[Okay, so anyone who knows what day of the week it is will know I'm a few days behind, but please bear with me - I'm having so much fun!]
My first full day in Greenwich was actully spent doing touristy things, and I was blessed with a gloriously warm and sunny day in which to do it. I wandered through the market and then visited the part of Greenwich that I'd somehow missed on nearly half a dozen previous visits: Maritime Greenwich.
Christopher Wren's complex of buildings are grand and awe-inspiring. The chapel and Painted Hall (a dining hall built for retired sailors) are both incredible in their detail and sumptuousness. Most of the buildings are now occupied by the University of Greenwich, but one is used by the Trinity College of Music. Words cannot describe how it feels to stroll passed, with the Thames glistening silver on one side, a fgraceful tree-lined avenue on the other, and to hear the sounds of beautiful music drifting down from the windows above.
I also visited the Queen's House, a small graceful villa built for the early Stuart queens. Now an art gallery, it is still possible to imagine the rooms as they once were, filled with ladies in waiting in gorgeous dresses and, later, lords and ladies in powdered wigs and frills. In one room I stumbled onto an interesting surprise: among all the naval paintings was one of a pretty young lady, a painting that looked familiar. It was Emma Hamilton. And the painting beside it was of a young man with an attractive but serious face and the label 'Horatio Nelson'. I've only ever seen portraits of him older (or dying) but suddenly seeing these two side by side I could understand how they fell in love.
And on that romantic note, I promise that my next post really will be about the Romantic Novelists Association conference!