Greenwich Tall Ships Festival
Going to Greenwich is like taking a trip to the countryside, it has a quaint and relaxing atmosphere, very different from the rest of London. Making it to that lovely "village" can be a bit of a headache as you have to cross the entire city, take the tube for an hour, then the DLR for 15 minutes. Usually by the time you get there you feel like you're on a mission. Don't worry though, as soon as you step out of Maritime Greenwich station you realize that it was really worth the hassle.
Last weekend I went to Greenwich to see the Greenwich Tall Ships Festival. For the occasion, a dozen ships from all over Europe gathers on the Thames by Greenwich, home to the Maritime Museum and the Cutty Sark. The perfect opportunity to see some proper pirate boats, take a picture with Jack Sparrow who made the trip for the occasion, have a ridiculous amount of lager but like the sailors say, it is for medical purpose! (keeps your intestines clean).
When I went there were plenty of crafts you could try like bookbinding under the Tudors, which I find fascinating. There are 2 ways to bind a book, you can glue all the page to the cover or you can sew the pages together in a booklet and then sew the whole thing to a cover. A specialist was there and was demonstrating the Tudor way of doing it which I found fascinating. You could try candle making with bee wax, carving stools and a few other things.
My favourite was the dying stand, pretty awesome if you ask me. It teaches you how to dye wool for very little money. Here is what it looks like, I have to agree that it looks disgusting as it looks like dead skin but they are actually using Onions. The lady demonstrating the experience explains to me that if a sailor wanted to dye something he had to do it with what they had on the ship. To get a lovely yellow or occre here is the process:
- Peel about 4 big yellow onions. Put all the skin (and the first little skin) of the onion in a saucepan. Add water.
- Bring the mix to boil. Leave it to cool down and when its 80°C add the wool you want to dye in the saucepan.
- Leave it there for 30 mins at 80°C. After half an hour take it out, leave your wool to dry so the colour sinks in.
- Rinse quite thoroughly. If you've done everything right you should have a lovely yellow piece of wool. I found it amazing so I think I will try! Yes, I will tell you how it went.
After this I went on a bit of a ship exploration, with sails and all for the bargain price of £3. Good experience. Absolutely worth waiting 20 mins for the Thames river shuttle to take me there. Here is what we saw during the ride! My only regret is that we were not allowed to climb in the sails, but Greenwich is part of England, where the "Health and Safety" policies must prevail.
After all this exploring it was time for a pint in the grass overlooking the City. A perfect way to spend a Monday really. So if the Tall Ships Festival ever comes back to London I really recommend it, they have great boats, it is great fun, you almost feel like you just time travelled!