ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- If you're visiting London for the first time, you may arrive expecting a European city that overflows with pomp and pageantry. The sights of London embrace more than 2,000 years of history, and London sprawls along both banks of the River Thames.
On July 29, Sailors assigned to the aircraft carrier USS George H. W. Bush were able to take a tour of London on the Thames River.
Before dawn, Sailors lined up to take the ferry to the pier in Portsmouth, England, and boarded a bus headed to London. Once in London, the Sailors boarded another ferry at Westminster pier to commence the day's cruise.
At 215 miles, the River Thames is the longest river in England and the second longest in the entire United Kingdom. The river flows through London, as well as Oxford, Reading, Henley-on-Thames, and Windsor. Although there is some evidence of Celtic settlements along the Thames, London's first known permanent settlers were the Romans, who established a stronghold there in 43 AD.
"I was very happy to go on this tour," said Air Traffic Controller Airman Matthew Lecroy. "First of all, I love cruises. And secondly, I love everything about London."
The ferry went under some very famous bridges, including the Westminster, Waterloo, London, and Tower Bridge. The London Bridge and Tower Bridge are often confused with one another. The London Bridge has been around in some form or another for 2,000 years. The Tower Bridge was built in the late 1800's and is Victorian in style.
The ferry also passed Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, a complete reconstruction of the original Globe Theatre which was destroyed by fire in 1613. The final and landing stop of the tour was the London Eye, the huge Ferris wheel that was built to celebrate the millennium.
Sailors then proceeded off of the cruise and were able to stop and get something to eat and take in the sights before making their way back to Portsmouth.
"I liked it a lot," said Aviation Structural Mechanic 2nd Class Alejandro Deleon. "It was neat how all of the sights were so close together and how we were able to see them all in about half a day."
The George H. W. Bush Carrier Strike Group is conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests.
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For more news from USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn77/.