Saturday, September 15, 2012

“Ahoy there!”

We drove down the Roger, Jane and Oliver’s last night in preparation for our trip to see the newly restored Cutty Sark at Greenwich today.
Our journey begins...
After breakfast on Saturday, we took the short drive to Harlow Town station and that took us to Stratford Station where we jumped on the DLR to Cutty Sark. The weather promised a warm day - and as we were to find out, it actually turned out to be a really HOT one in London (surely, the last day of Summer - again!).

We weren’t sure what to expect with the Ship itself. I haven’t seen it for years and as most people know, a massive restoration on it some years back resulted in a serious fire, which delayed the renovation. It was reopened in April this year by the Queen (who had done the same in 1957), after even more money was thrown at it.

We needn’t have been concerned, as the transformation was fantastic! They’d even managed to raise the ship up by some three metres which meant visitors could now actually get underneath the Ship too - brilliant!

Views of the Cutty Sark
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Underneath the Cutty Sark
Underneath the Cutty Sark
Underneath the Cutty Sark
View from the deck of the Cutty Sark
And on board was just as impressive - plenty to see and get involved in, including steering a virtual ship, and seating that rocked up and down as if you were actually at sea!
On board the Cutty Sark
On board the Cutty Sark
On board the Cutty Sark
On board the Cutty Sark
On board the Cutty Sark
On board the Cutty Sark
On board the Cutty Sark
After we’d explored the ship to death, we headed for a well earned break in the new cafe there. It was situated underneath the ship and there was a great view of various ships’ figureheads at the other end.
'T'was on the good ship Venus...'
'...my God you should have seen us...'
After our refreshments we headed off to the Royal Naval College. We haven’t been here since July last year with Ralph and Karen and it’s always really interesting looking around the old buildings there - The Painted Hall and The Chapel are just spectacular. Looking further afield,although the Olympics had ended, there were still signs of the equestrian arena, but from what we could make out, it was slowly being dismantled.
Views around the Dockyard
Inside The Chapel
Inside The Chapel
Looking out towards the Painted Hall from The Chapel
The ceiling in the Painted Hall
Then we walked up the hill to Greenwich Observatory (together with what seemed like 5 million others!), just in time for the famous sphere at the top of the Observatory to rise and fall signifying midday (GMT) - 1 o’clock.
Nearly time to...
Midday! (1pm)
Just as I cracked-off my last shot of the area, the camera battery failed putting paid to any further photographs today. :(

A perfect opportunity then, to stop for a bite to eat! We tried the small restaurant in the foyer of the new entrance to the National Maritime Museum. Suitably stuffed we headed for the Museum itself. Our last visit was back in 2009, and this time round, it seemed to have even more to offer with the covered area outside forming the extension, making the whole place feel even larger.

By now, we were all cultured-out, so we made our way back to Greenwich and took the Thames Clipper to Embankment and then the Liverpool St Station before jumping on the Stansted Express for the final leg of our journey. We were back at Roger, Jane and Oliver’s by 6, totally exhausted and ready for food and drink! There was plenty of both - a extensive range of ales (presented by Oliver in full ‘wine-waiter’ mode!) complemented by Roger and Jane’s very tasty curry, with all the bits.

After the meal, I lasted only a short time until 10pm, where I crashed-out.

It’s been a great day - the weather has been perfect (again!) and it was a real treat looking round that part of London. I think it’s convinced us both even more that when retirement comes, we’ll be settling in London somewhere.