It quickly became evident when I moved here that I would miss two (to me) very important things; quiet places and good walking areas without too much traffic. It also quickly became obvious that these two things would not be easy to find, despite everything else that London offers. But after 8 months I have finally found a place here that is both quiet and absolutely perfect for long, uninterrupted walks.
When my parents visited last week we agreed on taking a day-trip to Greenwich, a place I had been in once before with the boyfriend but which I wanted to see more of with my parents.
As you can’t get to Greenwich by simply jumping onto the tube and since none of us had tried it before, we decided to head down to Westminster Pier to go on a River Cruise down the Thames all the way to Greenwich. For what is more fitting than exploring the maritime history of London than by seeing the city from the water? We all thought it was a very lovely and different way of seeing the city and its impressive skyline of old and new buildings. It was also a calming way of transportation, as the wind blew in our faces and we heard the water splash against the side of the boat as it moved us further down the river. I especially enjoyed the impressive sight of the Shard and seeing the ArtsArk, a community of connected house boats that had been transformed into floating gardens!
We landed by Greenwich Pier, right by Cutty Sark and headed for our first stop, the Maritime Museum, but on our way saw some stunning buildings belonging to the Old Royal Naval College, which had the most beautiful columned walkways of light and shadow that were a pleasure to photograph. After taking a tour around the Maritime Museum, we walked through the oh so green, vast and calm Greenwich Park and up the hill towards the Royal Observatory. At one point I turned around on the hill and discovered the most fantastic view of London, with the green grass and tall trees of the park just below my feet, the beautiful white buildings of the Maritime Museum and the Naval College lying by the river in the background and even further away, above the treetops, the O2.
When we finally reached the top of the hill the view only improved but to our disappointment we discovered that the observatory now charges people to come in and stand on each side of the Prime Meridian. Not particularly feeling like queuing up for that we walked around the observatory instead, enjoying the beautiful landscape of the park, making friends with curious squirrels and finding the most tranquil, little garden behind the observatory full of fresh smelling flowers. And on our way back, as we walked around the walls of the observatory we suddenly found ourselves in front of a part of the Prime Meridian line that went down the wall and onto the ground, so we stopped here to take cheesy photos of us standing on each side of the world (and without paying to get into the courtyard, where the rest of the line lead to).
As we headed back down the hill we took a stop by the Queen’s House and saw the beautiful and seemingly impossibly constructed Tulip Stairs, that rests on its own steps and nothing else! On our way back we took the futuristic Docklands Light Railway that I have come to love, as it reminds me a bit of a mix between a rollercoaster and a sci fi landscape. Like the boat cruise this is another different and refreshing way of seeing the city! We ended the day by meeting up with my boyfriend and eating gorgeous food at the Italian restaurant Strada, not to mention a melting chocolate fondant for dessert that was to die for! After a day of fresh air, green spaces, long walks, museums and great food with my favourite people, I was more than happy. Can a day get anymore perfect than this? *