view of the Thames, old Naval College
It's summer, which pretty much means another trip to Europe! I stopped in London
for a few days to see some friends -- and not do any research for a change!
London was great -- I stayed with a friend in London who went on the road trip to Ypres and the trip to Oslo in '06 with me. We had no set plans, only to go around London and take pictures from places where one of our favorite shows is filmed (MI-5 in the US, Spooks in the UK). It was a random yet fun way to go around the city. We went to Freemason's Hall (which is used as Thames House in the show), but then we went to the real Thames House -- which has real security pods to enter the building!! Sadly, we didn't see any real spies enter the building.
gate to Trinity College of Music (old Naval College)
We also walked around University College London, Borough Market (a more modern version of Central Market in Lancaster), and Coventry Gardens (who doesn't love a good tea shop?). My friend also has a friend that works for a Welsh MP, so he took us around Parliament. Although we didn't get to see either House in session (although that seems rather boring), we did get to have a quick drink in one of the Labour pubs inside Parliament. Apparently we passed a few MPs along the way, since we were in areas not usually shown on public tours, but I have no clue who we saw. No one terribly important, I think.
Then we went down to Greenwich
, which was really pretty.
old Naval College
The old Naval College is there (which is now the Trinity College of Music). The Queen's House holds maritime artwork and one of the buildings is the Maritime Museum. Both museums are free, although we only walked around the Queen's House. The Maritime Museum appears quite kid-friendly and interactive. As we walked up to the Queen's House I commented how it looked a bit like the house in the recent version of Sense and Sensability..... and inside was a sign listing some of the recent productions filmed on the property -- and I was right! All those Sunday nights watching the Complete Jane Austen on Masterpiece Theater have clearly paid off. Behind the grounds of the Queen's House is a huge hill and the Royal Observatory. We walked up the enormous hill to the Royal Observatory where we stood on both sides of the Greenwich Mean Time line. It's amazing to see how many people go take pictures of themselves standing on a line. We of course did the same. We walked around the observatory (which is also free) and saw lots of old atronomical tools. We then took the ferry back to the center of London (Embankment Pier). The ferry takes about as long as the tube/DLR, but it is well worth it for the great views of the city and some of the famous sights -- the Tower of London, the Tower Bridge, and HMS Belfast.