Dear Luke and Leia,
Today is our second day in London and we have chosen to take a river cruise on the Thames. The cruise we booked runs from downtown London all the way up to Greenwich.
It is cold and rainy today, but thankfully out sightseeing boat is well prepared for this. There are glass windows to keep everyone warm and dry while we listen to the guide and watch the city pass by.
Our river cruise on the Thames begins by heading towards London’s famous Tower Bridge. That’s the same one we rode across yesterday on the HoHo tour bus.
It was different looking at the bridge from the Thames river level instead of street level. It looks so much more impressive when you are at this level as it towers over you while passing under it. The people look minuscule compared to the base of the tower!
Next we cruise through the area known as the docklands. This is where the shipping for London loads and unloads and has been used to many of hundreds of years. Now there is a convention center named Excel located in this area and lots of hotels and restaurants to serve the conference goers.
We liked the Financial District because all the skyscrapers reached into the clouds and seemed to pull them down. It looked like one of the clouds was a tornado over the Citi building, but it was not.
Finally, we reached Greenwich, which marks the far end of the river cruise. And it’s not pronounced “Green-Witch,” interestingly enough. Londoners call it “Gren-Itch.”
This is the place where the time zones of the world start, known as GMT or Greenwich Mean Time. From this point, the time changes hour by hour as you move around the globe.
There are 24 zones in total, all radiating outwards from Greenwich. On the other side of the planet, you reach the International Date Line in the Pacific Ocean. The Date Line is where the date changes. And it’s not a straight line; it dodges islands along the way so that the dates and times are consistent in each place.
Sights along the Thames
We saw so many interesting buildings and some very stately architecture while on the Thames. Many had columns and domes and ornate designs on them like those above. And we also saw the London Eye!
We came across the HMS Belfast battleship. It’s been decommissioned and is now a naval museum. The battleship was launched in 1938 and fought in both the Second World War and the Korean War. The ship was impressive from the view we had. This ship’s era marks the ending of the British Empire and the time the United States rose to world power.
At one time the British Empire stretched across the whole world. It was said the sun never set upon the British Empire. Do you know why? Because God didn’t trust the Brits in the dark.
We are reaching the end of our river cruise on the Thames river. We have seen such an overview of London in the first two days of our layover in London, but tomorrow we will focus on the Tower of London. I think it’s time for a pint with my half-pint (Nana) at a local pub and some fish and chips for dinner.
We miss you both.
Nana and Pap
P.S. – There’s a nice 4-star boutique hotel in London’s West End called Park Grand London Hyde Park Hotel. It’s not far from Paddington Station and Heathrow Express, which makes it a super convenient location for taking day trips from London.