A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: longjerr

Day 1 - Arrival in London

British Museum

sunny 85 °F
View Judy & Jerry's British Isles Exploration on longjerr's travel map.

We landed at London about 9 AM, three hours late due to delays at Dulles. Got to our hotel, The Royal Lancaster, just before noon. After a brief lunch, our room was ready. The hotel is on the north side of Hyde Park, roughly in the middle, maybe a 10 minute walk from Marble Arch. We decided to head for the British Museum, which we had not been able to see in previous visits.

The British Museum contains archeological finds from the great British explorations of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. For example, when we visited the Parthenon in Athens, most of the friezes that decorated the walls were missing. They are in the British Museum. There is a statue of Ramesses II from his mortuary in Egypt (the one from Exodus played by Yul Brynner). It also includes the Rosetta Stone and statues from Nineveh and much more. Really interesting and worth the visit.

We knew the Rosetta Stone had enabled historians to translate hieroglyphics but did not know how. It is a fragment from a stele announcing the same royal decree in three languages: hieroglyphics, Demotic, and Greek. Well, they knew Greek, so could decipher the rest.

Dinner was at The Victoria, a pub several blocks away from the hotel. The fish and chips were awesome! Jerry had several pints of bitter.

Entrance to British Museum

Entrance to British Museum


Judy on Steps to British Museum

Judy on Steps to British Museum


Entrance to Palace of Sargon

Entrance to Palace of Sargon


Venus

Venus


Ram Sphinx of King Taharqu from Kawa, Egypt

Ram Sphinx of King Taharqu from Kawa, Egypt


Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone


Ramesses II

Ramesses II


King Amenhotep III as a Lion

King Amenhotep III as a Lion


Central Hall in British Museum - Note Ceiling

Central Hall in British Museum - Note Ceiling

Jerry in Front of British Museum

Jerry in Front of British Museum

Posted by longjerr 16:32 Archived in England

Day 2 - London

Oxford (Known to some as Hogwarts)

sunny 90 °F
View Judy & Jerry's British Isles Exploration on longjerr's travel map.

After much deliberation, we decided to visit Oxford on our second day. We had previously spent a week in London, so had hit most of the highlights.

After booking tickets on line, we walked a few blocks to Paddington Station and boarded the train for Oxford, a little less than an hour ride. The train was great, clean and fast. It was a 10 minute walk from the station to the center of town where we met our guide.

Oxford was founded in the 13th century and consists of 39 separate colleges. Each college is a set of buildings surrounding a grassy quadrangle or quad. The buildings contain the dorm rooms, prof's offices, chapel, etc. They don't contain lecture halls. The teaching is done in the offices one-on-one or in small groups. When a lecture is necessary, it is conducted in a hall separate from the college. Each college has only several hundred students.

Although colleges may have their own library, they share the resources of the Bodleian Library. This library is one of seven copyright libraries in England that must contain at least one of every book published in England. Books must be read in the Library and cannot be removed.

Radcliffe Camera was designed by Christopher Wren to be a reading room for the Bodleian. Flames were not allowed so as to protect the books, so it was designed for as much natural light as possible. A camera is a chamber or room.

Christchurch may be the most well-known college. It has provided 13 Prime Ministers. All of the colleges in rival Cambridge have only provided 11.

Many of the Harry Potter Hogwarts scenes were filmed in Oxford. One of the pictures below shows the Divinity School, which was used as the Infirmary in several movies.

Lunch was in the oldest pub in Oxford, the Bear.

After the train ride back, we cleaned up and had a quick supper at the hotel. Our evening entertainment was The Book of Mormon at the Prince of Wales Theater in the West End. Funny, but very naughty and raunchy! After the show, we had dessert and prosecco in a nearby restaurant.

Judy in Paddington Station Headed for Oxford

Judy in Paddington Station Headed for Oxford

Balliol College (1249) - Oldest College at Oxford

Balliol College (1249) - Oldest College at Oxford

Facade of Sherburne Theater

Facade of Sherburne Theater

Oxford Street Scene

Oxford Street Scene

Radcliffe Camera

Radcliffe Camera

Oldest Bookstore in Oxford

Oldest Bookstore in Oxford

Entrance to Divinity School

Entrance to Divinity School

Divinity School (Infirmary in Harry Potter Movies)

Divinity School (Infirmary in Harry Potter Movies)

Bridge of Sighs

Bridge of Sighs

A College Quad

A College Quad

A College Chapel

A College Chapel

Street Scene

Street Scene

View of Christchurch College

View of Christchurch College

Posted by longjerr 16:34 Archived in England

Day 3 - Greenwich

Cutty Sark and the Maritime Museum

sunny 92 °F
View Judy & Jerry's British Isles Exploration on longjerr's travel map.

After breakfast in the Royal Lancaster (which we highly recommend by the way), we boarded a bus for the one hour drive to Greenwich where we checked in and boarded the Viking Venus. Venus is a brand new ship, about 900 passengers. Our deluxe veranda cabin is on the fourth deck on the port side just astern of the aft elevators, which makes it perfect for reaching either the Cafe on Deck 7 or the Restaurant on Deck 2.

After lunch we headed out to hit some of our targets in Greenwich. First was the Cutty Sark, which may have been the fastest of the tea clippers. It was built in 1868. It rests in a dry dock, now a museum, near our dock in Greenwich. You can see from the pix that it carried five and six tiers of sails, a huge sail area. It normally cruised at 17 knots, or about 20 mph. That is about the speed of the cruise ships we have been on. What was interesting is that it was a hybrid construction, with a steel frame and a wooden hull. Seeing it was one of the highlights for Jerry.

Next up was the National Maritime Museum. This traced the history of sea trade in Britain and included exhibits on Polar Exploration and Nelson and the British Navy. There were many beautiful wooden models of British frigates and ships of the line. The Nelson exhibit, with his coat from Trafalgar, was particularly great.

All of these, plus our excursions tomorrow are in the Royal Park of Greenwich.

Viking Venus in Greenwich

Viking Venus in Greenwich

National Maritime Museum

National Maritime Museum



Jerry at the Helm

Jerry at the Helm

Cutty Sark Masts and Rigging

Cutty Sark Masts and Rigging

Cutty Sark Deck

Cutty Sark Deck

Jerry on Cutty Sark

Jerry on Cutty Sark

Posted by longjerr 16:40 Archived in England

Day 4 - Greenwich

Walking Tour and Royal Observatory

sunny 90 °F

The morning was a walking tour in Greenwich with the ship departing at 2 PM.

Below is a picture of St. Elfridge's Church. He was a monk in Canterbury who was kidnapped by Danes in the ninth century and taken to Greenwich. The church marks the site where he was martyred. Henry VIII was baptized in this church.

Greenwich Palace was the home base for the Tudor's, Henry VIII's family. The Queens house was built for one of the Tudor queens who did not want to live in the palace. Unfortunately, she died before she could move in.

All of these sites are located in the Greenwich Royal Park on land owned by the Royal Family. The equestrian events for the London Olympics were held here.

We left the tour midway to take in the Royal Observatory. Much of the development work on clocks, astrolabes, and sextants took place here. While others (Dutch or Portuguese) developed navigational systems for latitude (north-south position), it was the English that developed a system for determining longitude (east-west position). And the system was dependent on accurate timekeeping. A ship carried two clocks with the time set to Greenwich Mean Time. Then they noted the time when the sun reached its peak (local noon). The longitude could be calculated by the difference from Greenwich Mean Time as shown on their ship's clocks. This told them the degrees east or west of the prime meridian in Greenwich. Voyages sometimes lasted years, so the clocks had to be accurate for long periods. However, the clocks at that time used pendulum movements, which were not stable on a rolling ship. This drove the development of portable clocks with mechanical movements.

In one picture you will see me looking up at a red ball on top of the building. The observatory measured the suns position and dropped the ball when the sun reached its peak. All the ships in the Thames below would then adjust their clocks to noon.

The observatory also housed a succession of telescopes, including the largest of their time. These were used to study the movements of the stars as a basis for navigation.

The trip down the Thames was very interesting, and it lasted for three hours or more. We had to leave exactly at high tide in order clear the Tidal Barrier partway down the Thames. This series of barriers can be rotated to restrict the flow of water up the Thames to prevent flooding caused by king tides or wind.

Cutty Sark

Cutty Sark

St. Elfridge's Church

St. Elfridge's Church

Jerry in Front of Royal Observatory

Jerry in Front of Royal Observatory

Judy Straddling the Prime Meridien

Judy Straddling the Prime Meridien

View of Greenwich Park, Queen's House, and Greenwich Palace from Royal Observatory

View of Greenwich Park, Queen's House, and Greenwich Palace from Royal Observatory

Greenwich Palace (Home of the Tudors)

Greenwich Palace (Home of the Tudors)

Posted by longjerr 15:36 Archived in England

Day 5 AM - Dover

Dover Castle


View Judy & Jerry's British Isles Exploration on longjerr's travel map.

After sailing overnight, we woke up to the view of the white cliffs of Dover! We could see Dover Castle on top of the hill above the cliffs and decided to tour the castle on our own in the morning. We took a cab from the pier expecting it to climb the hill for us, but it dropped us off about halfway up. Still a climb!

Dover Castle has been called the Key to England. Meaning, if you conquered that castle, you could take England. It was never conquered.

There was a fort on the hill in the Iron Age, as well as a Roman fort later. Henry II built the Tower in 1120. Later, it was a key fortification in World War I and II. What was secret until the 1980s was that there was a network of tunnels under the castle that was used for military planning in World War II, and it was to be a Royal Bomb Shelter in case of a nuclear attack.

The Tower closely resembles the Tower of London, which was built only several decades earlier.

White Cliffs of Dover

White Cliffs of Dover

Dover Castle

Dover Castle

Banquet Room in Dover Castle

Banquet Room in Dover Castle

St. Mary's Church and Roman Lighthouse

St. Mary's Church and Roman Lighthouse

Throne Room at Dover Castle

Throne Room at Dover Castle

Dover Castle and Tower - The Key to England

Dover Castle and Tower - The Key to England

The Beach at Dover

The Beach at Dover

Posted by longjerr 19:12 Archived in England

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