Royal Observatory

I've been looking for an excuse to take a spin on the DLR (Docklands Light Railway, akin to the Edmonton LRT but with more stops and serving a specific area of town) and in checking my guide book last night I saw the Royal Observatory at Greenwich was near the Cutty Sark DLR station so I figured what better way to have more science fun and try out the DLR than to go there for the afternoon.

The nearest DLR station to here is about a 10-12 minute walk and is 11 or so stops from where I was going. The DLR (chiefly) services the south docklands region (hence the name) around the Isle of Dogs and other parts of the southeast end of town. It's really no different than any LRT station that's overground (very little of the DLR goes underground) so it wasn't overly impressive or anything. Unlike the LRT, it doesn't go from start to finish on one path, it branches off at varying points so you sometimes have to change over as you would with the tube. Overall, other than the train cars being a bit wobblier than the LRT it's about the same. There was even a fare inspector on the train on my way back, the first time I'd seen any such person on public transport here.

As for the observatory itself, it was reasonably basic. Its chief focus was the advent of clock changes (daylight savings time/british summer time) and timekeeping in general. Of course there was the shutterbug-friendly display about the prime meridian which runs through Greenwich, but one of the most breathtaking aspects of the place is the view.

The observatory resides in the middle of Greenwich Park, which was apparently once a hunting ground for the king at the time it was established (Charles II), and there's nothing but green all around. The observatory is built at the top of a hill and from up there you can see a wide scope of the north side of the Thames. Being you can only see north it's not as nice a view as from St Paul's Cathedral or the London Eye, but what you can see is nonetheless impressive. Pictures have been posted for others to check out.

After tinkering at the observatory for a while and enjoying the view, I went down the path to the planetarium to go catch a show on the life of stars. Overall it didn't really teach my anything I didn't already know, but I mainly went because it's been more years than I can remember since I was at a planetarium and such places are usually pretty fun and informative. After the 30 minute show I wandered around and hopped back on the DLR at Greenwich station (one south of where I got off initially) and called it a day for sightseeing.

I'm not yet sure what's next on the slate, or what's on the slate for tomorrow, but I made a list of places I have yet to visit and want to visit so I've got about 10 choices for where I want to go next.



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