Quick review: Up to this point I’ve described flying to Chicago, then London, plus our adventures in London for our first full day, including the visit to Westminster Abbey and the Churchill War Rooms. At the end of our fabulous day we limped back to our room and collapsed around 6PM, none the worse for wear 🙂
To continue: After 10 hours or so of sleep, we jumped to our feet and bolted down the stairs to make more discoveries!! Actually, we woke up in something of a stupor, and I put on some mismatched clothes (some mighta been Natalie’s, I don’t know) and I left her in the room while I went down to the hotel restaurant for a bite to eat. I had my choice of a nice complimentary continental breakfast (not sure which continent), or I could pay around $20 US for a Full English Breakfast (no, not like McDonald’s Big Breakfast).
Full English breakfast
A traditional full English breakfast includes bacon (traditionally back bacon), poached or fried eggs, fried or grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms, fried bread or toast with butter, sausages and baked beans, usually served with a mug of tea. As nearly everything is fried in this meal, it is commonly called a “fry-up”.
Black pudding is often added, as are fried leftover mashed potatoes (called potato cakes), or hash browns. Onions, either fried or in rings, occasionally appear.
When an English breakfast is ordered to contain everything available it is often referred to as a Full English, or a Full Monty. Defibrillators available on request! 🙂
I was a little concerned about what might really happen if I ordered a Full Monty from the waiter, so I figured coffee, juice and scones would hold me just fine – I had that. A note about ordering black coffee in that part of the world. I’m not sure what ‘Black Coffee’ means to them, but somehow they don’t understand what you want if you ask for it in that way. I soon deduced that the correct terminology for that arcane beverage was “Americano” So, ya want basic black coffee? Order “The Americano”. Not sure, but that may be some kind of back-handed insult. Oh, well.
By then, Natalie had re-assembled herself and was ready to tackle the day. We headed out the door into a bright, sunny morning and rejoined the HoHo (Hop On – Hop Off) bus tour to make our way over to the Westminster Pier, very near Big Ben tower, where we’d be boarding the boat for a cruise down the Thames to Greenwich.
In olden times, the Royal Observatory was located at Greenwich (basically a suburb of London, now), and I was wanting to see the Harrison clocks on display there. I first learned of these timepieces when I watched the mini-series Longitude, which I highly recommend. I think it’s available from Netflix – it stars Michael Gambon as John Harrison and provides a wonderful explanation of how he solved the problem of determining longitude at sea. Hey folks, here’s your chance to LEARN something! 🙂 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0192263/
We boarded the boat, just as planned, and enjoyed a leisurely cruise down to Greenwich – lotsa people on the tour boat, very popular thing to do. Be sure to do this yourself if you make it to London Town! After 30 minutes or so we docked at Greenwich, next to the historic Cutty Sark, one of the last clipper ships to be built. It was something of a transitional design, soon to be replaced by steam-powered vessels. Anyway, it is beautiful and historic!
We got off the boat and wandered into the little village of Greenwich – we fell in love with it immediately! I don’t know why, but it reminded me of Estes Park, Colorado, in some ways – lots of little shops, everything clean and neat. It was fun to wander around, making little discoveries. We had our very first traditional English Fish n Chips at The Pier, and we enjoyed it immensely. My piece of fish weighed only about 4 pounds, so I think maybe I got shorted, but hey, I’m a tourist, right? All part of the travel experience! 🙂
Next we made our way up the winding path to the Observatory complex, quite a climb. Hmmm, wonder why they put it up on a hill? 🙂 It was a very scenic walk (struggle?), and we were in a throng of people all wanting to get there first. It was Springtime, it was Sunday, the sun was shining, I think all of England was out of doors, on the move. Great feeling! At the top we made our way over to where they had a metal band laid into the stone, showing the Prime Meridian, Zero Degrees Longitude, as you likely already know. You know, Greenwich Mean Time? Well, the folks didn’t seem all that mean to me, but what’s in a name?
I had to make use of an online photo of a Harrison Sea Clock, at left. I took several videos of the clocks in motion, but forgot to take any still shots. Oh, well. Amazing mechanisms, amazing solution to an age-old problem. We explored all the exhibits in the building, then wandered on down the hill to wait for the upstream tour boat.
After we made our way back to the Westminster Pier, we did the HoHo thing to get over to the British Museum. I was a little disappointed that their premium exhibition, Pompeii and Herculaneum, was sold out, but there were still many wonderful things to see. The picture here is of the Rosetta Stone. Yes, THE Rosetta Stone! I had no idea it was at this museum. It’s the key piece needed for modern man to decipher the ancient hieroglyphics of the Egyptian civilization. WOW! I’ll put up some more photos at the bottom of the post – you can see some of the other treasures we came across in our museum wanderings.
After the museum visit we went over to Covent Garden, one of the most popular eating and shopping areas of London. We didn’t stay long, but we had a chance to spend some time in an AUTHENTIC English pub! It was the Nag’s Head, and it perfectly matched all the pictures I had seen of pubs – it was great, and the pub food was OUTSTANDING!! They even serve BEER there, can you imagine?? 🙂 I’d have to look up the menu online to try to remember exactly what I had to eat there, but I think it was another of the English ‘pie’ type dishes, with a nice crust and a beefy filling with lots of vegetables. Very nice! You won’t go away hungry after eating pub food!
After the pub visit we found the station for the Underground (the “Tube”) and made our way back to the hotel without any trouble at all. We were actually figuring out the mysteries of getting around London! Woo Hoo! 🙂
Here’s a sampling of photos (some may be duplicates of what I posted above, forgive me). I think you’ll like browsing!