Defining Time and Space: London

Las Chicas head to the Thames River for a boat journey on the Thames Clipper to Greenwich, just outside of London. While they wait, they see this sculpture commemorating the people of Spain and their struggle against tyranny in the Spanish Civil War:

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The boat travels beneath the London Bridge and Lisa weathers the cold of the boat’s stern to capture photos of the bridge and “The Shard” a new, controversial skyscraper, the tallest in Western Europe.

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DEFINING TIME

In Greenwich, Las Chicas walk through the lovely park to the hill of the Royal Observatory. From the observatory they see this view of the Royal Naval College in the foreground and London’s financial district in the background. The Thames flows between them.

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One of the many clocks at the museum provides a backdrop for tourista pictures. Note the position of the red ball on the pole (down) on top of the Royal Observatory:

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In the courtyard, we learn that the ball is raised at 1 pm, exactly, and then comes back down. We witness the ball’s rise. The ball does not come back down. It’s stuck! But the world kept turning as usual. (We’ll spare you the tale about how the ball got dented during renovations.) A quirky courtyard it was.

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Prime Meridian sculpture marking the line between the western hemisphere on the left an the eastern hemisphere on the right:IMG_3826

Inside the Royal Observatory, Lisa checks out an old telescope support system. Did you know that the planet Uranus was discovered here by a Royal Astronomer? Now you do.

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An old astronomer’s celestial globe of the earth and the stars, featuring the Taurus constellation.

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Harrison’s time piece, H4, that solved the problem of longitude for navigators, for more info, go to: http://www.rmg.co.uk/harrison#longitude

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On the way back to the Thames, Las Chicas see a large model of the Cutty Sark in bottle at the Maritime Museum and the real deal in dry dock. Built in 1869, the Cutty Sark was one of the last and fastest tea clipper ships. Steam propulsion took over, and the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 meant shorter routes to India and China.

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Before heading back to the Thames Clipper (no sails, alas), Las Chicas explore the Royal Naval College grounds, now Greenwich University and assorted museums. Christopher Wren designed the Royal Naval College buildings, right down to the doors:

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Back in London, Las Chicas enjoy the evening view of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament:

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DEFINING SPACE

The next day, Las Chicas explored the Kensington neighborhood on Boris Bikes including shopping and lunch on Kensington High Street. In the afternoon, they went to the Victoria and Albert Museum, the world’s largest museum for decorative arts and design.  We focused on sculpture and jewelry design.

They especially enjoyed the special courtyard pond installation. See if  you see the fish under water and animals on the “cliffs”:

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That night, London friends Meg and Judy hosted a lovely dinner party with plenty of down home chili, corn bread, cookies and brownies. A fine end to a fine day.

© 2013 by Lisa Howells and Mary Reynolds. All rights reserved.

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