During my second weekend in Europe I visited Paris on the Friday and saw Les Misérables on the Saturday. Feeling a little “Frenched” out, I decided to spend Sunday in Greenwich to visit the National Maritime Museum and see some of the sights on the other side of the Thames.
Greenwich is a peaceful and quaint little town on the southeast side of London. It has a nautical feel since it’s right on the banks of the river and is home to the Old Royal Naval College.
As a U.S. Navy brat, I’ve always been interested in things pertaining to navies, especially the U.K.’s since it has an impressive naval background. I wish I could have spent the day enjoying the area with my dad, who would have appreciated it even more than I.
The first stop was the museum, which housed lots of interesting artifacts from different generations of the British navy. I learned that there was a convoy of British and some American ships that would brave the Arctic waters during World War II to bring munitions and supplies to the Soviet Union. The crews had to endure their ships freezing over in sheets of ice and the constant threat of torpedoes from German ships.
I also saw some surviving military uniforms from generals and admirals of the 19th century (awesome) and the breeches and stockings Vice-Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson wore when he was mortally wounded in the Battle of Trafalgar (eww).
Apparently there was a competition after Nelson’s death to see who could paint the best “Death of Nelson” portrait. The winning piece was on display at the NMM. People from the early 19th century were strange.
Since I was in Greenwich, I also tried to find the Prime Meridian so I could take a picture standing in both hemispheres. I trekked up a hill in Greenwich Park to the National Observatory (not fun) only to climb back down because I didn’t want to pay the £7 entrance fee just to take a picture, and I didn’t have time to see the rest of the exhibits.
I figured the meridian would be marked at other places in the park seeing as it’s famous, but I ended up traversing the entire area with no luck. I even took a picture at a sundial that seemed as though it was the perfect place to mark a giant invisible line, only to realize it more likely passed through the tree 20 steps to the right of it.
I’m not sure if the tree is actually where it was, but I’m sure I was at the Prime Meridian some way or another that day. My fourth grade dream is at last fulfilled.
I finished the day off taking a stroll through the beautiful old naval college before heading back to Baker Street. The chapel was breathtaking to stand in.