Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Greenwich Adventures

August 21, 2009 · 1 Comment

I woke up this morning feeling a bit overwhelmed by the amount of activities and travel planned for the day, but immediately felt at ease as we made our way to the Thames River embankment.  I enjoyed watching the scenery and different types of architecture pass by as we made our way to Greenwich, and definitely felt like a tourist while taking what seemed like hundreds of pictures of Big Ben.  Since I spend much of my summers in parks in New Jersey, I felt comforted by being in what seemed to be a familiar place to me.  The walk helped to wake me up as well 🙂

I was most interested by the museum dealing with the creation and use of early clocks on ships.  It truly amazes me that people were able to construct such intricate and elaborate instruments by hand, without the aid of computers or modern technology.  I also laughed when I read that early ships planned to calculate their position in relation to other ships by firing a rocket exactly 6440 feet in the air at exactly 12am..it seems silly, but I suppose without clocks or ways to calculate latitude/longitude, it seemed logical.  I feel rather inadequate when I realize that I would have absolutely no idea how to even begin to create something like these clocks from scratch, from the plans to making the parts to the actual collaboration and execution of the instrument.  I’m also impressed that sailors trusted the instruments enough to actually use them while in the middle of the ocean.  I know I would be nervous about being the first one to use something so important to my travels and, in essence, vitality.

I also enjoyed the planetarium and was quite amused by the man running it.  Despite the presentation’s humorous aspect, I left feeling like an insignificant part of an infinitely larger being.  Although I had learned about the solar system and galaxies in elementary school, I don’t find much use revisiting that information with my English and psychology majors.  I liked connecting the passage of time with the movement of planets, stars, and the expansion of space in general.  While some of the information was jarring, it was certainly useful and thought provoking.

Visiting the market was also a lovely experience.  Navigating the crowds was a bit difficult at times, but I enjoyed being in the midst of so many native Brits and seeing all the items for sale.  The food looked amazing, and since I was full from lunch, I plan on going back to taste a few of the dishes.  All in all, the day proved to be a success and I feel like I learned a lot about the places to which we traveled.

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