Saturday, 29 September 2012

A London expedition

A replica of an ancient Phoenician ship is in St Katherine's Dock in London at the moment.  I hadn't heard of the Phoenicians before, despite studying ancient history at university.  We took a trip to London to visit it.  It's quite a large undertaking, me with the three kids.  Freddie and Meg especially get restless quite quickly on the train.  I brought a picnic, some colouring, a Skylanders book and our story cubes to help pass the time.  
We got to Tower Hill tube and walked to St Katherine's Dock.  Along the way, we passed an enormous suit of armour.
Amongst the amazing, expensive beautiful boats, we caught our first glimpse of the Phoenicia.
The kids also spotted the royal barge.  Betsy was very impressed that it was covered in gold.
The ship is moored outside Starbucks, so I got myself a hot chocolate and the kids a giant chocolate coin to have while we waited for our friends.  
Aboard, the guide told us about the ship's travels (ably assisted by one of our friends).  It had taken the modern Phoenicia 2 years and 2 months to sail around Africa.
We looked around the ship.  The kids had a go at moving the tiller and adjusting the sail.
This is the loo - a wooden box with a hole at the bottom, attached to the side of the ship.  I love this!
I chatted to Laurence, the captain of the ship.  He's hoping to sail to the Americas in 2014.  He said that he's been trying to get school trips to come and visit the ship, but as the Phoenician civilisation isn't in the National Curriculum only one school has visited in the whole month.  What a wasted opportunity.
We headed off shortly after, I didn't want to travel at rush hour (tired commuters and noisy children are not a good mix!).
On the way back to Tower Hill tube we wandered past big guns, Tower Bridge, and the Tower of London.  We saw some very cool sculptures of lions made from what looked like chicken wire.  As we walked past Traitors Gate I told the kids about Anne Boleyn, and others who entered the tower destined to be beheaded.  Gruesome!  We saw the Shard for the first time, it's beautiful.
I was totally exhausted when we got home, but it was worth it.

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