It was a sunny afternoon in August, and the line of people waiting to board was shortest for the boat from Westminster Millennium Pier to Greenwich. I thought it would be interesting to take a boat ride on the Thames to see London landmarks from a different perspective. Right away I could see the London Eye (a large Ferris wheel), and it was imposing from the water. If you watched it closely, you could see it moving very slowly.
There was also an impromptu guided tour of the sights on the Thames. The speaker (I think it was one of the boat’s crew) provided a nonstop commentary about the buildings we passed. There was an impressive building called Somerset House where birth, marriage, and death certificates used to be kept. The guide said, “This is where we hatch ‘em, match ‘em, and dispatch ‘em.” I enjoyed hearing his stories, which I found funny. In fact, I laughed at just about all of his comments. Loudly. But when I looked around, many of the people looked very serious. And some were asleep. Was I the only one who thought he was funny? The woman sitting next to me had just arrived in London a few hours earlier from Los Angeles. She seemed rather dazed, so perhaps she was too tired to appreciate the humor. I learned that we were traveling at low tide, and much of the river bed was visible. We passed Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, St. Paul’s, and the Tower of London along the way. As we left London behind, there was more scenery and fewer buildings. Then we arrived in Greenwich.
Getting off the boat, I picked up an area map because my goal was to see the Royal Observatory, home of the Prime Meridian and Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). To get there I walked through the grounds of the Royal Naval College, which had a lovely campus of buildings and lawns. Beyond that was the path to the Royal Observatory, which became incredibly steep. I took my time walking up the hill and eventually arrived at the top. You could see all the way to London from there!
Going back to the pier to return to London, I walked through the town of Greenwich. This was a place where you could spend a pleasant day away from London. Apparently a lot of other people had the same idea, and the streets were crowded. But as I strolled through Greenwich Market looking for souvenirs (or shoes or clothes), I felt it was more than reasonable to share the day with a lot of other people.