Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Day Two - London

Our first full day in London after eight hours of sleep! Just as I get my body adjusted to the new time I'll be hopping on a plane again tomorrow for another ten hour flight. At least on that flight I will only lose another 3 hours time difference.
But first, today's adventure.
We woke up around 8am and upon looking out the window could tell right away this was a more typical March London day then the beautiful weather we had yesterday. It was very gray outside and judging by the people's dress, much colder.
Penny was excited to find out one of her friends, Monika, she was meeting up with was already at the hotel so we met her and her father downstairs for breakfast.
After breakfast Penny and I headed off for our first adventure on the famous London Underground. We headed to Greenwich to tour the Royal Observatory.

Royal Observatory at Greenwich.

While at the Royal Observatory we got a chance to see some pretty cool items from astronomy history.
Remnants of Flamsteed's well telescope.
 
Flamsteeds telescope. The technology was amazing for the time. And would have worked better had it not been so humid in London. Humid in London? Who would have thunk? 

And also the only remaining piece of William Herschel's giant 40' reflecting telescope. I've seen drawings of this huge scope but always assumed it was completely destroyed or dismantled and yet here it is, a small section that remains, standing right in front of me.

 An actual piece of William Herschel's telescope!

Then into the museum to check out a bit more astronomy history.....

 
 
 
 
 

After checking out the telescopes in the museum it was time to stand on the line. The Prime Meridian Line of course. The official line that separates East & West. This has to be the coolest "Traveling Foot" shot yet!


The marker on the wall for the original line.

The Prime Meridian line. This is the original line marking East & West. 

The shot above was taken on the original line. The new line that is in the Meridian Courtyard is a little wider and has the longitudes of major cities around the world printed along it.

 



Once we finished here it was on over to the planetarium for a show. The planetarium is housed underground below this structure here.

 

I forget the exact amount of copper in this planetarium roof but the tour guide mentioned prior to the show there was no need to worry about silencing your cell phones because there was absolutely no reception under the roof that contained several tonnes of copper!

Once the show was over it was time to head back towards the hotel but not before first grabbing a quick snack/lunch at a local coffee shop.Then back into the underground to re-trace our steps. 
Time was running short so we skipped the tour of the London Bridge and headed back towards the London Eye to take a ride. Of course along the way I had to grab a shot of one of the many iconic double decker red buses running all around London.....

Of course I had to capture a shot of the iconic London Double Decker buses.

Next stop, the London Eye. The strange thing is that it never stops... It is moving so slow people exit and enter the "pods" while it's still moving. Here's a shot of the pod just ahead of us on the 35-40 minute loop.

On the London Eye. It amazing how this ride actually works. It never comes to a complete stop. It's constantly slowly roting and people get off on one side and enter on the other. It takes about 35-40 minutes for it to make one rotation. Better hope you don't need to pee!!!

And a couple shots from the vantage point high above the River Thames.

Looking down on the River Thames from aboard the London Eye.
Looking down on the Palace of Westminster (Parliament) from aboard the London Eye.

Penny & Parliament from the London Eye.

Understatement of the year....
That's an understatement.  Though I doubt leaning on the door would open it, there's no sense taking any chances.
Though I highly doubt leaning against the door would cause it to open.

After the ride it was a short break in our hotel room then off to dinner at an Italian restaurant across the street from our hotel. The place was decked out in mob movie memorabilia from such great movies as The Godfather, Goodfellas, & Casino.
Next it was last minute prep for my departure tomorrow and then bed time.  Goodnight ya'll.