On Monday, May 12th, the Endeavour arrived at the final port of our trip, Portsmouth, England.
We had an early final breakfast aboard the Endeavour, and then were off with 22 of our fellow passengers on yet another tour bus, this time with all of our luggage stowed below. After a brief partial tour of Portsmouth we arrived at the Naval Yard, where we got an in-depth, private tour of the HMS Victory. The tour was conducted by Peter Goodwin, the curator of the HMS Victory. Peter and his wife Katy had been on-board with us on the Endeavour since Lisbon, and had been both very informative as well as fun folks to hang out with.
The Traveling Richters pose in front of the HMS Victory
This part of our trip was in fact the only one which exceeded our expectations, as we had not expected to find the HMS Victory or its curator to be so interesting, and getting a private tour by someone as passionate about the Victory as Peter obviously was.
The curator of the HMS Victory, Peter Goodwin, holds up glassware which belonged to Admiral Nelson
The two key things we took away about the HMS Victory are that it is the oldest British Naval vessel still in active service, even though it has been in dry dock for over six decades. And, the HMS Victory is the vessel upon which the much admired Lord Admiral Nelson died during the Battle of Trafalgar on October 21, 1805.
The Victory is a fabulous vessel, and now in excellent shape, thanks in great part to the efforts Peter has been making. But I also learned that back in the early 1800s, people were a lot shorter than I am (as the sore bumps on my head will attest).
After our tour of the HMS Victory, we visited an exhibition which describes how the top sail (which is the size of a soccer field) was being cared for, and what had been learned about its history. This was followed by more touring of Portsmouth.
Peter and Katy also joined us for lunch at a restaurant called the Lemon Sole, where we found the food and service to be mediocre, and the staff reluctant to adapt to eaters who could not or would not eat fish for lunch.
We then bid Peter and Katy adieu, and were off to London on our bus, arriving at the Hilton Hyde Park in the late afternoon. Due to my Gold-level HHonors status we got upgraded to a very nice corner room with the kids next door. The only bad thing was that an ear problem Linda had been suffering from since the prior night had become so painful that we had to have a doctor come pay a visit. He prescribed her some medicine, which we went out to get before having an excellent dinner at Royal China, a small chain of high end Chinese restaurants in London. We opted for Chinese because we had tired a bit of food without a lot of spice and zest during our travels, and were not disappointed.
We went to bed with full tummies, but Linda’s ear problem prevented her from sleeping well, unfortunately.