The Royal Observatory in Greenwich

Imaginary lines made real.
Imaginary lines made real.

You have to walk up a hill to get to the Royal Observatory, but don’t let that discourage you.

This is the location of the Prime Meridian, a line of longitude that is 0 degrees.  This is the imaginary line that splits the Eastern and Western Hemisphere, and it runs through Greenwich.  If you pay admission to get inside the Royal Observatory you can visit the Meridian Courtyard, where the line is clearly marked.  There’s also a crazy statue on the line.

The sun's reflection, as the clouds move in.
The sun’s reflection, as the clouds move in.

As I mentioned before, there is a line up for people who want their picture/a bit of quality time with the Line.  The line up can be a bit on the long side, so people are generally very brisk with their photos.  You get up, take a photo or two, then get down and let someone else have a turn.

Well, unless you’re jerk.  There was one such person when Kristen and I were there.  She was with a group of people and she wanted about a thousand different photos – her alone, her with someone else, her with another someone else, her with two others, etc, etc.  Then, when that group finally moved away, she proceeded to walk along the line and try to read what was on the ground, and GET IN THE WAY of the next person who was trying to take a picture.


What she was looking at.  Canadian cities represent!
What she was looking at. Canadian cities represent!

The only reason I have the above photo is because it started to rain while we were in the courtyard and everyone ran inside.  When the rain let up a bit, Kristen and I bravely ventured into the courtyard, looking at the line and taking photos.  It was nice having the courtyard all to ourselves.

There’s a spot outside the Observatory where there’s an indication of the line.  If you go around the outside of the Observatory it’s on a wall, just “down” from the big statue.  It’s not as pretty, but if you don’t want to shell out money, it’s an option.

We didn’t look at too much once we were inside.  We saw the Dolphin Sundial:

The Dolphin Sundial.  I've no idea how it works.
The Dolphin Sundial. I’ve no idea how it works.

And we went into one of the houses, where the line went through.  There were clocks inside, and I think an observatory.  Mostly we were just trying to get out of the rain.  And we didn’t stay long because we had people waiting for us outside.

There’s also an interesting gift shop, with tons of “Prime Meridian” paraphernalia.  You’d be surprised how many things you can put a line on.

Since I only paid £5 to get in, I found it to be worth the novelty.  Where else can you stand on both the Eastern and Western Hemispheres at once and get your picture taken in front of some crazy statue?  Where else indeed?

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