Days  1 - 2
Days  3 - 5
Days  6 - 8
Days   9 - 11
Days 12-13





Day Trips

Days 6 - 8: 

We took a series of short, one-day trips to see different sort of attractions.  With the efficient and accessible British subway and rail system this was easy and fun.  Lauren had to sacrifice her "Full British Breakfast" for train station food of espresso and a crescent since we just never seemed to get up early enough to both have a leisurely breakfast and make the right trains.


This was something different.  It was in western England, almost to Wales.  It has little military significance but great cultural impact.  Lauren likes old - and Bath is old.  Besides the 18th Century atmosphere is the restored (once in 1860 and once recently) Roman hot baths.

On the way - early breakfast in Victoria Station and across the width of England.

We took a Guide Friday tour of the city which provided us some interesting scenes within this 18th Century town and some wonderful views from hills above it.  The Cathedral was closed as it was getting a new pastor that weekend but the Roman Baths were open. The Roman Baths date somewhere around 100+ BC but there is evidence that there were shrines there earlier.  After the Romans left around 450, various other groups came and went but the baths eventually collapsed and were buried through neglect.  Victorians resurrected the baths and constructed the present entry gate and building.  In the past two decades there has been a lot of work in restoration as well as archeology around the site.

Portsmouth Harbor:

Again on the train - but this time they had real compartments - just like in the movies.

We took the tour of the HMS Victory - the oldest commissioned ship in any Navy today.  Launched by the French in the 1720s, it was captured and used by the British Navy.  It was Nelson's flagship during the battle of Trafalgar (the most decisive naval battle of all time) and it is where Nelson was killed.  Beyond the actual "history" of this ship, I can say that modern diets have helped people grow.  Sailors back then must have been really short.  Next we visited the HMS Warrior - 1860.  This was the first all-steel hull in the British Navy.  It was remarkable that although it was primarily steam, much of the technology hadn't changed since the Victory.  We took a harbor tour to look at the Royal Navy ships in port.  It was interesting to see the differences in size from ships 200 years before.  The weather was a bit rough and the wind had picked up.  Lauren was very cold - but once fortified with hot cocoa, she was fine for the duration.

Blenheim Palace:

Blenheim palace was built for John Churchill the 1st Duke of Marlborough after his victory over the French at Blenheim, Flanders.  It was a magnificent gift from Queen Anne whose best friend was John's wife, Sarah.  To get there we took the train to Oxford and then the bus to the palace.  The palace itself is almost too big and impressive to believe it was (and is) someone's home.  The grounds and gardens are incredible.  There is a formal "State Garden" and a more informal sculpture garden in the back.

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