Tuesday, April 11, 2017

London Vacacay, Outing 1: Thames, Royal Observatory, "Big Ben"

This year's spring vacacay consisted of an opportunistic trip to London. Tanya's company had a gathering in England, and I came over as that gathering ended. We spent a total of eight days tootling around London, specifically. The next few blog posts will be a faithful account of what happened over those glorious eight days. Enjoy!

The first outing started off with a trip up and down the Thames. Spoiler alert: it was chilly! Luckily, we were well-prepared.

HMS Belfast, not as cool as me!
The riverboat cruises always have "guides" of a sort, telling you miscellaneous and humorous trivia regarding things as you float by them. For example, we floated by the area where the movie "Oliver" was shot. It was actually very near the area where the novel was set.

We debarked at Greenwich, and made our way toward the Royal Observatory. It sits atop a hill beyond the Old Royal Naval College and the Maritime Museum, neither of which we spent very much time in. We wanted to see the place where so much great science was undertaken.

To the top of the hill!

That climb was longer than it looked.
We were slightly underwhelmed. The Royal Observatory is actually quite small, and the crowd was quite large, making it difficult to navigate or linger in any particular place. It took slightly less than FOREVER to get the following picture of the Prime Meridian.

Dallas at 96 degrees, 48 minutes West longitude! 
Luncheon was at a little pub in Greenwich, where I had an excellent Japanese beer. Who'd have thought my first beer in England would be from Japan?

First (but not the last) beer consumed.
We rounded off the day with a visit to Westminster, beginning with the Houses of Parliament (or, the Palace of Westminster to be more precise). I learned that Big Ben is actually the name of the bell in the clock tower, not the tower itself. The tower is the actually the Elizabeth Tower.

Cool clock, tower, and building!
We tried to go to Buckingham Palace as well, and did manage to get a look at it from the perimeter, but quite a lot of the area was cordoned off. Three guesses as to what it was blocked for:

A) The Queen decreed it, for no apparent reason.
B) Donald Tusk and his entourage were visiting.
C) A bunch of guys dressed in 1920s garb were riding bikes with ladders attached to them as part of filming some unknown video.

If you guessed C, you were right -- maybe you can tell me what the production was.

We ended the first outing at Wellington Arch. It was picture-worthy.

An arch to end the day!
Making our way back to the apartment we were staying at, and the step count was over 22,000. I would call that an eventful day! Stay tuned for day 2!

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