One of the last activities scheduled for us in the UK was a day trip to Greenwich. I say day trip because it was a bit of a hike out there. There was nothing planned for us but to go there. So that morning we all left Chapter for the Tube station and made our way to Embankment. At Embankment we proceeded to the river bus station where we found our route and the cost.
Dr. Scott and I left the group to go top up our Oyster cards since we were going to be a bit short on the journey. We walked back over to the Tube station and proceeded to reload our cards with £5. Turns out that they don’t take the contact-less payment, so I had to use a different card, but oh well. There was a guy there that offered to sell me his bank card for £1.000… I think he was on something.
Back at the ferry pier we were right on time to make it on our boat, so we boarded and were underway. I had skipped breakfast so the on-board menu looked very attractive, until I actually went to order and realized it was kind of a rip off. So I just sat happily and chatted with John and Carolyn. We went one dock west then turned around and proceeded east until disembarking in Greenwich.
I was glad to be off as I was starting to feel a bit nauseous, and we walked up the pier to the visitors center. Here the ladies tried on some prop coats and it turned out that two of the coats were worn by sailors as punishment way back when. Their yellow color denoted them as being punished, while the other two ladies wore a stylish blue. After a quick restroom break we purchased tickets for the Royal Observatory and made our way towards the hill.
On the way to the observatory we walked through the National Maritime Museum. There were some interesting exhibits about maritime battle during the world wars and some even talked about the first successful skin grafts as burn treatments. There were some old ship’s figureheads on display as well and I found those to be quite intriguing. After walking through some of the exhibits we exited the rear of the building and proceeded to climb the hill.
At the top of the hill we toured the Royal Observatory and saw some pretty cool things. The most notable attraction was taking our pictures with the Prime Meridian. Fun fact, there is no such thing as an Eastern and Western hemisphere. While the Northern and Southern hemispheres are real, the East and West hemispheres are arbitrarily defined by man and have no real geographical significance. After picture taking we toured the buildings and saw how time was defined throughout many different periods in English history. Finally we saw the telescopes that were still there, one of which was still up in the dome and we saw the meridians defined by those telescopes. Did you know that the first three royal astronomers at the Greenwich Observatory actually moved the Prime Meridian until it now stands where it is today?
Proceeding back down the hill we wanted to find the Greenwich Market. I got side tracked by a Nautical store where I bought a set of bamboo socks. They look comfy and I can’t wait to try them on. I then caught up with the group and perused the market. There were some good smells coming from around though and we were all getting hungry by this point. So we decided to venture out and find a well rated restaurant known as The Golden Chippy.
Once we found The Golden Chippy we ordered, they are known for their fish and chips. I ordered a Large Haddock with a regular side of chips, a gherkin, and some fried mushrooms. Others also ordered fish and chips, except Tanner who ordered a plain cheese burger. Once all the food came we were all happy to dig in and praise our food, except Tanner who lamented about his choice not to order fish.
After eating a very delicious meal we ventured over to the Greenwich DLR station to await our mass transit back to central London. We had a bit of a hullabaloo over the Oyster cards as there were no gates and the card reader was actually below the platforms. So that caused us to miss a train and while waiting for the next one I commented on what DLR stood for. I was hoping it stood for driver-less but was confronted about the fact that the R was in the wrong place for that. It actually stands for Dockland Light Rail. Later, after musing over it for awhile I decided it could’ve stood for Driver-less Rail. I’m pretty sure that it was fully automated though.
During our rail journey we all had our tickets validated (good thing we went back to scan in). One lady on the train did not have a valid travel authority and was forced to detrain at the next stop. At Monument Station we transferred to the Northern line and were eventually deposited back at King’s Cross Station. We all then went our separate ways. Later that evening I ventured out for another burger at Honest Burger but other than that I had a pretty quiet night.
Martin “Mixy” McNichols
Until we meet again