Our last port of call – Greenwich, England came with with the sad realization that soon bags would be placed outside the cabin and the disembarking would commence, but what excited us was that we would soon be touring London a favorite city of ours.
But what about Greenwich? – we really had no expectations just knew that Greenwich mean time was the global standard for time around the world and soon we would see the history of that. Greenwich did not disappoint – it was perfect walk and offered wonder city views and sprinkled history, technology and art which appealed to all our senses.
Let’s start with the sail-in into the mouth of the Thames River which was around 8PM under some rainy weather – passing the numerous wind turbines and the historic Maunsell sea forts which are structures on stilts which protected the mouth of the Thames during world war II.
We arrive around midnight to the dock in Greenwich and we prepared some of the packing and rested ourselves for the morning. We had scheduled a walking tour of Greenwich which would hopefully get us acquainted with the area and areas of interest. The ship docks in the Thames River and it is a brief 400 yard tender ride to the dock and Greenwich pier. The tour was a perfect walk around seeing the more important buildings such as Cutty Sark ship monument, Royal Naval college, the Queen’s house, National Maritime Museum and the gardens to the Royal Observatory which sat on top of a hill overlooking the city.
Simply beautiful architecture of the buildings, green walkways and statues.
The art in the open area were various globes painted with various art works by groups on display – some were stunning.
When the tour was over, we walked the hill to the Royal Observatory which was a highlight of the area.
The entry fee to the observatory was worth the cost as we learned about time keeping, the tools that was used to establish the Prime Meriden, the tools that were used, the worlds most earliest clocks, how the standards of navigation was based upon the studies conducted at the observatory. Meanwhile the view of the city of Greenwich a suburb of London was fantastic.
I did prove on my GPS watch what I heard as a fact – that the observatory is some 400 feet from the actual modern prime meridian.
The walk up the hill was invigorating – almost anyone can make it taking it slow – but it is a rise of some 150 feet. I like watches, and the observatory museum is very enlightening and educational with original time clocks, history and importance of time to navigation, how and why it was important – it all started from one of the original Magellan voyages around the world where one very dedicated Scribner kept careful diary of each day of the voyage and when he arrived back in Spain all the people were saying it was Saturday and he was adamant that it was Friday from his meticulous notes. Then realized while sailing, that the world rotation relative to the sun means they lost a day, the need of a date line was established. Then, cartographers and sailors who needed to establish their earth’s position for navigation could calculate it by measuring the angle of the sun at noon time. (Latitude was a nighttime measurement to the north star) But that has an important step – when is exactly noon time and where should the sun be for my location? thus the importance of a reliable and accurate clocks was needed. Then the establishment of a standard to set time as the basis for everything was decided upon being Greenwich being on the meridian and the Greenwich mean time.
A walk down the hill to the Maritime museum was another great take-in. It was free, but we paid a small admission fee to an exhibit called the International Astrophotography Photographs of the year awards. What luck to be here for that! Award winning photographs were on display in a private area and we enjoyed the exhibit almost alone – what cool stuff we viewed.
the Museum had very nice exhibits and we viewed a few:
but the crowd of children on school holiday were around, so being hungry, we ventured out but not until Gina pointed out this sign:
(this is so us, I’m the racoon)
We ended our Greenwich walk with a bite to eat (Had a meat pie at a local pub with a beer!)
and a walk around the Greenwich marketplace which had an assortment of local crafts and art jewelries resembling a flea market you can find around the world – but it was a very nice stroll around.
We headed back to our cabin to complete our packing, have time for dinner and placing our suitcases outside the cabin (before 9 pm) and get ready to disembark the following morning at 8 am. Tomorrow its a small bus ride to our hotel in London!