The fire alarm works! We found this out at about 2 o’clock last night. Fortunately, there was no fire (that I was aware of, at least). I poked my head out into the hallway to see what was going on. At the same time, so did everyone else on my floor. The alarm stopped. We all simultaneously turned around and went back to bed.
Today was a free day, so I hopped on a bus down to Westminster Pier. I then bought a one-way ticket for a river cruise to Greenwich. One of the staff of the boat gave us a tour of the city as we made our way down the river. He pointed out all sorts of interesting sites and gave lots of neat information.
London is the smallest city in the world. It is only 1 square mile in size. It’s surrounded by Westminster, Greenwich, and a few other cities and towns, which is what makes it feel like a big city. We saw Sir Ian Mckellen’s pub. Also a pub called The Mayflower (which was actually owned by the family of one of the Pilgrims on the Mayflower). And the place where, in the time of pirates, criminals given the death penalty would be drowned. During low tide, they would be tied to stakes on the beach. As the tide rose, they would be trapped under the surface of the water and suffocate. Sounds pretty awful.
We passed under the wibbly-wobbly bridge, which was closed twelve hours after its grand opening because pedestrians walking along it would be seasick before reaching the other side. It took huge amounts of money to have it repaired.
We even passed by a few battleships!
We passed under a bridge financed by John Harvard (of United States fame). We saw a really cool rowboat, but I didn’t catch what the guide had said it was.
The river tour took an hour, and I’m glad I took it to get there. Highly recommended.
When I arrived in Greenwich, I was feeling peckish, so I wandered over to the Greenwich Marketplace. The marketplace was a big open-air market, with a bunch of vendors of food and homemade goods. I wandered a while—it all looked super tasty! I ended up getting Indian seafood curry and beef stir-fry on a bed of rice. Yum!
I then walked over to the National Maritime Museum, where I saw all sorts of cool naval stuff. There was a lot of information on the East India Trading Company. It was amazing to see how much was imported, and then after the rise of industrialization, how much more was exported.
After walking through the museum, I was running short on time. I made my way to the Greenwich National Rail Service Station, and bought a one-way ticket to downtown London, which on the ticket was titled “London Stations.”
I then met up with the others at the hostel, and we went to a pub to have dinner. I ordered a medium-rare steak (which arrived medium, of course—there was only one cook working and 30 meals to prepare though, so I guess it can be forgiven), and an excellent sticky toffee pudding. I didn’t realize that pudding in England is more like a cake.
I’m going to miss England.