Had a great night's sleep, although we both woke around 5 am, but went promptly back to sleep. Full breakfast was included so we made our way down to the Horatio room, with a huge floor to ceiling portrait of Nelson on the wall. Plenty of food and drink to choose from including, for Rae, black pudding. We headed the couple of hundred metres down to the Historic Dockyard where we joined a queue. The gates had not yet opened. We entered without too much drama, purchasing an all inclusive ticket which gave us access to as many of the exhibits that we could fit in, and including a harbour cruise.
We headed straight for the Victory, Nelson's flagship, and the one on which he died in the Battle of Trafalgar. We had an interesting audio tour of the ship, doing our best to dodge the school students. It included an unfolding story of the battle with a dramatization of Nelson's last moments. A lamp marks the spot where he died. After the tour we were ready for drink and a sandwich in the cafe next to the Mary Rose museum, so we headed in there next and spent some time chatting to a couple with two young kids. It was drizzling rain still so we headed straight into the Mary Rose Museum, again another really interesting place. The Mary Rose, built for Henry VIII in 1510, was used as a battleship for 30 years before sinking off the coast of Portsmouth in 1545. Many attempts were made to raise her over the years, a successful attempt being made in 1982. Since then she has been painstakingly preserved, and is today the only 16th century warship on display in the world. She is housed inside the museum, separated from the public by glazing. Around the walls of the museum are many retrieved artefacts from the ship together with stories about the people on the ship and the scientific methods used to investigate the people and objects. Many of the people were archers, identified by the way their shoulder joints had been worn down with use. Fascinating!
Next we had a look over the HMS M33, which survived Gallipoli. The M stands for Monitor gunship. It was interesting to compare life on board the different ships over the centuries. Starting to flag, we had a quick look around the National Navy museum before queueing up for the harbour tour, glad to sit down and be off our feet for a while. It showed us just how extensive the area is, and as it is a working area, there was a lot of movement going on. Lastly, we climbed aboard the HMS Warrior, from 1860, at that time the fastest, largest and most powerful warship in the world. She was powered by both steam and sail, and was such a deterrent that she never fired a shot in anger. By now, very weary we made our way back to RMC, although I made a detour to purchase a UK sim card. We headed down to the pool and spa to relax our weary bones before walking the short distance to the pub nearby for dinner. The lamb shank was very welcome!Read more