The rest of our time in Portsmouth might be considered boring unless you’re the type of person that owns both the Horatio Hornblower miniseries and The Hunt For Red October. On VHS.
A full day was spent at the Historic Dockyard. Tours of the HMS Warrior and HMS Victory were a couple hours each and I loved every second of it. Hear me out. I grew up watching and reading about military history in all its forms. I had a weird obsession with historical weapons and vehicles from as far back as I can remember. So for me, this wasn’t about touring boats. Nobody gives a shit about boats. This things were floating fortresses. The Warrior was a 40-gun ironclad and walking up and down the gun decks was like the scene in the Matrix where Neo goes gun shopping down infinite hallways. Muskets, pistols, swords, bayonets and cannonballs everywhere you look. Impressive.
The Victory though was a 104-gun ship of the line and was Lord Nelson’s personal killing machine at the Battle of Trafalgar. Truly an amazing beast of weaponry. No wonder Britain owned the damn world for so long.
The entire day was a fantastic history lesson and a must-do for anyone who appreciates military history… or boats.
We missed out on the HMS Alliance, the last remaining A-class diesel submarine from WWII, so we had to make a pit stop in there this morning on the way out of town to complete the naval history trifecta of awesomeness. How in the hell people ever volunteered to go to war in that tin can I will never know. The tour was led by Jim, the last serving chef aboard the Alliance. That dude has seen some shit. I also now feel wimpy about throwing out loaves of bread when the end piece has a bit of mold on it.
The road from Portsmouth to Bath, our next stop, has a convenient and ridiculously cool halfway point. Stonehenge! Stonehenge is definitely just an organized-looking pile of rocks, but I always get a bit awestruck when looking at things made anywhere near that long ago. I find it amazing that people 5000 years ago knew that much about the earth and the stars, not to mention the craziness that they possessed to move all that rock there from so far away. Worth the stop for sure. A stormy English backdrop added to the eeriness of it.