Stephanie and I decided that we wanted to have our own “flotilla” down the Thames before the Queen comes down on her barge on Sunday. So, we went to Westminster Pier and caught the 9:15 am boat for Greenwich. There are numerous destinations on the ride; you can get off at the Tower of London and Canary Wharf and finally Greenwich. The trip from Westminster Pier to Greenwich took about two hours. We showed our tickets, headed for the top of the boat so we could photograph with full views in front of us. It was a fabulous day–clear, very warm, perfect to be on the river. We sat down on the front top deck and settled in with sandwiches and treats and of course my bag of camera equipment. The boat departed and before me was the most wonderful view of the Houses of Parliament–snap, snap! Then I saw the most amazing Westminster Bridge detail which I had never noticed before: Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s coats of arms–right there in front of me on the side of the Bridge. Prince Albert had been instrumental in the building of the new Westminster Bridge so it was very fitting to include his Arms with the Arms of the Queen. I was thrilled to see them. The bronze statue of Boetica was fabulous from the river with the tower holding Big Ben behind. Fabulous views.
As we traveled down the river, we saw a massive black and white canvas with the images of the Royal Family taken at the time of the Silver Jubilee covering a building site which the building company did not want to ruin the Queen’s Flotilla. It would so wide, I could hardly get it all in my camera’s eye at such a close distance. Then we enjoyed HMS Belfast and views of Tower Bridge at the Tower of London. It was one of those rare moments when the draw bridge on Tower Bridge was up allowing the many tall sails come up the Thomas on their way up the river to join the Queen’s flotilla. I was quite amused to see even a very early 14th century boat with its colorful sails and early design–a replica, of course.
We passed under Tower Bridge and looked back at the Tower of London–got a lump in my throat as that very historic site was framed by Tower Bridge. Further on, fabulous flats which were once the warehouses of London were draped with the Union Flag, celebrating the great Jubilee Celebrations this week. Loyal subjects for sure. The guide on the boat told us to look up one of the warehouse docks to see the area where Charles Dickens chose for many scenes in his many novels. I could see old Fagin and Oliver Twist crawling around like real criminals. It was history coming alive. I loved every minute of it.
We traveled on further and saw the MAYFLOWER PUB which was built out of the timber from the original Pilgrim vessel. Finally, after a most delightful ride on the top of the boat, we arrived at Greenwich with Sir Christopher Wren’s great Naval Academy before us. It was stunning. The Cutty Sark was directly in front of us and the Observatory at Greenwich sat on top of the hill. It was all just fabulous. No wonder the Queen is going down this great river. The symbolism is obvious. We loved every minute of it. I have taken this boat ride down to Greenwich many times, and I never tire of it. But this ride, there was a lot of activity on the river with many more boats heading up the river to prepare for the Queen’s River Procession of a thousand boats on Sunday at 12:00 noon. Brilliant. Here are a few images of our ride down the river–our little Flotilla. It is going to be 70 degrees in London, so we are looking forward to another fabulous day.
Thomas Moore email: TMooreSr@me.com Telephone: 801.791.9918