I have thirty minutes only so I may not blog tonight. I will fill you in on all the adventures tomorrow. It is now tomorrow so here is the entry to go along with the pictures I posted.
We arrived at Portsmouth Historic Docklands around 10:00 am. There are numerous museums here and three ships in particular. Nelso's ship Victory, the Warrior and the remains of the Mary Rose, which was Henry VIII's flagship which sunk over 400 years ago and was recently (20 years ago) raised from the floor of the harbour.
The tour of the three ships was very exciting. Victory is still considered a ship of the line. We visited all decks and heard from the guide all sorts of details about life on the ship. He was also very knowledgeable about Nelson, both his service and his death. Interestingly, in order to bring his body back to England for burial (it took three months) they pickled him in alcohol.
The museum built for the Mary Rose, which is only one third of a ship, is very impressive. It holds not only the outer hull of the ship and part of the interior deck, but also many artifacts, skeletons of the crew clothing, tools, etc. They have righted the portion of the ship they recovered, which was preserved by being covered in silt, and set up the building that houses it in three levels with viewing windows at each level. The rest of each level is given over to displays of the artifacts and explanatio of how they were identified and which part of the ship or which person they belonged to.
The Warrior was one of the first iron ships of the line but designed like the old ships of the line. It never fired a gun in anger, because it was built at the end of the Napoleonic war and by the time their was another war it was out of date. It is a beautiful Ship and as we walked around we compared it to the others. Many similarities but also differences. A power plant not a sailing ship. More modern kitchens. Better officers quarters and slightly better men's quarters.
After the tours we decided against the boat tour as it had turned quite cold and windy. Spinnaker Tower is on the quayside near the entrance to the harbour. We decided to take a trip up the tower as ther appeared to be three viewing levels. The elevator left us off at the first level and we had some beautiful views. Key buildings were shown on the windows so we had fun trying to find them all. Next up we climbed to the second level but it was only a tearoom, so up to the next level we went. It turned out that this level was open to the sky. There was a net barrier overhead but it started to rain so we stayed a while but not too long. We headed down to the tearoom to warm up with hot chocolate and discovered that between floors a mist had come in and the ferries that had been in plain view five minutes ago were now invisible. As we drank the hot chocolate the view cleared as the mist past over land and the rain stopped. We headed for the elevator and stopped in the souvenir shop to pick up a picture of us with the tower in the background and some souvenirs. Off we went to collect the car and head for Stratford where we were staying overnight.
It gets dark very early here so most of our journey was in the dark. Nicky has done a wonderful job driving us around this week. We arrived in Stratford and checked into the hotel which was on the outskirts of town. We headed into town and found a pub, "The Thatch Tavern" to have supper at and then walked around town looking for Shakepeare's birthplace. We eventually found it only to discover that the car was parked about 100 metres from it. We had walked completely around the block when we were right beside it. Back to the hotel for a glass of wine and a good end to a great day.