Saturday, we headed out with our Chicago guests, Carol and Barry, to Greenwich for the day. It's a 3o minute boat ride from the Tower of London.
As we pulled up to the dock, we saw the Royal Naval College, built by Sir Christopher Wren in 1696. Formerly, Greenwich Palace stood here from 1422 to 1640. It was the birthplace of Henry VIII and considered to be one of his favorite palaces.
Our first stop was the National Maritime Museum where we saw many evidences of the heritage of Britain's seafaring past.
We even met Poseidon there,
and saw the beautiful Prince Frederick's barge which was built in 1732 and used for royal occasions on the Thames until 1846.
Once outside we saw the Queen's house which was first built in the early 1600's for Queen Anne of Denmark, wife of James I, and later used as a summer villa for Queen Henrietta Maria, the wife of Charles I.
We trekked up the hill to the Royal Observatory which was built for the purpose of finding longitude at sea.
From there, the view was spectacular with the Queen's house in the immediate foreground, right behind it the Royal Naval College, and in the distance the modern business section of London called the Canary Wharf and the Docklands.
At the top of the hill, we saw the Prime Meridian and the Millennium Clock which keeps perfect time, within a tenth of a second. Mike was pleased to find that his Blackberry was within 15 seconds of being perfect.
Like many others, we stood over the Prime Meridian straddling East and West.
Longitude 0 degrees 0'0".
We watched the Time Ball drop at precisely 1:00 P.M. as it does every day. It can be seen from the Thames River and through the years, sailors have used it to set their clocks before setting sail.
Part of the Royal Navy College, the Royal Chapel was designed by Christoper Wren.
Inside we found beautiful surprises
such as this painted ceiling.
The Painted Dining Hall was fascinating,
and we found one of the seamen from the Battle of Trafalgar sharing his story.
Continuing downstream, we made our way to the Trafalgar Tavern for lunch.
It was built in 1837 in the Regency style to attract Londoners. Indeed it did, as many famous people have dined there, including Dickens who used the setting in his book Our Mutual Friend.
Of course, nothing else would do after such a "sea-faring" day, but to have fish and chips. And since we've had our fair share since we've lived here, we can attest that they were some of the best we've had.