundreds and hundreds of people to catch a glimpse of the Queen, and try and see the rows of Vets marching down the road, I decided to sleep in a little, and then go out to Greenwich for the day!  It's very easy to get to, and I can use my Oyster Card since it's in Zone 2 of the London public transportation system!  

So about 40ish minutes from Central London (it's still technically London, a district in a Royal Borough), is where you can find Cutty Sark, The Prime Meridian and the Maritime Museum, among other attractions that I did not see.

First I did Cutty Sark since it would take the least amount of time and was the closest to the DLR station.

Cutty Sark is pretty cool.  It's an old tea clipper, one of the last surviving ones, from the mid 1800s.  It was just reopened in April 2012 after about 6 years of conservation work- as well as repair work caused by a fire in 2007.

 It traveled all around the globe, to China, to Australia, and everywhere in between for various trades- tea and wool mainly.  She's pretty much been in dry dock sine the 1950s and a museum almost as long.

The Maritime Museum was also pretty cool- basically the history of water travel in Europe- but mainly focusing on Britain, obviously, although the vikings and older exhibit was closed for renovations and some new exhibit.  One of the highlights we seeing Admiral Nelson's uniform that he was shot , and died, in.  You can see the bullet hole in it, although the bloody waistcoat is covered by the coat.  Another really cool exhibit was the Ansel Adams photography exhibit, which I very much enjoyed, having spent a good chunk of my childhood on family trips around the Western United States. Gorgeous photography, and I'm pretty sure I bought out the  exhibition gift shop....

 Next stop was the Royal Observatory, up on a hill, that made me wish I'd been working out these last few months...  It's actually a very small place, King Charles II did not want to spend a lot of money on it..
Here is where the Prime Meridian is!  This is the line of longitude that has been used as a reference point for the past 150 years or so.  Basically 0 degrees longitude marks the middle of the world, on a map, when looking at one in terms of latitude and longitude. (the middle of the map vertically, not horizontally)

There are some pretty cool views of London from a lookout point, but the main thing people come to see here is the Prime Meridian.


These 3 pictures above show the telescopes that keep the Prime Meridian where it is, they keep it from changing.  It's 2 telescopes- one on either side of the room, with enormous an mechanism in the middle.  I have no idea how any of it works, but it looks pretty cool.




Walking back to the DLR station, I saw this gem of a car- I wish I had gotten a video because it was playing some pretty spectacular music.  I believe all of these decorations are stickers, and whoever this car belonged to, was selling Christmas Cards.

I loved Greenwich and would definitely visit again, and I recommend it to everyone who is going to, or wants to, visit London!

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