Friday, January 30, 2009


Greenwich was a great little day trip from London. It had great history and beautiful architecture. Not only is Greenwich known for having the standard time which all time is calculated throughout the world, but it is also the maritime capital of England.Before we even saw what Greenwich had to offer we had read in our good old guide books that there was a great view off the area across the Thames river. So we entered the tunnel which took us under the river to a lovely park on the other side.

We were definitely not disappointed by the view.
After crossing back under the river, our first stop was the Old Royal Naval College. Interestingly, the college was built in two halves so that the Queen's House (which is right behind it) would keep its river view.

The only two places open to the public at the College are the Painted Hall and the Chapel. The Pained Hall was amazing and it made us feel like we were in a Harry Potter movie.
We are ready for some food!

This was the Chapel. It was also beautiful but we liked the Painted Hall more.
For lunch we stopped at the famous Trafalgar Tavern for some fat chips (french fries) with malt vinegar. Why is the Trafalgar Tavern so famous you may ask. Well, first of all it was Charles Dickens's favorite place to have a drink and second of all...
Good old Admiral Nelson.

The place is pretty much dedicated to him and has pictures all over the wall of him and his wife and his last battle of Trafalgar. This is Sean toasting his water to Admiral Nelson and the great food at Trafalgar Tavern.

From the tavern there was a great view of the Millennium Dome. This hideous building was constructed for the "world's fair" and ushering in the millennium. It is probably the governments biggest building project mistake ever. Londoner's all hate it and no one knows what to do with it now. It has been used as a homeless shelter and currently hosts sporting events. Hopefully this building will see some more action for the 2012 Olympics.
After lunch we went up the block to the Queen's House. The Queen does not really live there any more but it was originally built in 1616 for James I's wife, Anne of Denmark who died before it was complete. Now it serves as an art gallery for the National Maritime Museum. The highlight is the shrine like room dedicated to Admiral Nelson that has a picture of the battle of Trafalgar in it that is so big that they had to open a wall to get it in.
The National Maritime Museum is right beside the Queen's House. The highlights here are original documents from the titanic as well as Admiral Nelson's uniform that he wore when he was killed (complete with blood stains and all).
Next it was up the hill to the Old Royal Observatory. It is located right at the prime meridian and it is where longitude was invented and all time is measured. At 1:00 every day the orange ball in the middle drops so that the sailors on the Thames can all set their clocks to Greenwich standard time.

This is the marker on the prime meridian.

The view from the Observatory was pretty amazing.
That was our day at Greenwich.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A day of Culture

Trafalgar Square is London's central square. Its the destination of marches, demonstrations and celebrations and it had some pretty cool attractions around it. Here are some pictures we took on our way there from the bus station.

This is the back side of the National Gallery

It is now a library.

Trafalgar Square is centered around a giant monument of Lord Nelson. He was a very famous admiral who defeated but lost his life against the French fleet at the battle of Trafalgar. Monuments and pictures of him seem to pop up every where we go.

This is me trying to give some perspective on how big this thing was. The lion could have eaten me in one bite!

Here are some pictures of what is around Trafalgar Square

Big Ben

Admiralty Arch - marks the beginning of the road that leads to Buckinham Palace

Cool looking buildings

The Canada House
The National Gallery

St. Martin-in-the-Fields church - named "in the fields" because thats where it used to be in this spot.

This was our cultural day. We started by visiting the National Gallery and enjoying the works of famous artists such as Leonardo, Botticelli, Rembrant, Van Gough and Monet. Leonardo was my favorite and Van Gough was Sean's favorite. There was a suggested 3 pound donation for audio guide tours for all the paintings. We said no thank you to the suggested donation and did the audio tour anyways (whahaha). It was great. We probably spent 8 hours in the Gallery. For lunch we went to a cafateria in the Crypt in St.Martin-in-the-field church. It was a little creepy thinking about eating on dead people but the food was reasonably priced and delicious.
After the afternoon back at the National Gallery we had a truely British dinner of bangers and mash and then went back to the Crypt for apple pudding with custard for dessert.
This picture is dedicated to my dad because bangers and mash remind Sean of him so he had to take a picture.

To finish off our lovely day of cultural enlightenment we attended a candle light performance of Baroque favorites at St.Martin's-in-the-field church. And you know what they say... If it's not Baroque, don't fix it. (10 points to whoever can name what movie that is off of :)