Monday, November 19, 2012

100 things: Dinosaurs in Crystal Palace Park

I loved this suggestion immediately (thanks, Amber!) when it was made, so I don't know why it's taken me so long to get round to it. Finding out about them just before I went made it even better. They're Grade I listed, the first dinosaur sculptures in the world, and pre-dated On the Origin of Species by six years. It's easy to find them quaint and somewhat amusing now (especially the one which has its head in a bush because no one knew what its face looked like) but they're really not only fun to go and look at but also an incredible piece of history. This and loads more info all on Wikipedia...

 The park also includes this model of geographical strata including a seam of coal. And here are some of the dinosaurs...

 I think my favourite bit were these, the dinosaurs they thought had shells somewhat like turtles - that's been proved incorrect. I liked the signage which gives information about what was thought at the time as well as illustrations of what is now thought to be the case - which of course, may also be already outdated.

As we walked around it was pointed out to me that this sudden desire to see these dinosaurs just at this moment might be no coincidence, and really just be withdrawal symptoms from being away from the Natural History Museum...  No. I'm sure not.

Before leaving we also did the maze - London's largest. I'm sure I've heard from somewhere that you should always turn left in a classical maze to find the centre. We tried it, and it worked. Sort of. Plenty of dead ends later. We decided this still counted, as we followed the dead ends and turned left again. Thinking about it, that might work for any maze, as you'd have to eventually follow all the kinks and turns around... I'm sure someone on the internet knows.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

100 things: Greenwich Foot Tunnel

There is something quite peculiar about walking underneath a river - much more so than driving or travelling on the tube. I'm not totally sure I knew much about the Thames foot tunnels - I think there are only two in use, at Greenwich and Woolwich - before I looked up a cycling route to Canary Wharf from my flat in SE London the other day, and saw that Google showed it going straight across the river from the Cutty Sark to the Isle of Dogs where I was fairly sure there wasn't a bridge. I've been under it a couple of times since (hence the night and day time photos). Lots of commuting cyclists use it, a large percentage admirably kitted out in reflective jackets, proper cycling clothes, multiple flashing lights, bullet proof helmets etc (only a slight exaggeration) absolutely putting me to shame. I won't go into details of what I count as bike equipment at the moment, I would only get shouted at. The tunnel and lifts are open 24 hours a day and especially at peak hours it feels pretty busy and perfectly safe, though I'm not sure I'd feel totally comfortable walking through on my own at quiet times.

Also definitely worth a visit if you live anywhere near there on either side of the bank is the Old Fire Station near Island Gardens DLR station. I, like a complete snob, assumed there wouldn't be much in the way of decent eateries in that area and was proved completely wrong when we discovered this wonderful Mediterranean bistro with decorations made of reclaimed picture frames and a wine bottles ceiling light. We had a selection of tapas, which came beautifully presented, reasonable portions for the small cost, and everything tasted delicious and was perfectly cooked. Our waitress was new but we were introduced to her by the manager, who checked we didn't mind being her test case, and kept an eye on us throughout the evening. All the staff were perfectly charming - highly recommended and not too expensive.