Family: Donna and I set off to Tower Bridge station on Friday to meet Leon, Alice and Sophie (uncle, aunt and cousin) for a day out. We went through Burrough Markets, looking at the various food stalls throughout and navigating amongst all the people clogging the paths. For God’s sake, pick a side! We got to one spot before splitting up to find what we each wanted to eat. Donna got a salad; Leon, Alice and Soph had kangaroo and/or ostrich burgers; and I bought a double chicken burger, which was two chicken patties, in a bun, with some chilli sauce and rocket. Mmmmmm.
Ferry: After lunch we hopped on the Thames ferry to take us up to Greenwich. I don’t think I’ve been on the water before so it was a nice change to trains and pounding the pavement. We sat out the back and watched people get splashed by the back-spray. Strangely, after that happened, no one wanted to sit on the very back seats.
Far flung galaxies: Greenwich is of course famous for Greenwich Meantime, though this time we didn’t check out the clock or set our watches correctly (not that I wear a watch). Instead we went into the Maritime Museum and checked out the Visions of the Universe photographic exhibition. Lots of photos of the moon, the sun, planets and galaxies, seen from near and far.
Donna and I got museum fatigue about halfway round. We dutifully read every card in the beginning but after a while our brains said they were full and all we could do was look at pretty pictures. Wonderfully, there was a seated area where you could watch a slideshow of galactic images. One of them (though not galactic exactly) was of the St Lawrence river in Canada, where the guy from the day before told me to see minke whales. It was shot from very high up.
Some amazing images of the milky way, which reminded me of being on the beach in Yallingup in WA at Easter a couple of years ago. It was about 11pm and the sky was clear, no other lights except the lights of the stars, and you could see countless stars and the great swathe of cloudy light that was the milky way (at least I think it was). So beautiful. Made me a little homesick but then also excited for the possibility of seeing something similar from the Canadian wilderness (and the Northern Lights of course).
Funicular: We then caught a bus to the Emirates Air Line (the cable car that goes from one side of the Thames to the other). Accessible using our Oyster Cards, we hopped aboard a cabin, having the whole thing to ourselves as it wasn’t a busy time of day. We had an excellent view of the Thames, looking down on the Millennium Dome (which I think is called the O2 Dome or something now) and spying the Olympic stadium in the distance. The journey probably only took about 15 minutes but it was a nice way of seeing the city from on high, and much higher and cheaper than the London Eye. Highly recommend it. After landing, we jumped on the DLR to Bank and said our farewells at the station.
Friends: In the evening we were due to meet Courtney, Donna’s friend from back home. She’s been living over here for a while but had just been in South America for three months. It worked out well that we were able to see her before we left the UK. Donna and I were a bit early so sat in Soho Square, along with a couple hundred other people, who were all enjoying the warm weather with a bottle of something and some food. All very civilised. We watched as a four year old boy chased the rotating sprinkler, with her dad standing nearby cheering him on. They were both having a great time.
Courtney arrived about seven and we headed into Soho to grab a drink. We went to Ku Bar (one of the less packed bars around Old Compton St) and ordered two jugs of Pimm’s for £10.50 each, which we thought was pretty reasonable. Had a seat upstairs, an area pretty much to ourselves, and caught up on the travels. About 9ish we sought out some dinner and went to a Japanese restaurant called Taro, which was recommended by a friend of mine. The servings were really big and the food tasty. It’s on Old Compton St if anyone wants to check it out. Quick service too and reasonably priced.
We then went in search of more refreshments (settling on tea) and I was approached by a male prostitute outside the Jersey Boys theatre. At first I had no idea what he was saying as he was so furtive but then twigged and declined. He was cute though.
We finished up about 10:30, deciding against continuing on elsewhere and caught our respective trains home. What a Friday!