A Day in Greenwich

After a wonderful and action-packed trip to London, I’m now back at home and have had a few days to upload my photos and collect my thoughts! I miss England already, and I’m looking forward to sharing the memories of my trip with you over the coming weeks.

My mum and I arrived at Heathrow early in the morning- I’m not sure exactly what time we arrived, since I didn’t sleep at all on the plane and I hadn’t drunk any coffee for over 10 hours! Once in central London however, the beautiful morning sunshine and an espresso woke me up sufficiently.

777 London

The Air Canada Boeing 777 that took us to London, with the hazy morning sun behind

Boadicea London

A nineteenth-century statue of Boadicea in Westminster

Westminster London

This is usually the sight that welcomes me to London

From Westminster, we took our customary boat ride down the Thames to Greenwich. The voyage is always restful and interesting, and even though I’d taken it twice before, there seemed to be new sights waiting for me this time.

Thames Barge

A barge loaded with shipping containers preceded us along the Thames

Forces flags London

The flags of the RAF, British Army, and Royal Navy were flying atop this building- and I’d never noticed them before!

Thames Boats

Old boats in front of posh new condo buildings

Conversely, lots of familiar sights awaited me in Greenwich. Greenwich is one of my favourite parts of Greater London, and I love its links to Britain’s naval history. I always feel tranquil and at home once I get to Greenwich.

Cutty Sark

The masts and rigging of the famous Cutty Sark

Pie and Mash

A pie & mash shop near Greenwich Market- a true English classic

Near the classical façade of what used to be the Royal Naval College rises another classical building: St. Alfege Church. Even apart from the unusual name, this is a distinctive church. The exterior is surrounded by headstones which seem to have been moved in order to make room for new roads and buildings; and the architecture is similar in style to that of the Naval College buildings only a few moments away.

St Alfege's

The classical spire of St. Alfege in Greenwich

Alfege's Headstones

The tombstones of St. Alfege set alongside the sidewalk

The church interior was also unique, but it also tied into the Royal Naval College aesthetic- the walls around the altar were painted in exactly the same style as the College’s Painted Hall! I adore the ornate atmosphere and artistic execution of the Painted Hall, and it was rather exciting to see such craftsmanship elsewhere.

Alfege's Window

The stained glass was magnificent, just like the painted accents around it

Alfege's Altar

The altar of St. Alfege. Alfege, Archbishop of Canterbury, was apparently martyred here by Danish raiders in 1012.

Once I tore my eyes from the beauty of the front of the church, there were two fascinating things to discover towards the back. One was that Major General Wolfe, who died victorious in my home country of Canada, is buried here. His death is recorded in the church register.

Alfege Register

Wolfe’s 1759 burial record is marked by an X in the register

Another sight was a flag in the corner- a Canadian Red Ensign, used from 1921-1957; and presented to commemorate the efforts of Canadian forces in the Great War. There are memories of the past everywhere in England, and that’s part of what I adore about it.

Canadian Flag Alfege

The Canadian flag still stands proud in the church corner

After visiting St. Alfege Church, we went across the river and observed Greenwich as a whole; the College standing resolutely on the riverside and the Royal Observatory behind. Greenwich is such a beautiful and historical place, and a visit there is the perfect introduction to a vacation in London!

Greenwich

 

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