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    • Day 5

      London Day 2 - Part 1

      May 1 in England ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

      Glad we came to London and seen some of the famous landmarks, but as we are both not city people, it was very draining on the brain, especially navigated around people at Buckingham Palace. We did, however, conquer public transport... I may have put us onto the other Greenich train (who knew there was two🤣) so we ended up in another station 50 minutes from hotel instead of 6 minute walk but we got on the double decker bus and was only 3 minutes from hotel, so win in my eyes 😁 The Thames river cruise was lovely and relaxing. Tomorrow brings us another public transport puzzle to get us to Southampton for our next adventureRead more

    • Day 4–7

      London Day 1

      April 30 in England ⋅ ☀️ 14 °C

      Made it to London. Flight from Canada was delayed and then stuffed like sardines in a tin can for 9 hours. No sleep on plane 😪 3 trains and a wee walk (haven't received our U.K sim yet so no google maps) we made it to our accommodation for next two nights. Had a 2 hour nap as no sleep for 24hrs then went for a walk around Greenich. Ordered what I thought was bread and dips but was toast with butter and jam🤣Read more

    • Day 6

      Dummy spit at Greenwich

      September 1, 2022 in England ⋅ ☁️ 23 °C

      I heard a dog groomer once say the biggest difference between grooming a dog and grooming a cat is this: when a dog gets upset or angry, you can give them a break, a treat, and then their good mood will be restored and you can continue the groom. When a cat is done,

      It. Is. Done.

      and there is nothing in heaven or earth that will return a cat to its good mood: no treat, no break, no distraction, no patting.

      I definitely got into the feline spirit in Greenwich. I might have been sulky around Greenwich Park, but I was insufferable around the Cutty Sark and by the time we were at St Katharine's Docks, I was practically a wraith.

      Still, there's no doubting that Greenwich has been my favourite part of London so far, and I will infuriate my partner when I recount for decades to come what a good time I had, when in reality I had absolutely no energy left to do anything but watch the inside of my eyeballs as if they were a cinema screen.

      Because Greenwich is set up beautifully for tourists, but all the tourists had gone with Bank Holiday and the end of summer, the place felt restored to itself somehow. The Cutty Sark precinct of course felt like a theme park, but a theme park at closing time: nostalgic and depopulating.

      I have been whingeing about how Queen Victoria has absolutely colonised London with her architecture and her propaganda, but Greenwich felt curiously 18th century, something not built for the likes of her. Walking through the observatory's hallways and stairways - all milk white, toast brown - and seeing the iron and brass instruments was properly transporting. The place was quiet, even with a busload of Spanish school kids giddy at the prospect of a good gift shop, which is after all the apex of any tourist experience, as every child knows.

      Mum, Dad, and Stuart were all absolutely energised and reassuring, a pleasure to be around, while I was all vortex and debility. After the observatory - where the greatest observation might have been Dad spotting the editor of The Guardian Australia - I broke off from the group and went to the Kings Arms to draw some architecture in my sketchbook and drink an oversized Lemonade.

      After that, a patrol around the cobblestones to look at Greenwich Market - I nearly bought a wooden watch with a teal face but then I remembered that it was 2022 and I didn't use a watch anymore, besides which I had the gorgeous one that Stuart gave me in 2018 which would not appreciate the infidelity. I didn't really want a watch. I just wanted the dopamine that comes from buying 1 x crapthing please. Yes I would like my crapthing giftwrapped.

      I ordered an espresso in Waterstones Bookshop and a small chocolate bar which had oxidized to the point where it was no longer a food item but some brownish chemical quiddity. I just opened the chocolate bar wide and ate none of it, looking at it, feeling like it expressed my soul.

      A ride on the brilliant DLR and then lunch at St Katharine's Docks in The Dickens Inn (named not after Charles Dickens but his (great?) grandson Cecil ) and the best burger anyone could have imagined did nothing to restore me to myself. You might as well have stuffed a beef burger inside an anatomical skeleton model for all the pleasure it gave me. But I was abstractly aware it was actually incredible.

      Coffee and real edible chocolate at Mum and Dad's place was a very gentle affair. I could tell how much they had pushed themselves to get the very most of out this foreign rendezvous with me and Stu, and I was moved by it. Seeing them really was a once in a lifetime experience, and I know that because it has only happened once in my lifetime. Hugging them goodbye will be a core memory now.

      That evening at home was a blur. The bathtub in our AirBnB doesn't work because the water doesn't heat up. And apart from that, the bath surface is grimy from a week of standing on it in the shower and we don't have cleaning products. Are we supposed to go to Tesco Express and buy bleach, pine-o-clean, sponges, and rubber gloves? The Virgo in me thinks this is a thrilling travel idea, practically the Virgo equivalent of bungee jumping. Cleaning in a foreign city? Where does the line start!?

      A curious thing about the day was that I got to see the true size of London, first by ferry (the "Meteor" clipper) and then by DLR. The tube has a funny way of folding London up like a map ready to put in your satchel, but the ferry unfolds that map. Mum and Dad's place at Tower Bridge was much further away than I could have anticipated - a full half hour ride. I'm glad we didn't try to walk it. The DLR too showed us plenty of poverty and really sad social housing and buildings demolished by neglect - I needed to see this. London was starting to get out of sight, out of mind.

      I was disconsolate by bedtime knowing that we had paid for two tours in a row the next morning, each 1.5 hours. I just wanted to stop.

      The sleep train hit me like the Victoria line to Brixton: fast and impersonal.
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    • Day 141

      London, England

      May 8 in England ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

      Bob went to breakfast in the World Cafe.

      I continued to pack. I discovered that my duffle bag had a hole in it. I borrowed a sewing kit from Jenni and did my best to sew up the hole. We also got some duct tape from our room steward. Can any one say Clampetts? I am hoping that it holds! I will have nightmares of my belongings being slung all over the baggage claim carousel.

      I was relieved that everything fit in our luggage and most bags were under weight. My sweet husband was right AGAIN!

      We had lunch in the World Cafe with Dale and Jenni. While we were having lunch, we sailed by the newly installed flood control gates. They were testing these gates this morning which may have been the reason that we are coming into London so late

      We relaxed in the afternoon while finishing adding the last items to our luggage. We gave items away that we are leaving in the ship.

      We watched the ship dock in Greenwich. We arrived at 3:30 PM which is an hour and a half late. Shore excursions did not begin until after 4 PM. We are moored in the Thames next to a floating platform. One must disembark via the platform to an awaiting boat than to shore.

      This is the first time that we have sailed into the Thames during the day. We usually sail during the early morning which leaves a full day to explore London. Many people are upset that what is advertised as two days in London ends up being just one afternoon as most people have very early morning flights.

      We went down to the atrium to give our snorkel masks to Apple (our wonderful waitress in the Restaurant).

      We had our last aperitif before heading to the private dining room at Manfredi's. The Hollands arranged a dinner for Dale, Jenni, Jim, Janet, George, Barbara, Patty, Keifer and yourselves. It was nice to have the last diner with this group. It also minimized the amount of goodbyes we have to say.

      After dinner, we went back to our stateroom to put our luggage out. I wish that I had taken a picture of our luggage but I am fighting this cold so my brain is a bit fuzzy.

      We said goodnight for the last time aboard the Viking Neptune.
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    • Day 193

      Uber boats

      November 18, 2022 in England ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

      Scout and I went to Greenwich markets after the museum and caught the ferry back to London Bridge ! Super exciting :)
      We stopped to take a photo and heard some girls singing in the apartment balcony sideways above us and so we started dancing from the street with them with our phone flashlights and they saw us and we all were dancing on seperate levels together for a min. Very funny - we laughed the whole way over to Borough markets which I have been to so many times now and we got some mulled cider mm mmm. Love me a good mulled anything. It’s her last day here before she goes to Munich tomorrow 🥺
      And here’s another museum photo from a mirror in the kids section :)
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    • Day 193

      Maritime museum

      November 18, 2022 in England ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

      Absolutely loved the first few pics - a photography exhibition in the Maritime museum :)
      Spent a few hours here and then scout came and met me and we did Morse code with lights and sound to each other in the kids area. It was actually quite hard to interpret it when you were hearing or seeing it. And we tried on the Antarctic room ancient and modern glasses. You would not be wanting to come here with the old ones let me tell ya that.Read more

    • Day 10


      February 12 in England ⋅ ☀️ 48 °F

      First time I've been here, and it was actually neater than I expected. Pics include the Royal Naval College, Queen's House, the Cutty Sark, the Observatory, and a pic with the Prime Meridian. Also had full sun for the first time 😂Read more

    • Day 3

      The Forgotten Genius

      June 26, 2022 in England ⋅ ⛅ 68 °F

      When we returned from our excursion to Westminster Abbey, we grabbed a quick lunch. I was ready to re-visit the Old Naval College, the Maritime Museum, and the Royal Greenwich Observatory. I can’t imagine why Glenda wouldn’t want to see the chronometer that John Harrison developed in the eighteenth century. I mean, it completely changed the world. But I guess there’s no accounting for taste.

      Today was a perfect Sunday afternoon with bright sun, a gentle breeze and a high of about seventy degrees. I still lacked a thousand steps to meet my Walkingspree obligation, so I set off for the Old Naval College. It was originally called the Old Sailors’ Hospital, but the word “hospital” has changed meanings since then. A hospital was not primarily tasked with healing illnesses, but with providing a home for the elderly. So old, worn-out sailors who had given their life to the King’s Navy often retired with no home or family to tend them in old age. To meet this need the British government set up hospitals for old sailors, and a similar hospital for old soldiers (which still exists, by the way). When society changed so that almost all sailors did have families or the means to pay for lodging, their facility became the Naval College, something like our Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland.

      I had to admire its beautiful architecture very quickly because it was already almost four o’clock, and the places I wanted to visit closed at five. I did a quick run-through of the Naval Museum, wondering at the hardships of a life at sea. I didn’t have time to re-visit the Queen’s House, the very first totally neo-classical building in England. (Architect Inigo Jones should be proud.) I walked quickly up a stunningly beautiful hill called Greenwich Park to the Royal Greenwich Observatory, the place where longitude was first officially determined. Finding one’s longitude requires two elements: first, knowledge of the exact time. This can be ascertained by looking at the motion of heavenly bodies such as the sun or the moons of Jupiter. An observatory is a good place to see such things. Secondly, it requires that the ship seeking its longitude to have a clock that is insanely precise. Then the captain compares the time at the ship’s location with some standard (such as the exact time at London, well Greenwich) to calculate his longitude. No clock in the eighteenth century was sufficiently precise to give longitude. The rocking and heeling of ships in storms rendered pendulum clocks useless. However, in an epic struggle taking 31 years, clockmaker John Harrison finally made a timepiece that was sufficiently precise and robust to be used at sea. The British Navy took his double-gimbaled clock and declared it top secret. No other nation in the world had the capability to measure longitude until another generation had passed. The British government did not even acknowledge that they had such an instrument, and therefore, they could never recognize nor compensate Harrison for his genius. His son persisted in his efforts to have his father’s genius recognized, and finally the nation acknowledged Harrison’s accomplishment many years after his death.

      Unfortunately, as I approached the Royal Observatory it was about to close, and a guard denied me entry. Still, I have some photos I took on my last visit, and I still have profound respect for John Harrison, the unacknowledged genius.
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    • Day 9

      Septième journée : Greenwich

      January 9, 2023 in England ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

      Pour la dernière fois pour ce voyage, salut!

      Effectivement, dernière journée d'activités aujourd'hui. Je repars demain matin. Avant d'en venir à ça, voici ce que j'ai fait aujourd'hui!

      C'était une journée plutôt tranquille, pas trop chargée. J'ai (enfin) pris le bus pour me rendre dans le coin de Greenwich. Après ce qui m'a semblé une éternité dû à des changements de bus, je suis finalement arrivée à ce que je voulais visiter en premier, c'est-à-dire l'observatoire royal de Greenwich! Je voulais absolument y être pour 13h parce qu'à cette heure exacte, la "boule du temps" (Time Ball) tombe pour marquer ce moment de la journée. Je ne voulais pas manquer l'occasion d'assister à ça! 😂 Après ça, j'ai fait un tour des lieux pour traverser de manière officielle le méridien de Greenwich (oui oui) et pour observer les institutions des alentours (le planétarium entre autres).

      Ensuite, j'ai encore fait une balade suggérée par mon guide dans Greenwich pour observer des monuments historiques surtout. J'ai observé une vieille église anglicane du nom de St Alfege pour commencer. Ensuite, j'ai fait un tour au Greenwich Market. Je me suis arrêtée dans une chocolaterie et me suis choisi quelques chocolats et truffes à déguster : c'était très bon! 😋 J'ai passé dans le coin du Old Royal Naval College où j'ai croisé plusieurs énormes bâtisses que j'ai trouvées magnifiques! Ensuite, j'ai vu un grand bateau du nom de Cutty Sark qui a marqué le 19e siècle en étant le dernier à avoir navigué entre la Chine et l'Angleterre à l'époque.

      J'ai terminé en traversant le fleuve pour avoir une vue globale de ce que j'avais observé de plus près plus tôt à partir de la rive nord. C'était tellement beau avec l'eau! À ce moment-là, j'ai eu une forte émotion parce que je savais que c'était ce qui mettait fin à mon premier périple en Angleterre. Réaliser ça m'a rendu triste et émue de tout ce que j'ai accompli et appris avec cette expérience. Je suis vraiment fière de l'avoir fait et j'encourage sincèrement tout le monde à réaliser leurs projets, quels qu'ils soient. J'ai éprouvé tellement de satisfaction à voir mon rêve se concrétiser quand j'ai passé à l'action! Et ça a été le plus bel accomplissement de ma vie jusqu'à présent.

      Sur cette note de style discours de motivation 😂, je tiens à remercier ceux qui ont suivi mon aventure. J'ai aimé vous partager mon expérience, ça m'a fait sentir un peu moins seule. 🙂

      À la prochaine!
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    • Day 138

      Greenwich, England

      May 8 in England ⋅ ☁️ 68 °F

      The ship pulled into Greenwich, the final Port of our world cruise. We went to an evening ‘Ceremony of the Keys’ event at the Tower of London. Photos include us going into port and the evening skyline. Fantastic.

      Footsteps echo in the darkness. The sentry cries out, 'Halt, who comes there?' The Yeoman Warder replies, 'The keys.' 'Whose keys?' 'King Charles' keys.' 'Pass then, all's well.'
      Aside from the monarch's name, this is the exact exchange that has been spoken for centuries and forms part of the traditional 'locking up' of the Tower of London.
      Set amidst the mighty battlements of this ancient historic fortress, the Ceremony of the Keys is one of the oldest surviving enactments of its kind. Although the monarch may no longer reside at the Tower, the Crown Jewels and many other invaluable objects still do, therefore its importance is still relevant today.
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Lewisham, London Borough of Lewisham, LEW, Lewisham kerület, ლიუისჰემი

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