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.
The Air Canada Boeing 777 that took us to London, with the hazy morning sun behind
A nineteenth-century statue of Boadicea in Westminster
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.
A barge loaded with shipping containers preceded us along the Thames
The flags of the RAF, British Army, and Royal Navy were flying atop this building- and I’d never noticed them before!
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.
The masts and rigging of the famous Cutty Sark
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.
The classical spire of St. Alfege in Greenwich
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.
The stained glass was magnificent, just like the painted accents around it
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.
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.
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!