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  1. Our London breakfast at the Golden Arches near our hotel

    "London bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down..."

    A nursery song we're all familiar with! In order to see the famed London bridge, one of the best ways would be taking a leisurely cruise down the river Thames - and we did just that!

    We booked our cruise beforehand from City Cruises. They have lunch and dinner cruises, but the most budget friendly option would be their Sightseeing cruise. The online price for the River Red Rover is 15.30 pounds while the pier price is 17 pounds, so you make a saving of 1.70 per pax if you book online!

    If you aren't sure of the route to plan, choose the Red River Rover as it would allow you to hop on and off freely, whereas the other option offers directional travel which imposes more constraints. So after having our breakfast, we tubed down to Westminster, where you can reach the pier easily by walking. After boarding, the ferry departed to pick up more passengers at the London eye just across the river.

    We had a wonderful guide, who was by no means an official guide, but just a boatman who was very familiar with the sights on the river. One amusing act which he pulled was to ask us to smile and wave at people on bridges as we passed under it, as if they waved back we would have 7 years of good luck! No wonder we always see people on ferries waving!
    An ex navy vessel serving as a small museum
    A view of Westminster as we departed
    At last, the famous tower bridge! If you were to make a search for the London bridge, you would find nothing but a modernized bridge as boring as ever. The actual medieval looking bridge is actually named Tower Bridge, situated beside the Tower of London. 

    We decided to take some pictures here first, but we didn't disembark, as we wanted to take the cruise all the way to the end, to Greenwich!

    Greenwich, with the Meridian Line where longitude is zero, and where you can actually see the line dividing time zones! Before we got to the line, we had to walk through a beautiful park. The right map shows the Greenwich park which we had the pleasure of strolling through before reaching the observatory with the famed line. 

    It's this park where we saw tons of people walking their dogs! It was a nice sunny weather, even though it was during winter, you could see how much the dogs and their owners were enjoying their walk in the park. The cool weather also let the dogs have really nice coats and we saw some nice golden retrievers! Makes you just want to move here hee...

    Finally, the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. Since it has a rich history in the development of the concept of time, how else better to showcase the welcoming piece than an old 24 hour clock?

    As mentioned, this place was used by luminaries such as John Flamsteed in his work on time as well as stellar tables. Of course you will spot a lot of nifty little gadgets which would have excited any engineer, scientist back in the day. Even today, these clocks still don't cease to amaze, at least for me.

    Well I'm not much of a history person so I tried to catch whatever Kerwyn recalls or reads on the write ups posted everywhere. One piece that caught my eye was this dolphin sundial! The tips of the fins cast a shadow and the contact point between the two points shows the time of the day! It's so nicely designed! Love the way the dolphins seem to resemble a heart shape.

    We spotted our own red dot's longitude!
    There was a queue to take photo at this significant spot that divides the two timezones. Being very Asians, we took a heart shot and the caucasians went... AWWW~ teehee... we got a lil shy but who cares? Love this photo alot :D
    Greenwich is really a beautiful place. Love how it has a huge park where dogs can run freely! We'll miss the dogs!

    By the time we had completed Greenwich, it was almost dusk as the days get really short in winter. Since the London Tower tour was already closed for the day for a private event, we decided to take the ferry all the way back, and move to our next destination - St Paul's Cathedral.

    After the 284 steps in Paris, we arrived at another challenge that required us to walk 271 steps!!! What's 271 steps when we have conquered 284 steps right? But... the steps here are more irregular and the space available is more narrow... For a student price of 14 pounds bought on the spot, we got to climb to the Whispering Gallery first, where we tried out the acoustics but failed miserably.. next, we climbed up further to the Golden Gallery.

    This was at the very top of the dome, where we caught a breathtaking view of London! It's really amazing how such an old structure can still command such a view...
    Spot the London eye in the right picture!

    Great view of the River Thames

    With that, we completed our short but fruitful tour of London. While it may not be the most romantic city in Europe, London has its own charms which draws so many people from all over the world. Most of all, we get to speak English comfortably! While many of us may take it for granted, the English language can be scarce in certain parts of Europe. 

    Next up, we fly to Italy, and do as the Romans do!

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