Travel Journal #6 – Greenwich Time

prime meridianWe went to Greenwich (pronounced grin-itch) as a class today and it was really pretty despite the drizzle. I hadn’t been in a boat on the Thames (it is tempting to pronounce it just the way it looks but think “tems”) yet this term. So when I heard that we would be riding a boat to Greenwich, I was definitely excited! It was fun to see all of the bridges that I love walking across from a different perspective. And seeing one main building after another along the banks was quite fun too.
painted ceilingWhat’s so enticing about Greenwich, you may ask? Well, for one thing, there’s a ton of open green space—something you don’t see much of in London unless you seek it out. But perhaps more importantly, Greenwich is known for currently being home to the National Maritime Museum (which now includes what was once the Queen’s house), the Royal Observatory, and what was once the Royal Naval College. These are just a few of the attractions. But what was I most excited about, as cheesy as it may be? The Prime Meridian! In 1884, it was decided that an invisible line running through Greenwich would be the line that marks longitude zero. (Note: Centre was founded in 1819, so Centre already had been around for 65 years!) It’s wild to think that an invisible line carries so much weight — such a cool concept. So when Dr. Johnson took photos of some of us straddling the Prime Meridian line, I was incredibly happy. We were literally in two different hemispheres at once! Hah! So cheesy, I know. I warned you.
Part of the Old Royal Naval College includes a building that houses The Painted Hall, a giant dining hall painted by James Thornhill, the same man who had painted the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral a few years earlier. When we walked in, I literally jumped with excitement — it was jaw-droppingly gorgeous! (My photos don’t even begin to do the hall justice.) The ceiling was incredible; the walls were beautiful; the whole place was absolutely breath-taking. Can you imagine having dinner with at least one hundred other people in such a magnificent place? Can you imagine painting such a large space? What patience and skill! It’s really difficult for me to wrap my mind around those thoughts, and honestly, it may be impossible for me to do.
If you want a view of a bit of the outsides of some of the buildings, check out my Travel Video 2. And despite what people say, dreary days in London are never awful — they’re too “London” to be awful.
That’s all for now. Cheers! (Have I mentioned how much I love that people say “cheers” here?)
by Anne Evans ’12, currently participating in the Centre-in-London study abroad program. Learn more about study abroad in England.
PHOTOS (top to bottom): Straddling the Prime Meridian line in Greenwich, and the ceiling inside the Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College.

By |2011-03-30T14:56:37-04:00March 30th, 2011|News, Study Abroad, Travel Journals - England|