Well, today was the last day before classes start. We went out to Greenwich. Greenwich is where Henry VIII was born, where Elizabeth I and Mary Tudor were raised, home to the Old Navy College and the Prime Meridian. Also, there will be Olympic Games there, I'm pretty sure it'll be equestrian events.
To get to Greenwich, we took the ferry, which gave us a wonderful chance to see some of the sights along the Thames River. These sights include: the Shard (soon to be the tallest building in Europe), Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and the Globe Theater. We'll be going to some of these places later on in the trip, which will be pretty fun.
Once at Greenwich, we were shown around a little bit by Rachel. We saw the Old Naval College. We also saw a huge banquet room that was completely over the top and ornate. Movies such as The Golden Compass and some James Bond movies were filmed there. Also, in a huge painting of the royal family at the time the artist worked himself into the painting with his hand outstretched to the king, waiting to be paid since he wasn't going to get paid until he was done. In the photo below, the artist is in the bottom right-hand corner.
Below is also a huge shot of the entire banquet hall. Pretty cool, right? It's absolutely huge and everything is painted with such amazing details.
Nelson also laid in state after his death during the Battle of Trafalgar in the banquet hall. Now, it took like four months for his body to get back to England after the battle, so, to preserve him, they put him in a barrel of alcohol and literally pickled him. Unfortunately, the sailors weren't told this and proceeded to drink from that barrel, yum!
After walking around, we were given some time to walk around a little bit. We headed up to the Royal Obeservatory to see the Prime Meridian line. Unfortunately, it cost around 7 pounds (think around $10) to actually go stand on the line and everything, so we decided not to. We did get a pretty amazing view of London along the Thames and the Olympic venue for equestrian events (I think), so it wasn't a total waste.
With the remains of our free time, we explored the Maritime Museum a little bit. They had some pretty cool Titanic stuff on display. We only had a few minutes, but it was still really cool to look around a little bit and get a taste of what they had there.
In England, the big family meal where everyone sits down to eat together is Sunday lunch, so Rachel and Carmen took us out for a traditional English Sunday lunch. The food was absolutely amazing! I had beef, steamed vegetables, potatoes, horseradish (which I tried for the very first time, it wasn't bad!) and Yorkshire pudding.
We also got a manners lesson 101 in England. You never put down your silverware while eating. Also, you hold the fork how we Americans would call upside down (so the little scoop part is on top so you can't shovel food into your mouth), which made it a little bit harder to eat, it'll just take some time to get used to it. Also, no food is really eaten with your fingers, so that proved a little getting used to when I got some pizza later today. Anyway, I digress. The food was delicious, and for dessert I had something called banoffee pie. It's a little chocolatey, a little caramel-y, kinda thick and heavy, but was still good. Keeping with the English tradition, I had warm custard poured over it, which made it even heavier but still amazing. I ate so much!
After lunch, Rachel and Carmen dropped us off for a a scavenger hunt organized by the University of Westminster. While our team didn't win, two of the top three teams were API teams, which was pretty cool. A lot of the questions were from our tour yesterday, so we had a little bit of an advantage.
Once again, it was a very long day. Classes start tomorrow, and I'm a little nervous. Classes here in England are very different, and I have no idea how they're going to be. Keep an eye out for my posts to see how well I survive!