Our last morning in London we woke up at a reasonable hour, enjoyed our routine hearty breakfast (unlimited access to Bacon, Sausage, Hashbrowns, Beans, Eggs, Mushrooms, Croissants, Cereal, Yogurt, Fruit Salad, Muffins, Coffee, Hot Chocolate, Bread, Cheese, Ham and Orange Juice) before heading far across London, and the Thames, to Greenwich - home of the Royal Observatory (and Cutty Sark, and Maritime Museum - though we didn't visit those places). The directions I was given told us that we needed to get out of the DLR (Docklands Light Rail) station at Cutty Sark (across from a giant old boat) and then walk through the park and up the hill. This translated into "get out at a station with construction. Walk up 100 stairs, through a Naval College, cut through the Queen's house next to the Maritime Museum, and then walk to the top of a VERY STEEP HILL." Check. So a good mornings aerobic activity (not that the 100 km we'd walked in the 9 days previous could be called lazy). It was a drizzling, cool morning, but we made it to a rather unassuming brick building at the top of the hill. There are many things awesome about this place that made it worth the climb and effort.
|Meridian House, housing many astronomical relics (top), entrance to the Royal Observatory (bottom left) and walking through (and up) Greenwich Park (bottom right).|
|Our group straddling the Prime Meridian int he Courtyard (top) and individually Qudrat, Mr. Becker, myself and Celina & Serena (bottom)|
|Harjot & Rene (top left), Kiran & Harpreet (bottom left), and Suesha, Simran and Harleen (right), on either sides of the Prime Meridian.|
|The 24 hour magnetic clock outside the Observatory. Also, a place that the British could go back in the 1600's to measure items. They placed them between the two brass pegs to get a definite Yard, foot, or 6 inch measurement.|
4. Christopher Wren, architect who built St. Paul's Cathedral, Kensington Palace, and many other famous British Buildings, also built the Royal Observatory, including the octagon room. The king at the time heard that Louis XIV of France was building an observatory, and insisted that Britain have one too. He only have £500 to spend, and Wren said he was up to the task and completed it for only £520. From that point on the Astronomer Royal was appointed by the King/Queen and lived here in what is now known as the Flamsteed House - After Flamsteed, the first astronomer Royal.
|Top - Tombstone of Halley, second Astronomer Royal (and discoverer of Halley's Comet), Sidereal Clock, and ancient measuring devices. Bottom, the octagon room.|
|view of the Queen's house, Maritime Museum and Naval College from the top of the hill, and London beyond (left); the Prime Meridian (right) complete with distances to various cities from this line (measured in degrees).|