We only had one day in London, so we decided not to fight the crowds at the major sights. Instead, we decided to strike out and see where the day took us. And a fabulous day it was indeed!
From our yacht (see our last post and picture above), we could see a gondola crossing the Thames. We headed in that direction and discovered that Emirate Airlines has a cable car ride across the river where you can see the entire city.
We hopped aboard with a special picture map they gave us so we could identify the sights – the Olympic Park and O2 (the stadium with the spikes coming out) – all the way to the London Eye in the distance.
On the other side, we discovered the Thames Clipper – a high speed ferry that zips down the river carrying working commuters from Central London to the Docklands. By the time we made it there, the workday had started so there only a handful of others, so we had a front row seat. The ferry raced up the river, making several stops on the outskirts of London, which I thought was interesting because you could see where real people lived.
Then we slowed a little to enter London proper. We went under Tower Bridge (pictured) and London Bridge and past Parliament. (It was a little chilly and windy, so the photos are from INSIDE our warm ride.)
Then a group of Italians joined us. (I tried to listen to practice my pronunciation. I learned that some landmarks are the same in English and Italian as they all excitedly pointed, “Big Ben, Big Ben!”)
We turned around at the famous London Eye Ferris wheel and headed back down the river.
We finally disembarked at Greenwich, which was on our end of the river. Greenwich is the home of Greenwich Mean Time, so we were officially at Longitude Zero. It is also the home of the Cutty Sark, one of the oldest tall misted tea ships, and the national maritime museum. We’d like to come back here someday.
But we were a bit peckish (as they say in England), so looked for the local pub instead – the Trafalgar Tavern. The Trafalgar has been a popular watering hole since 1837 and was a favorite of Charles Dickens. It overlooks the Thames and is filled with polished wood and fireplaces. I had fish and chips, and Frank had cottage pie. We felt very British.
Then back on the Clipper to our ferry stop – and back to the gondola over the river to our yacht – see below. This is the life!