July 9, 2009

From Gerald R. Lucas

London Day 21: Thames Cruise to Greenwich

My World Literature field trip was screwed up today. Not the one we actually took, but the one I had planned. We were studying the Enlightenment this week, with examples from Molière and Pope. Therefore, I decided to go to Marble Hill House, an 18th-century mansion on the Thames, west of London. Well, apparently the house is only open on the weekends and the Thames cruise I wanted does not even go there. So, I decided to reroute the cruise to Greenwich and visit the Royal Observatory, the 17th-century structure built by Wren to figure out time and space—applicable to the Enlightenment, no?

Our first stop was the National Gallery for a look at Hogarth’s Marriage à la Mode series. What was the only room closed that day, do you think? I just laughed and my students and I went to catch our boat to Greenwich from the Westminster pier. Fortunately, the rest of the day was free of disappointment.

The cruise to Greenwich was under cloudy skies and the students seemed unenthusiastic. I think even a couple of them slept. No biggie, I thought, we’d sit on the top of the boat on the way back to Westminster. Greenwich was cool—home of the aforementioned observatory, another of the Queen’s houses, and the Maritime Museum. We had lunch at a local pub, then climbed the hill to the observatory and the Prime Meridian. All had pictures and a leisurely walk around the museum and the planetarium. We even got a class picture before departing.

As I expected, we were the first to queue for the return boat, so we all got excellent seats on the top of the boat. I put the 70-200mm lens on, too, so I was able to get student shots as well as details of the views from the Thames.

Canon Camera Information
Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT1, Canon EOS 30D, Canon EOS 5D, or Canon EOS 6D • Prime Lenses: Sigma 10mm f/2.8 EX DC Fisheye HSM, Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM, Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM, or Canon EF f/1.2 85mm L USM • Zoom Lenses: Canon EF f/2.8 16–35mm L, Canon EF 24–70mm L, or Canon EF 70–200mm L IS USM • Processed with Apple Aperture.