Jul 13, 2006

Thames & Greenwich

On Saturday the 1st, I hopped back on a coach and headed into London for another school trip. Well, ran is more the proper phrase.

Stephen and I were a little late that morning, and basically ran up the hill to make it to the Science car park before they left us. The good news is that they were waiting for more than just us, so we didn't feel so bad... and apparently they were quite impressed with my ability to run in flip flops. I was called dainty. Yeah, right.

Anyway, this trip was a short cruise down the River Thames from the Waterloo Bridge to Greenwich Village. We then had a couple hours to eat and wander around in Greenwich before we needed to hop back on the ferry that would take us back down the river.

And here come the photos folks...

Along the Thames they have these beautiful lights, that like everything else, are rather ornate. See example A above to your right.

Or exhibit B to your left. In the background is the famous London Eye that I am basically obsessed with. Expect more pictures of it, or from it... I will pay the £13 for a 45 minute ride around it. The guy on our cruise told us he heard that on a clear day you could see all the way to Australia, but he didn't believe it because there's never a clear day in London. Funny isn't it?

I took quite a few pictures, but most of them ended up being on Stephen's camera because I forgot the spare battery for my Canon, and about half way down the river my battery died. I nursed the battery on the Sony for as long as I could, but it still ended up dead after a while as well. I know, I went to London with two cameras and two dead batteries... I wasn't prepared at all. Who am I?

Ok, it's the last picture of the Eye, I promise. Well, for this post anyway. After that, all bets are off. I AM going to be in London for the next three days.

And now onto random buildings... and I do mean random.

Here we have a large red brick building that was the main tea warehouse along the Thames, and apparently one of the most important wharfs as well. Our "guide" said that word wharf was actually an acronym for warehouse along the river front, but this is the Australian joke guy, so I'm not sure I believe him. I was waiting for him to say that he had a tower bridge in London to sell us. Anyway, this building has since been converted into expensive condominiums, like everything else along the river. And like the rest of them, most of these are empty.

Ready... Set... Take Pictures! Not Funny? Didn't think so.

I honestly only took this next picture because it said Kandinsky and I thought Suz would appreciate it, but when you shrink it, you can't really read much. It's there, to the right of the chimney looking thing, I swear. I know, I'm so politically correct when it come to modernism, and architecture. But seriously, click on the image and see if you can read it.

Anyway, it's the Tate Modern.

And the Millennium Bridge.

The Tate Modern and the Millennium Bridge. Funny story about the Bridge: It cost £18.2 m, opened in June, two months late, and it wobbled so badly that it was closed 2 days later for modification. It's open again, but apparently it still has a distinct sway that most pedestrians feel, so it's been nicknamed the Wobbly Bridge.

That white round building is a replica of the Globe Theatre that opened in 1997. It's home to every Shakespearean play imaginable during the summer, and to stand and watch it's only 6 quid. I'll find out this weekend if it's worth it.

Here's the random part. I have no idea what this building is, I just liked the curves, like a sphere was dropped in the middle. That, and it says EAT above the door. You might have click again to see what I'm talking about, but it's there.

Now I know it's a crap picture, but the bridge is up... which apparently is rare. Our guide almost freaked out, and practically demanded that we get our cameras out to take at least one picture. As if we didn't have them out already.

This is City Hall, and I guess the cost to build it was about as ridiculous as it looks. It's not the best angle, but I liked the sign in the water. The Thames is a mud bottom river, and they say that if you were to fill up a glass and let it sit over night, it would separate into dirt and clean drinking water. It'll kill you, but it's clean enough to drink.

The Tower of London... this used to be where they executed people, but now it's where they keep the Crown jewels. I plan on getting closer.

Now I have a ton of pictures of the Tower Bridge, and I'm only going to subject you to three. We're going to try this whole look left, look right thing again. Ready?

To your left...

To your right...

And more of an overall...

I know it's not the whole thing, but it's the best I've got without people's heads in the way. I'm short, remember?

About 20 minutes after passing the Tower Bridge and finally sitting down, we reached Greenwich Village. It took us a while to find a place to eat, and lunch was an interesting experience. Note to anyone who considers ordering Chicken Kiev in England... DON'T. Unless you're a huge fan of enough melted butter to flood your entire plate, then you're covered.

We also wandered through the Greenwich Market on our way to eat, with lots of stuff that I don't need but wanted to buy. Thankfully Stephen had no desire to shop, and I spared both him and my pocket book the pain.

After lunch, we decided to go to the only place where we thought there might be something to do... Greenwich Park, home of the Royal Observatory. Did you hear the snobbish British accent when I said Royal Observatory? Good.

The Royal Observatory is home to the Prime Meridian, and they have an entire tourist attraction built around the ability to stand in both the Eastern and Western hemispheres at once. This of course is exactly what I did.

I even paid to print out the certificate to prove it... but I have to write in my own name. Lame.

Another view of the Observatory. This portion of the building was off to my right hand side in the previous shot.

Oh look, the "actual" prime meridian. I honestly think this is just all for show, but it works for them I suppose.

We left the Observatory after a while and took a stroll through the park. There were quite a few football games going on, and by that I mean soccer. We saw the back side of the Queen's House, but I'm not really sure if it's one of many, or how long ago it was actually the house of anyone. It didn't look all that special by royal standards, but who knows.

This is about my favorite part of the Queen's House grounds... it's a sundial, and oh look, dolphins. I can hear my little sister already.

And this is the back side of the house. It's pretty bad when I don't find this impressive.

On the way back to catch our boat, we saw the Cutty Sark, one of the last few remaining classic clipper ships. It was pretty cool, but it pales in comparison to a tall ship.

Here's the stern of the ship. I'm not sure you can make it out on this shot, but the emblem says "Where theres a will is a way."

This of course is the bow of the ship. I really wish the sails had been unfurled, but we can't have everything now can we.

We took our return boat cruise down the Thames and got a better perspective of the House of Parliament and Big Ben, before docking and getting back on our coach. The England v. Portugal match was blaring over the speakers, and we listened all the way home. Unfortunately, they couldn't broadcast the penalty kicks for contractual reasons, so we didn't hear that England had lost until it was all over.

Jess nearly died...

And now, it's paper time. Yes, I do actually do work.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Stef. I am quite enjoying your diary and pictures. You certainly provide more of a normal view of England than the visitor's guides or TV documentary. It sounds like you are having a wonderful time. Take care. Love you. Grandma Betty