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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Stand in two hemispheres at once - check!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Today we went on an excursion to where time began! Well…not really where it began…but it’s where the Prime Meridian is, from which all time zones in the Western world are determined. We began by looking out across the Thames. We could see the Old Royal Naval College and the Old Royal Observatory up on the hill. The Old Royal Naval College is interestingly set up – it was once a palace for Henry VII, Henry VIII, Mary I, and Elizabeth I (wow) and later Charles II who rebuilt it in a two dome, two structure format because Henrietta Maria wanted to be able to see the Thames from her house behind it – talk about high maintenance! So there’s like this little window between all the buildings for the house.

We continued by taking a stroll underneath the Thames – yes, UNDER it – via the Greenwich Foot Tunnel. It was weird, thinking about the Thames above us. The ground of the tunnel was a bit wet, which made me rather nervous…but we lived so it’s all okay. When we came out of the tunnel we were supposed to see the Cutty Sark (which I was really excited about) but it was under conservation work – sad day!

We then went to the Royal Naval College to see the chapel and the painted hall. Both were amazing. The painted hall was entirely covered in paintings – the ceiling and every single wall was painted. It took something like 16 years to complete. The chapel was so intricately decorated. It was my favorite of the two.

We next went to the top of the hill to the Old Royal Observatory and there stood in two hemispheres at once! Check that off my lifetime to-do list! It was pretty epic. And we stayed to watch the ball on top of one of the turrets drop – it drops everyday at 1:00 PM and has since 1833 to give ships on the Thames a visual sign of the time. I planned on filming it drop, but it dropped so quickly that I actually missed it ha ha…but the video I got is hilarious.

We went to the Queen’s House and explored the halls – it had gorgeous artwork of ships and seas. We reenacted a scene from The Sound of Music on the steps – it was rather terrible, but amazingly funny. The video will eventually be on Facebook. We went into the National Maritime Museum and explored around there for a while as well.

To get home, we opted to take an awesome Thames cruise and we got to go under all the bridges and get some really awesome pictures, ending at Westminster and Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. It was so cool. I did get soaked down the back of my legs at one point, so now I can say that I’ve been in the Thames I guess, so that’s something. The boat ride was probably the highlight of the day.

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