of the Thames basin
Greenwich Observatory to Parliament
As we approached Greenwich Station amid
a carriage load of tourists we overheard a small boy ask his parents "if we're going
to Greenwich why does the sign say 'Green wich'. A good question. We left the
parents on the platform struggling to explain the complexities of the English language.
Greenwich is very popular with tourists which is quite a good thing as on arrival you can
just follow everyone else. We wandered into the park planned by Charles II and up the
winding path to the hill that is crowned by the Observatory.
We thought that one of the great advantages of starting from Greenwich was the chance to
indulge in a little east meets west detante. A brief handshake over the meridian marker
before setting off would be just the thing for two Englishmen embarking on an expedition.
Unfortunately the marker, a brass strip mounted in the courtyard of the Observatory, is
only accessible on paying the full entry charge to the museum - a bit too much to pay for
a symbolic handshake so we put it off for another day and instead went and inspected the
Lots of London landmarks can be picked out,
the Millennium Dome, the Dome of St. Pauls, the Post Office Tower... a straight line
from our view point showed our immediate destination - Canary Wharf. In the far distance
through the haze we could make out the high ground which rises above the city and marked
our ultimate destination. In the foreground two children were taking advantage of the
terrain by following the age old practice of rolling horizontally down the steep slope.
Tempted though we were to join them we reluctantly acknowledged our adult status and made
for the Cutty Sark by foot. We plunged through the park in a straight line heading for the
Palladian colonnades of the National Maritime Museum. As you walk through the gate to the
Museum you are greeted by a sign saying that for security reasons no photographs are
permitted. Why? Are those columns secret missile silos? All a bit silly really but as we
are law abiding citizens you will not find a photograph on this page. You will however
find one on the National Maritime Museum Website and
for anyone who doubts the seriousness of this organisation we point you in the direction
of their stern copyright notice - you have been warned.
The entrances on the south side of the
Museum are marked by a series of giant buoys that have washed up on the grass. As you
wander between them amplified sea sounds put them into proper context, or conversely put
the grass, iron railings and traffic trundling along Romney Road out of context.
We pressed on towards the Cutty Sark, the
nineteenth century tea ship that is parked in a dry dock by the edge of the Thames and
after taking in its grandeur we headed for the
Greenwich/Millwall foot tunnel which crosses under the river to the Isle of Dogs. The
tunnel is accessed through a wide shaft which contains a central lift and a footpath which
coils around it. An impressive piece of engineering.
Next: Isle of Dogs/Canary Wharf
Canary Wharf to Limehouse Basin
The Regency Canal Pub Crawl
Camden to Hampstead