England Greenwich

It's about time to write my last winter report. My summer adventures are beginning shortly and I'm visiting new beautiful places. Greenwich. 

This name reminds us of the time and it's true indeed. We had a half an hour journey by train and by bus. Of course, you can travel by boat or by tube from London, too. ( We also have a plan, to take a boat tour here in summer) Our plan was to look at many interesting things, but it happened differently :) Although we started with sunny weather, the sky was getting cloudy on our way to the Observatory. 

 The building stands on a hilltop and can be seen all over London in good weather. First you can see a big watch at the entrance and the certified English length measurements in front of the main gate. 

If you enter to the yard, there runs the Meridian line, the 0 degree longitude. You can stand with one of your feet on the Western, the other on the Eastern side of the globe. 

 Otherwise, the line of Meridian is built through all of England. I have already seen it in East Grinstead, where a part of the line runs through the town hall building.  The museum has a very rich exhibition. 

 You can be see the oldest structure of clocks, the first telescopes, the discoveries of the old sailors, the device of planet researches and the atomic clocks. 

 As usual in England, a significant part of the exhibits is interactive, you can test, press move, which the children really enjoyed. (Of course, many adults can try them, too). You could take photos without a flash in the museum, but it was so dark in most places, that you couldn't enjoy them. You can spend a lot of time here but we bought tickets to the show of the Planetarium and we needed to go on. The Planetarium wasn't a big deal techniqually, no better than in Budapest but Zs. really liked it, because he has never been in such a place. The presentation showed the stars and planets on the December sky. I didn't understand everything, but the astronomer was very funny and everyone was in a good mood. 

After that we looked at an interesting photo exhibition. When we went out of the building late afternoon, there were dark clouds, heavy rain and wind storm so we finished our excursion and we ran to the bus station. I would like to go there this summer, because Greenwich has a lot of interesting things to offer still.

I could write about the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park ( This is the biggest Christmas Market in London which is actually an amusement park with food and drink), about a Christmas afternoon performance in a school, about the Christmas customs, but I think they have become outdated. I hope I'll be more diligent in summer.

London Covent Garden

On a beautiful sunny winter day we went for a walk at Covent Garden. Covent Garden is one of the oldest markets from the late 1600s until the 1970s in London.

 It functioned as a vegetable and fruit market. Because of the Great Fire of London in 1666, all the rival commercial centres were destroyed in the city, so Covent Garden has become the most important commercial centre of the country. 

It was the "vegetable garden" of the Westminster area. The market and its surroundings became one of London's famous red-light quarter in the 18th century. Nowadays Covent Garden is a tourist attraction, there is a huge crowd day and night. 

The shops sell souvenirs for visitors and you can buy craft products at a high price on the old Apple Market. 

Covent Garden is the only one area in London where it's officially allowed to perform for street entertainers. 

 The central square is overlooking the London Transport Museum 

and the back entrance of the Royal Opera House.

This area has many cafés, pastry shops, sandwich bars and small restaurants, where you can go to eat something and rest a little.

London St Paul's Cathedral

I still had enough time after my walk in Temple Quarter, so I walked on to St Paul's Cathedral. 

The Cathedral is surrounded by houses, so it isn't possible to take a photo of the entire building. 

The inside is really beautiful and monumental and of course, I couldn't take pictures here. (for this reason some photos are illustrations). There are guards almost at every point. 

 I thought, if I paied an expensive ticket, I want to see everything, from the basement to the roof. The cathedral was built on top of Ludgate Hill.

 It is the highest point of London and the Cathedral is the fifth largest church in Europe. The predecessor of today's church - the Old Paul's 
Cathedral - was built in Gothic style in the 13th century. A lightning struck the church tower in 1561 and the tower collapsed. The church burned to the ground during the Great Fire of London in 1666. The rebuilt Cathedral was handed over after three years of construction in 1669. The Cathedral is fascinating, so it's worth knowing some data.

The cathedral is 175 metres long, the nave is 28 metres high. The 31 metre 
diameter dome, is less than 11 metres smaller than the St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome. The inside corridor of the dome is 30 meters high, which could be walked round. The circular corridor is called Whispering Gallery. 

The name comes from the fact, if you whisper something on one side of the barrier, I can hear it on the other side clearly. 376 steps lead up to the Stone Gallery and another 152 steps to the Golden Gallery. I climbed them. The reward is a full panorama of London on the top.

I'm sorry, but the view isn't so beautiful for me from above. I don't like it, when you are erect skyscrapers in a historical quarter or among centuries-old buildings. And the permanent constructions. 

You can experience in the whole city while you go on foot, but it's even more striking from above. Of course, you can interpret it as a positive thing, but it's very complicated to make a photo where a crane doesn't protrude into the picture.

From the 111 metres high dome you can see the whole London. A golden sphere is on top of the dome. It is 6 metres in diameter. The 17 ton Great Paul church bell is in the south tower, it was made in 1882. The chimes have been in the north tower since 1878.

 The cathedral didn't suffer extensive damage in the II. World War, the main altar got a bomb hit only, but it was restored in its original state. The first church organ of the cathedral was built in 1695. The composer Handel played its Messias oratorium in 1759 here. The present organ was built in 1870, 

They used up some old pipes of old organ. The largest crypt of Europe is standing underneath the whole Cathedral. Here was buried for example the former prime minister Sir Winston Churchill,

the inventor of penicillin Fleming, admiral Nelson and the Duke of Wellington here. 

The cathedral is the residence of the Bishop of London. Queen Victoria and Queen Elisabetht II. celebrated the diamond jubilee of theirs reign, Cahterina of Aragon (the future wife of Henry VIII. ) and Prince Arthur got married before the big fire in 1501 here, and Charles, Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer got also married here in 1981 here.