Our Wednesday started out with sleeping in,an acne-cream-mistaken-for-toothpaste fiasco (thankfully it was realized before it was used!), a sleeping-pill-accidentally-taken-at-8:15AM disaster, the power in our room going out, and getting a call from Jennie (our tour leader) at 8:45 saying that she left a message last night saying that we were going to meet in the lobby at 8:15. Our answering machine at the hotel didn't work. Great. Thankfully, the day got better from there! :-) The group went on in order to make their appointment, and Matt and Lindsay kindly waited for us as we frantically ran around getting all our things in order for the day and grabbing a roll-to-go from the breakfast buffet. We ended up getting to Greenwich (our destination for the entire day) only 20 minutes after we had originally planned. Our morning was free, so we started off by wandering around the Old Royal Navy College yard.
The College was built to flank Queen's House, the building in the center background.
First stop was the Painted Hall. A very impressive entirely painted room (designed by Christopher Wren in 1698) that was originally intended to be used as a dining hall. After taking 19 years to paint, it became too grand and too much of a tourist attraction to be used as originally intended.
A fun faux window; there were 3 real windows in the room, so in order to preserve the symmetry, they painted a window for the 4th!
Just outside is the Colonnade. Look familiar?
How about now?
So of course we had to take some pictures.... ;-)
And a picture of the back to satisfy a certain someone.....
The Royal Observatory
Next up was the Royal Observatory, home of Greenwich Mean Time and the Prime Meridian. We had been looking forward to this, after all, it's not every vacation that you can stand on the Prime Meridian! :-)
Inside the Octagon Room which was originally designed by Sir Christopher Wren to be used to observe eclipses, comets, etc. We took this picture before we realized that there was no photography allowed.... Oops!
At the Observatory, they had several exhibits telling the story of the attempt to find an accurate way to calculate longitude. After reading 75% of the information, Mom turned to me and said, "Do you understand this?". While I didn't follow everything, we certainly came away with a big appreciation for all the thought, calculations, and time that went into finding it! We were also kind of glad that Dad didn't come with us. If he had, we would have been there for at least 2 hours! :-)
In the eastern AND western hemispheres!
The view from the Observatory. Queen's House and Old Royal Navy College in front, ugly modern junk in the background. ;-)
Next up was our tour of Queen's House, designed in 1616 by Inigo Jones for James I's wife, Anne. While it really isn't spectacularly attractive from the outside (at least in my opinion), the inside is a different story!
Queen's House was also used in the filming of Little Dorrit. The main entry room (or whatever it's name is!) was used for the first room in the Circumlocution Office. For filming, they added bookshelves to make it into a small room (it is really very large!), while still being able to highlight the awesome floor!
The Tulip Stairs, named for the tulip designs on the railings. It was the first centrally unsupported staircase in England.
And was also used in Little Dorrit, also for the Circumlocution Office. It was such a beautiful staircase! *sigh* Maybe I could have that in my house, too! ;-)
After seeing the delights of Queen's House (and being stopped by inquisitive employees!), we made our way to the Fan Museum, stopping by a charming cafe for a latte and iced coffee. We met up with half the group for a tour of the Museum, which is 2 converted Georgian townhouses filled with fans!
This was one of my very favorites (from the 1910s, I think)
This impressive fan may look like lace, but it's really carved ivory!!
The Orangery- not as nice as Kensington's, but really, who am I to complain about tea in England?!?
After our tour, the whole group met in the Orangery for tea, scones, and cake (a very common combination, we found! Also very sweet... ;-) ). Jema Hewitt came as our guest speaker and shared pictures of some of her lovely creations!
Our group (and Jema!) all together one last time before part of the group left for home. And yes, I'm hiding behind Catherine. I wanted to make sure my running shoes didn't make it in the picture! :-D
Stay tuned for more Little Dorrit and Dickens fun- up next on Day 7!!