richmond to hampton

Richmond and Hampton with a cruise down the river Thames. That’s the plan for the day.

The nice thing about travelling when you are older is you appreciate the finer nuances better. 😀 For one, I learnt that Richmond used to be called Shene and was highly popular with the royal family who lived in the manor house until Henry VII built Richmond Palace in 1501. It’s a little startling to take a turn and actually step back 500 years. Though much of the palace has been lost to time, the Maids of Honours Row, Wardrobe, Trumpeter’s House and Gate House still stand intact, now converted into rented apartments behind the historical facades.

Walking past the Victorian Richmond theatre, boutique shops and the Green which has held cricket matches since 1666, I reached the edge of the Thames to catch my boat to Hampton, as I was told Henry VIII would have done! The cruise is hypnotic with its serene landscapes intertwined with picturesque houses hugging the edge of the river. One feels one is somewhere far away in the country. But it is still London or to be technically correct, Greater London.

richmond_hampton1 Continue reading

it is pronounced ‘greenich’, my dear

greenwich1

Greenwich has always been inexorably bound to the sea and all things maritime; right from King Henry VIII’s time when he lived in the Royal Palace of Placentia that used to stand here and oversaw his naval fleet from it. Came the 18th Century, and along with it Queen Mary and Christopher Wren. The Queen decided to build a naval almshouse at the site of the Old Palace. Known as the Royal Naval Hospital (1752), it provided lodging and meals to the disabled and retired seamen of the Napoleonic Wars. Wren’s grand edifices later became the Royal Naval College in 1873 and were finally leased to the University of Greenwich, in 1999, and the Trinity College of Music.

The connection with the sea doesn’t end there. Greenwich is home to the National Maritime Museum which pulsates with the trade, exploration and colonization ties that the seas have had with England. And then there’s what everyone comes to look at. The Royal Observatory where John Harrison invented his famous sea clocks, and THE Greenwich Meridian Line, Longitude 0 degrees 0’ 0”, home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Continue reading

oxford, city of dreaming spires

oxford_me
On the steps of the Sheldonian Theatre where Oxford’s graduation ceremonies are to date conducted in Latin!

First let’s get the bigger picture in place. 🙂 Oxford University is not one campus. It is made of 38 independently founded colleges, each with its own history and administration. Originally there were no buildings as such. The university consisted of a group of students gathered around individual masters. And when did it all begin? The oldest college dates to the 13th Century. The university as a seat of learning goes back to the 10th Century. Continue reading