Sunday, July 5, 2015

London Day 5: Greenwich with a Greeter, pub meet.

England Day 10

London Day 5:  Today was our last sightseeing day.  On the agenda: a tour of Greenwich with a London Greeter (1030am), the rest of the Greenwich sights, and a pub meet.

We woke up to overcast skies and high chances of rain.  It was also a lot cooler than it had been. 

Before we met our Greeter, we decided to book a taxi to take us to the airport in the morning.  We just did not feel like taking the tube.  I recalled Blackberry Cabs had good reviews on Tripadvisor so we called them.  The cost was 32GBP (as compared to the 55GBP that the driver recommended by Londonconnection charged).  We just hoped they would be on time.

We got to the Cutty Sark tube station in Greenwich to meet Eleanor, our Greeter, a few minutes past our agreed upon time.  She is former resident of Greenwich with deep family connections to the area.  It was raining pretty hard at this point and I was glad for my umbrella but wished I also had my rain jacket like husband and nephew.

Eleanor took us on a 1.5 hour tour highlighting the history of Greenwich, its role in the Second World War, the Cutty Sark, Henry VIII and his palace, the Queen's Palace, and so much more.  It was wonderful to see Greenwich through her eyes.  She left us at the lovely Wren Chapel at the Old Royal Navy College.

By the end of the Greet, the day had turned gorgeous!  The weather was finally what we had been expecting the whole trip (sigh, on our last day, of course).  We definitely were not done with Greenwich but empty stomachs needed to be filled.  We ended up at Greenwich Tavern.  We had burgers, fish and chips, and beer.  It was all ok.  Definitely not my favorite pub grub on the trip.

We decided against visiting the National Maritime Museum but did pop into the Queen's House designed for Anne of Denmark by Inigo Jones.  It's now a  museum for art with maritime themes.  We then made our way through the pretty park up to the Royal Observatory.  It's quite a little hike up that hill!  But so worth it.  We spend a good hour or more roaming around the free sights, taking pictures, looking at everything.

The cost to get into the Royal Observatory was pretty high (15GBP) and the lines for the Mean Meridian photo op were very long so we decided against it.  But we still wanted to see the Mean Meridian Line.  Luckily husband overheard a guide telling a young family that they could see the line for free just down the hill by the "kissing gate."  He found this "kissing gate" and we got our photo op on the Mean Meridian line.  No waiting, no cost, excellent tip!  It's actually one of my favorite pictures from this trip. :)
Gorgeous view of London
It was a beautiful day
Bronze observatory 
On the "free" Mean Meridian Line

We headed back to the Cutty Sark tube station but decided to take the boat back to Embankment.  It was a nice but kind of long ride.
Leaving Greenwich by boat
We took the tube back to our "neighborhood" for some souvenir shopping.  Husband and nephew went to the Buckingham Palace Gift shop while I hit up Marks & Spencer.  We all were happy with our purchases (but once we got home I wished I'd bought more Percy Pigs and Digestives).  We stopped at the Phoenix for restorative brews before starting the dreaded packing up.

I was really looking forward to the TripAdvisor London Forum Pub Meet for a couple of reasons: 1. I'd get to meet people who were kind enough to answer questions on the forum and 2. because we were meeting at Blackfriars Pub which was high on my list of pubs to see on this trip.

Blackfriars Pub
When we got there (so very easy to find!), locals adamhornets and Mrs. adamhornets, leagle, and IloveNYandLondon were there along with tourist lonestarlady and her lovely mom.  One other tourist arrived but I can't remember here name (sorry).  It was a very nice time.  We had some pub grub and drank a few beers.  Lonestarlady and her mom told husband that a highlight for them so far was the Ceremony of the Keys.  He told me "I guess we should have gone."  (wife shook head and refrained from saying "I told you so!").  We left around 930pm.

So that was the end of our last day and evening in London.  We finished packing up our bags and got some sleep to get ready for our long haul trip back home.

Next: get back to the US!

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