Posts Tagged ‘HMS Victory’

Portsmouth to London

May 17th, 2008 at 4:31 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

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
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 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.

 

Spending Time At Sea

May 13th, 2008 at 5:34 am (AST) by Jake Richter

After we left Coruna on Friday, we set “sail” (the National Geographic Endeavour is a motor-powered vessel with no masts, but it still “sails”) for St. Malo, France, two days and hundreds of miles away.

So as to ensure that we would not be too bored while spending a couple days at sea, a number of lectures and events were planned on board, and we participated in all of them, including:

– Several in-depth presentations about the HMS Victory, the ship upon which Admiral Nelson died during the battle of Trafalgar in October, 1805. Our presenters were Peter Goodwin and his wife Katy. Peter is the curator of the HMS Victory, and we had a chance to get a private tour conducted by Peter when we landed in Portsmouth yesterday. We learned a lot about naval warfare with sailing vessels and Nelson.

– Wine tasting featuring Spanish Rioja wines.

Our table was littered with wine glasses after the Rioja tasting
Our table was littered with wine glasses after the Rioja tasting

– A National Geographic GeoBee – a competitive quiz featuring questions about world geography and culture. The Traveling Richters tied for third place, meaning we all got GeoBee medals.

We tied for third place in the GeoBee aboard the National Geographic Endeavour
We tied for third place in the GeoBee aboard the National Geographic Endeavour

– Madeira tasting featuring three different Madeira wines.

The three Madeira wines we tasted at the Madeira tasting
The three Madeira wines we tasted at the Madeira tasting

– A nice presentation on the Basque culture and Basque whalers given by one of the naturalist staff members, Sean. Introduced the suggestion that the Basque people might be more direct genetic descendants from Cro Magnon man, and also pointed out that the Basque whalers were early visitors to North America, much like the Vikings were, although neither established permanent settlements.

– A lecture about bird species found in the areas we had visited and would be visiting.

– A discussion of the geology of the world as it relates to plate tectonics. The key takeaway point for us was that the “seven continents” we’ve all learned about are a fallacy when it comes to real geology, as there are actually about 25 various tectonically derived continents of various sizes (including a mini-continent which Italy is part of). The seven continents we’ve been taught are merely a human interpretation based on large land masses surrounded by water, with no actual regard for how things connect geologically.

– A photo slide show by a half dozen participants (including Krystyana and myself).

We also had a nice Philippines themed dinner during the time at sea.

One of the staff carves meat off a roasted suckling pig
One of the staff carves meat off a roasted suckling pig

All told, we were kept pretty busy between ports.