Chapter 2 in London.

The Friday night get together with Annie’s old school friends left us feeling a bit ordinary on Saturday morning. The girls were somewhere in Hackney after their catch up with friends, so we decided to take the train out to Greenwich for a relaxing day out. We couldn’t have asked for better weather – families were out in force enjoying the sunshine and picnicking in the park.

Greenwich Park.

Greenwich Park with the Canary Wharf development behind, across the Thames.

The Docklands light rail took us through the Canary Wharf redevelopment of the docklands East of London. This is now a new city where a lot of the banks and corporates have built their new headquarters. Quite a change from 40 years ago! The light rail train is driverless and computer controlled, which is a bit disconcerting at first sight.

Since my last visit to Greenwich, Sir Francis Chichester’s yacht “Gipsy Moth 4” with which he circumnavigated the world in 1966-67, has been restored and relocated to Plymouth. The fast tea clipper “Cutty Sark” in the dry dock, had been damaged twice by fire since 2007 and has now been restored and enclosed in a glazed structure below her waterline.

The Cutty Sark.

The Cutty Sark.

Greenwich is a world heritage site which includes Greenwich Park, the old Royal Naval College, the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory. The red ball on the roof of the observatory drops at 1pm every day for ships on the Thames to set their chronometers. The Prime Meridian or Greenwich Meridian (longitude zero), was established at the Royal Observatory. A very pleasant day out, ending with an early night, while the girls caught up with their friends.

The painted dining room.

The painted dining room.

Figureheads at the National Maritime Museum.

Figureheads at the National Maritime Museum.

The Royal Observatory.

The Royal Observatory.

Annie with the Prime Meridian between her legs.

Annie with the Prime Meridian between her legs.

Sunday was spent exploring the Brick Lane markets and the flower markets. This area is packed with people over weekends and food from around the world is available at the street stalls. A variety of buskers play along the streets, which in itself, is more than a day’s entertainment. I attach a few videos to enjoy.

This guy played like Wes Montgomery.

This guy played like Wes Montgomery.

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Street muso’s.

I like this!

We like this!

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Soothing Brazilian music.

A stall at the flower markets.

A stall at the flower markets.

The poor man's James Taylor.

The poor man’s James Taylor.

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Funky Brazilian trio.

Our squat on Brick Lane above Ghandi's curry shop.

Our squat on Brick Lane above Gandhi’s curry shop.

Street hip hop.

We revisited the Victoria and Albert museum to take our time individually to explore the collections. I particularly enjoyed the large collection of Rodin sculptures – 20 in all, 18 of which he donated to the V&A during the first world war for safe keeping. The rest of the week was a whirlwind of visits to the Tate Modern Gallery, St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, The Golden Hinde 2, Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, etc. London has so much to see!

Beautiful Rodin collection.

Beautiful Rodin collection.

Breathtaking glass collection.

Breathtaking glass collection.

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Harpist busker near the V&A museum.

Obligatory Westminster Abbey photo.

Obligatory Westminster Abbey photo.

Obligatory Big Ben & Houses of Parliament photo.

Obligatory Big Ben & Houses of Parliament photo.

Shakespeare's Globe.

Shakespeare’s Globe.

Karen did her surgery course at St Thomas’ teaching hospital during the week before flying back to Sydney. On our last day in London, we visited the Queen Elizabeth 2 Olympic complex.

The Aquatic centre.

The Aquatic centre.

A strange structure.

A strange structure.

Tomorrow, we take the Eurostar to Paris. We will report on France in our next post.