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Chiyo: Greenwich

November 20, 2011

I wanted/needed a change of scenery. So with an abundance of beautiful places around London, Katie and I had planned earlier in the week to take a visit to Greenwich. This place is best known for being able to straddle the Prime Meridian, home to the Royal Naval College where shows like Bones, and time-period films have had scenes filmed there. It’s also just a lovely town with a beautiful park that is really the center of the whole place.

Greenwich is about an hour and a half away from where we live, but lucky for us there is a very fast train that will take you to Greenwich. However, we had to think on our feet because with lots of planned engineering going on, and me finding how to get to Greenwich via Google UK, and Katie looking yesterday how to get there, we didn’t know that the line we were going to take was shut down for the weekend. I was glad that I wrote down an alternative route before leaving the flat, so we took a train to get to Greenwich. Upon arrival, we decided to play it by ear, and get food first before exploring the town. We ate at a pub called the Spanish Galleon, where they brew the oldest beer in the UK. After eating delicious food, and even better desserts (me Apple Crumble; Katie a Knickerbocker Glory). Our first stop was the Royal Naval College, which is quite the lovely uni. They have a building that houses the Painted Hall with just stunning paintings from floor to ceiling. I had heard that the chapel was also amazing and a “must see” but there was a wedding taking place so it was closed for the afternoon. After visiting the college, we headed to the park, which is MASSIVE. It is going to be where the 2012 Olympic equestrian events take place this coming Summer. It also houses the National Maritime Museum, and the Royal Observatory, which I’ll talk about later.

We popped into the museum to see how much admission was, and to our pleasant surprise, it was free! Because the Prime Meridian is a part of Greenwich, this is a town full of rich history and sea life. The museum was really lovely, and I’m glad we went in and had a look round. On the top floor, there was even a jazz band playing that day, and they were really good. We finished up in the museum, and went out to this massive span of grass so Katie could take a picture of the RNC from afar. There were a few students nearby filming, and they must have heard our American accents, because one of them approached me asking if they could use us in their uni study, by asking us a few queries on camera. We said, “sure, why not?” and then one of the guys proceeded to ask us where we were from, what brought us to the UK, and if we saw ourselves coming back ever again. English parks are breathtaking. There is seriously no other “kind” of park out there that can compare to an English park. Another thing I noticed about parks in general in the UK is that they’re just very romantic. I mean, it is like the perfect setting for couples, and that was re-inforced when everywhere you looked, people were coupled up. We made our way up the hill to the Royal Observatory, where you can straddle the Prime Meridian. Of course we took our cheesy photos of us straddling the meridian, and once that was done, we made our way back down to the main part of the park to go to the Greenwich Market. 

The market on Saturdays and Sundays is devoted to arts and crafts, and food. Earlier in the day I had spotted a food stall that was selling chocolate covered strawberries and other chocolate covered fruit items, and knew I wanted to stop there later on. We shopped around, and found a photo stall where Katie and I each found some photos to bring back with us to the states of London. Then, at the back of the market, there was this stall where a guy can bend metal and make your name for a small price. So since there is literally nothing with my name on it like you would see in a souvenir shop or something because it isn’t popular, I jumped at the chance to have him make me something with my name. I had him mend the metal into my name, and then have London written as well. There is also a heart with a red stone next to my name. My roomie Katie went one step further, and bought me a personalized keychain with my name on it, and a Hello Kitty charm on it 🙂 Once we felt like we covered the market from head to toe, we stopped and got our fruit covered in chocolate, and that was gone in seconds. Before heading home, we went to the movies, and watched the fourth twilight movie. It was better than I thought it would be, and I’m glad we went. 

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Straddling the Prime Meridian!

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