Greenwich Travel Blog› entry 54 of 129 › view all entries
On Sunday morning, we went to Greenwich. I had a late lunchtime train to catch, so we were very short of time, so once we got off the train, and after a brief walk along the river, I dragged Iain straight up to the Royal Observatory. This is because he is a real traveller, turning up in all sorts of places. He just doesn’t like blogging. We went along the river past the ruins of the Cutty Sark. The Cutty Sark was one of the last remaining Tea Clippers, beautiful ships which raced each other across the world to deliver tea and other high value goods to far off lands, with three masts of tall sails. Someone burned the Cutty Sark down a couple of years ago, and they are working to restore her, but I still feel a huge pang that what they rebuild will be a clever fake – the real ship has gone.
The Royal Observatory is at the top of a hill, above the National Maritime Museum. This is the fourth time that I have not been to the National Maritime Museum, and at some point I will have to prioritise it better, but late lunchtime trains are expensive things to miss. And we really did want to go to the Royal Observatory, and step between the two hemispheres for a while. The fact that you can do this the whole way up the meridian, which must pass through East Anglia, Kent and half of Eastern Scotland, doesn’t matter – at Greenwich, there is a metal bar in the floor to tell you that you’ve done it. There is also a gorgeous garden full of trees and flowers (Iain tells me I am wet for noticing this sort of thing.
I’ve reviewed the museum below. Admission is free, and there is a great display about time, and how measuring it allowed better trading. There is also a Christopher Wren interior (he was better known for building St Paul’s Cathedral, and several of the prettiest churches in London); apparently that’s quite rare. There are displays about the first Astronomer Royal and his wife, and several cool sundials. There is one shaped like a dolphin, for example, and some cool spheres. We didn’t quite have time to explore the astronomy section properly, but as entrance was free that was fine.
After that, we bought some sausage buns and sat on the ground bickering cheerfully and looking at the view.
We crossed the Thames through the Thames foot tunnel to the Isle of Dogs. This tunnel is very old; the lifts date from about 1904. It is a strange experience to walk under the Thames in a round tunnel like a rabbit burrow, and as it’s free, I think you should all do it. We got back to the hotel just in time to gather my stuff and head off to Paddington to get my train to Cardiff.