Portsmouth and other crazy adventures

Portsmouth Travel Blog

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guys with the figurehead
    The second day of the free weekend (Saturday) was a little up in the air as to where people wanted to go. Some of us, including myself, wanted to take a trip over to Salisbury and then eventually see Stonehenge, while Dustin and a few others had heard cool things about Portsmouth. We eventually decided to all go over to Portsmouth for the morning (there were 7 of us) and maybe hop a train to Salisbury in the afternoon. Although there was no great breakfast to wake me up that morning, it was very nice to get up leisurely, and we didn't leave until about 8:30. The train ride down to Portsmouth took much longer than we thought, about 3 hours.
me & the Victory
This is because there are really no high speed lines down there, only the slower commuter trains which stop at every stop. But is was relaxing, and we were happy to be there.
    Portsmouth is on the southern coast of England, and serves as a naval base and commercial port, having the most comprehensive historic naval museums in Britain.  The weather there was amazing! It was very warm with a nice breeze that smelled of the ocean; definitely a needed change from all of teh cold wetness we were having recently. We got a good deal from the tourist office, only having to pay 12 pounds for an all-inclusive pass to all parts of the historic dockyard. It included all the museums and old battleships, as well as a harbor tour. Since there seemed to be so much to do in Portsmouth and we had little time, we decided to stay there all day.
goldmember

    Although none of us really knew much about British naval history coming in, I am probably an expert on it now. Since it was a little past noon, and most everything closed around five, we did an all afternoon blitz of museums and ships. Probably the most we learned about was the Battle of Trafalgar and Lord Nelson. they freaking worship that guy over here. He's the guy who defeated Napoleon's fleet in the 18th century, and died during the battle. There were whole museums dedicated to him and that battle. We also got to go inside his ship, the HMS Victory. It was really cool to see the inside of an old wooden battleship (and a little cramped!) and see how the old sailors lived. We also got to see some more modern naval history, and boarded the HMS Warrior. One other cool thing they had was the exhibit on the Mary Rose, Henry VII's favorite warship, which had recently been excavated.
happy sailor
It is now in a closed chamber, with glass windows to let you see in, and is being sprayed continuously with this wax solution which after a few years will preserve the wood.
    I had to grab lunch on the way from one museum to another, but it was so freakin good. I went to a crepe stand and got the "Popeye," which is a spinach and cheese one. Now that I'm thinking about it, let me tell you how to make crepes the right way, the way I've seen it done over here and in Paris:
    1. It has be big and thin, with the batter rolled out by a roller or spoon.
    2. After it cooks on one side (not long!) flip it over
    3. Add the filling to one half of the crepe
    4. Fold the other half over on top of it, making a half-circle shape
    5.
the 6 I traveled with
Tri-fold it (almost like how they cut quesadillas) so that it in a triangle shape but triple thick
    6. Stand it upright (big open side up), wrap in something such as a napkin, and eat from top to bottom.
    7. If it is a sweet crepe, add whip cream to the top at this point. It is much better eaten like an ice cream cone than with a fork.

OK, enough about crepes. After all of the historical stuff, we got to go on the harbor cruise and tour the port. The boat was small, but the bay was beautiful and our tour guide was funny. We got to see a lot of the more modern battleships docked there as well as the other stuff out in the water. We got back from that and went to have dinner and shop at this cool outdoor mall they have there. Three of us ate a a nice Italian place and the others went to a Chinese buffet.
Spinnaker Tower
It was a very relaxing evening, as we meandered around and even checked out the "beach," which was really just a narrow strip of rocks, but it was fun to skip them across the water. At about 9:30, when the sun began to start going down (I know, the days are so dang long over here), we decided it was time to head back to the train station. This is where the journey gets interesting...
    Come to find out that on weekends, the last trains from Portsmouth in the direction of Oxford leave at 8:30, so needless to say, we missed our train. Our two options at that point were to go to Southampton, which was the bigger train hub that we had stopped at on the way down, and try to catch a train there, or head to London.
the harbor
We chose Southampton, and off we were. Unfortunately the trains were the small, slow commuter type, and we had a short stopover at the Fratton stop (I still enjoy the name), so it took about and hour to get to Southampton. By the time we got there, we realized the truth: getting home was going to be quite a journey. There were no more trains from Southampton to Oxford.
    Deciding that we didn't want to spend the night in Soutwestern England, and due to the fact that we didn't want to have to use up another whole day of train passes for the next morning, we took the only train that we could. It was going to London. At least we finally had a plan, since there is 24 hour bus service from London to Oxford. The train ride was quite long, two hours in fact, mostly because there were 19 stops in between! But we had a good time, and came up with fun and creative games to keep us up.
Me & Ben again
We rolled into London at about 1am, and since the subway had closed over an hour ago, it was off to the bus station on foot.
    The walk from London Waterloo train station to Victoria bus station took us nearly an hour. London has three train stations: Waterloo is the big international one, Paddington is the one with service to Oxford (during the day), and Victoria is also a bus hub. Usually, each is a quick subway ride to another, but having to walk across half the city is a different story. Although it was long, we had a blast. We were in London again! Who would've thought. City is beautiful at night, and we enjoyed it on our way to the bus stop. Unfortunately, we had to wait on the bus for about an hour, which was the worst part. But after that, around 3am, the bus finally came and we bought tickets and went home, arriving around 4:30am.
red phone booth!
Needless to say, we all went back and crashed. I got up at about 1pm today and felt great. Sometimes, flying by the seat of your pants is the most fun way to travel!
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guys with the figurehead
guys with the figurehead
me & the Victory
me & the Victory
goldmember
goldmember
happy sailor
happy sailor
the 6 I traveled with
the 6 I traveled with
Spinnaker Tower
Spinnaker Tower
the harbor
the harbor
Me & Ben again
Me & Ben again
red phone booth!
red phone booth!
big sign
big sign
this was a figurehead on a boat
this was a figurehead on a boat
HMS Victory
HMS Victory
Victorys figurehead
Victory's figurehead
upper gundeck of the Victory
upper gundeck of the Victory
captains quarters
captain's quarters
I look very pale
I look very pale
goofy
goofy
the HMS Warrior
the HMS Warrior
Warriors figurehead
Warrior's figurehead
happy sailor: closeup
happy sailor: closeup
some British ship
some British ship
the Victory from afar
the Victory from afar
a Destroyer
a Destroyer
on the harbor tour
on the harbor tour
Spinnaker Tower
Spinnaker Tower
nice view
nice view
Spinnaker Tower
Spinnaker Tower
the water
the water
rock band pose
rock band pose
bridge over the Thames
bridge over the Thames
the River Thames at night
the River Thames at night
you can see the Eye from here
you can see the Eye from here
Big Ben at night
Big Ben at night
London Eye all lit up
London Eye all lit up
important call
important call
Portsmouth
photo by: Hannah1982Bug