Saturday, October 01, 2022

London Day Trip: Greenwich to Canary Wharf

On a Saturday morning, we took the train (20 minutes) to Blackheath. While Central London seems to be swarming with tourists and students, Blackheath seems to be where families live. The heath is almosted connected to Greenwich Park. On the Saturday morning there were popup markets, kiddy football practice, cricket matches, people running or cycling together....

The official Greenwich Prime Meridian Line is in the courtyard of the Royal Observatory. Luckily the line actually spews out below, where I could photo John without shelling out 16 pounds/pp for something so arbitrary, yet another manifestation of imperialism. The viewpoint by the Observatory is nonetheless magnificent.

Going down the hill towards the River Thames, we first stopped in at the Queen's House (1600s). Its Tulip Stairs had us enthralled. The National Maritime Museum is really a children's affair. Going by the Cutty Sark (1800s clipper), we crossed the Thames via the Greenwich Foot Tunnel, opened in 1902, replacing ferries for workers at the docks and shipyards. Of course, nowadays there is barely a shadow of the industrial activities along the Thames. There is a path along much of the river on either bank. We followed it to Canary Wharf. Along the way, there are redevelopment projects of many different eras, including many ongoing. A significant percentage of the world's cranes seemed to have migrated from China to London. In fact, walking through Canary Wharf, I could easily imagine myself in Shanghai.


We started our day trip by catching the SouthEastern Line at Charing Cross Station.
Charing Cross Station - Day Trip to Greenwich - London, England, UK

Getting off the SouthEastern Line at Blackheath (Sun-Ling at left).
Blackheath Station - Day Trip to Greenwich - London, England, UK

Football practice on the heath.
Blackheath - Day Trip to Greenwich - London, England, UK

View from Blackheath to Canary Wharf (pyramid roof in the distance).
From from Blackheath to Canary Wharf - Day Trip to Greenwich - London, England, UK

Cricket.
Cricket - Day Trip to Greenwich - London, England, UK

View from Greenwich Park to London.
Day Trip to Greenwich - London, England, UK

The Royal Observatory is adjacent to the "possibly dangerous" viewpoint.
Royal Observatory Greenwich - Day Trip to Greenwich - London, England, UK

Royal Observatory - Day Trip to Greenwich - London, England, UK

Day Trip to Greenwich - London, England, UK


Prime Meridian Line Posing.
Prime Meridian Line Posing - Day Trip to Greenwich - London, England, UK

Prime Meridian Line - Royal Observatory Greenwich - Day Trip to Greenwich - London, England, UK

The Queen's House is the white building in the middle with the Canary Wharf financial district skyline behind.
Day Trip to Greenwich - London, England, UK

The Tulip Stairs at the Queen's House.
Day Trip to Greenwich - London, England, UK

View from Queen's House to Canary Wharf.
Day Trip to Greenwich - London, England, UK

The famous Cutty Sark, a British clipper ship.
Greenwich - London, England, UK

Inside the Greenwich Foot Tunnel (SL at left).
Greenwich Foot Tunnel - London, England, UK

Looking back to Greenwich from the North Thames Path.
Isle of Dogs - London, England, UK

Remnants of the Great Eastern shipyard and slipway.
Great Western Slipway - Isle of Dogs - London, England, UK

View from the Thames Path.
Isle of Dogs - London, England, UK

Canary Wharf financial district.
Canary Wharf - Isle of Dogs - London, England, UK

Canary Wharf - Isle of Dogs - London, England, UK

View from Canary Wharf west to Central London.
River Thames - Isle of Dogs - London, England, UK

Monday, September 26, 2022

British Museum vs V&A - London

Our one and only visit to London circa 1996 did NOT take in any museum. Museums are ALL I wanted to accomplish this time. Within the first couple of hours, we both realized that those two museums are designed for the uninitiated. Though we have been around the world a few times, there are still many places we are yet to visit, the British Museum and the V&A are great.

The number of objects exhibited in the two museums are astronomical, may even be unparalleled by any other museum, and they are both global in coverage. In every other way the two are opposite and complementary. For a museum of its size and caliber, the British Museum is quite unique in that it mostly only collects artifacts. The V&A on the hand is an all-in-one history, technology, decorative art, ethnography, whatever else museum.

British Museum V&A
Focus on antiquity Focus on the recent half millenium
More about collecting More about educating
Real artifacts Use of reproduction
Specialized scope Generalized scope

Both are exhausting yet fun to explore.

The Great Court of the British Museum.
British Museum - London, England, UK

There's always a crowd around the Rosetta Stone.
The Rosetta Stone - British Museum - London, England, UK

This stairwell between rooms of the Egyptian exhibits was filled with Roman Mosaics which we love to see.
British Museum - London, England, UK

And the Egyptian exhibit halls were very popular as well.
Egyptian Rooms - British Museum - London, England, UK

British Museum - London, England, UK

British Museum - London, England, UK


The Assyrian monumental pieces were very cool.
British Museum - London, England, UK

And we were excited to see this set of Chinese Guardians in the Asian section.
Ceramic Chinese Guardians - British Museum - London, England, UK

The central Garden of the V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum); a great place to take a break.
V&A - (Victoria and Albert Museum) - London, England, UK

One of the highlights of the V&A is the main lobby blue, yellow, and green, chandelier.
V&A - (Victoria and Albert Museum) - London, England, UK

The V&A has life-size plaster casts (and replicas/copies) of some of the great monuments of Medieval and Ancient Europe. Here is Trajan's Column (from the Roman Forum) in two sections.
V&A - (Victoria and Albert Museum) - London, England, UK

Here is a copy/cast of David by Michelangelo and behind on the wall is a copy of School of Athens by Raphael. Sun-Ling and I have seen both in situ, so it was somewhat underwhelming to see these copies.
V&A - (Victoria and Albert Museum) - London, England, UK

The Raphael Cartoons were a highlight even though we've seen the actual tapestries in the Sistine Chapel.
V&A - (Victoria and Albert Museum) - London, England, UK

Thursday, September 22, 2022

We are in London

My birthday was cut short as we flew to London Heathrow on the 7:25pm flight and lost few hours of September 21st. ;-).

On the Airplane from Raleigh (RDU) to London Heathrow (LHR)

Friday, August 05, 2022

Our Next Adventure

We are flying to London 9/21 and returning 12/14 from Rome. Our tentative plan is to spend a week in London, 5 weeks in the north of France and 6 weeks in Italy working our way down to Sicily.

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Finally in Vic

Right before COVID we had tickets to fly on 3/20/2020 to Barcelona then train directly to Vic. Two years and two months later, we finally made it to Vic so we could catch our flight from Barcelona to San Francisco.

Vic is distinguished by its plaza major; big, unpaved, and preserved in the traditional style. We had just enough energy to go around the city center to check out all the modernismo buildings.

Our 10-week tour of Spain is ending. We loved every bit of it. It was abundantly clear to us, since our previous trip in 2017, Spain has made a lot of progress and is in ascendance.

Our first look at Plaza Major on the minor market day.
Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

Architecture - Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

We stayed in a hotel on the 2nd floor of the old train station - just a one minute walk to the tracks.
Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

It rained the afternoon we arrived, but we still walked around town, plus made an appointment for our (then mandatory) COVID-19 test.
Architecture - Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

Architecture - Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

Architecture - Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

No curbs, few cars downtown.
Architecture - Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

Architecture - Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

Vic, Osona, Barcelona, Catalunya

The Cathedral is enormous (with a cloister).
Architecture - Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

Architecture - Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

Architecture - Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

Architecture - Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya



The clinic we used for our covid shot is across the small plaza from the Cathedral. Bonus: it's a beautiful Modernismo building.
Architecture - Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

There is a restored Roman Temple in Vic.
Roman Temple - Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

A block of Modernismo buildings.
Architecture - Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

Architecture - Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

Architecture - Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

Small Plaza.
Architecture - Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

This balcony caught my eye.
Architecture - Vic, Barcelona, Catalunya

Later in the day we spotted the snow-capped Pryeneese in the distance
Vic, Osona, Barcelona, Catalunya

The striking Sant Jordi Building.
Vic, Osona, Barcelona, Catalunya

Political murals and graffiti.
Mural - Vic, Osona, Barcelona, Catalunya

Street festival.
Vic, Osona, Barcelona, Catalunya

Vic, Osona, Barcelona, Catalunya

A few more murals.
Mural - Vic, Osona, Barcelona, Catalunya

Mural - Vic, Osona, Barcelona, Catalunya

Mural - Vic, Osona, Barcelona, Catalunya

Mural - Vic, Osona, Barcelona, Catalunya

Our final view of Plaza MaJor.
Vic, Osona, Barcelona, Catalunya

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