September 10, 2008

I try the white beans for breakfast. They are not good, but not as disgusting as I expected. With a bit of effort I eat them. We leave for Westminster and walk from there to Westminster Pier, where we take a boat trip on the river Thames to Greenwich. The 2 man crew give us a running commentary about episodes, events, buildings, where, for example, people were sentenced to death by being chained to the bed of the Thames at low tide, then drowning when the flood came. Nice. There are many docks and pubs to talk about, but there were so many that I do not remember them. The trip to Greenwich takes one hour.

Greenwich is much more than just the Royal Observatory. It is a nice, small town on the edge of a big city. To get to the Royal Observatory it is a tough uphill walk through a park. As a reward we get a good view downhill towards the Maritime museum. We cross the Prime Meridian, marked on the ground in the observatory courtyard and into an interesting museum showing, amongst other exhibits, the effort of Harrison to make a clock that keeps accurate time on a ship at sea. One needs to know the exact time to calculate longitude. (Latitude was already known). It is not an easy task with a mechanical clock on a rolling boat. Below the observatory is the Maritime museum. It is a great museum, it is difficult to keep track of all impressions today. The museum includes Lord Nelson's military jacket which he was dressed in when he got his final bullet during the battle at Trafalgar. The hole from the bullet is in the shoulder, it must have gone in at an angle in order to make a deadly wound.

We return to London by train to Bank station, from there we take the subway to Waterloo for a walk along the River Thames to London Bridge. First we pass the London Eye, we refrain again from a ride. Tate Modern gallery is a large cubic building with a tall chimney, the building was previously a power plant. On the chimney is nest with a pair of peregrine falcons, Misty and Bert. Ornithologists offer us their telescopes for a closer look. I can see one of them sitting in the nest with its back to the audience. It is probably tired of the attention. We feel like a beer and continue past Shakespeare's reconstructed Globe Theater, shortly after is a pub, 'The Anchor'. We have a beer there. Maybe Shakespeare had a beer here as well.

At London Bridge station, we buy pies and bring them with us to the hotel. The staff at the hotel are friendly and warm them up for us. I buy a Tetleys to drink together with the pie.

Greenwich Mean Time
National Maritime museum

Tower bridge

Prime Meridian


The observatory