25 June 2013

England Da Recap Part II: Oxford, Stonehenge, Portsmouth

I'm sorry. I'm really, really sorry. I accept your nomination for Worst Blogger Ever and am prepared to win that title against a field of other crappy bloggers, i.e., dead people, badgers, and the like.

In my defense, my bike exploded and now I have to walk everyone. And when I say "my bike" I really mean "just the back tire" but "my bike exploded" sounds so much cooler than "so there it was, sitting in the garden, when all of a sudden the back wheel blew up with such a loud bang, my neighbors all thought someone had been shot."

Anyway, I really need to get on England recapping like, pronto. Here we go. Next stop on our epic England adventures: OXFORD!

After lovely times in Bath, Glastonbury, and Wells, we hit the road with Claire's parents and went to Oxford which was awesome. We mostly spent the day running around like morons. First we climbed this giant old Saxon tower (when we walked in, some lady was practicing organ and it was kind of entertaining) where we had a nice view over town:



Then we started going into random colleges/sneaking onto tours. I can see why Oxford is awesome, my university sure as hell didn't look like this:




Then we ran into some more buildings, ate crappy ice cream, saw a cool exhibit on fantasy books, and generally had an awesome day.

Next up: STONEHENGE OH MY GOD STONEHENGE.

First, it was really cool. Also the audio tour accompanying it was pretty bangin. Now have lots and lots of pictures of Stonehenge from different angles.








After Stonehenge, Claire's sister came to visit with a friend, so we switched places--they stayed with her parents, we went to stay with Claire's aunt and uncle outside of Brighton. First thing we did visiting them was...

PORTSMOUTH!

Was probably one of my favorite places of the whole trip because it was straight-up badass. Also, I would highly, highly recommend it. 

Claire and I got there at like 1 in the afternoon. After wandering the free museum and getting lunch, we decided to buy tickets that would enable us to see all five ships parked in the harbor. But the ships were so cool we wound up only seeing two which is why I want to go back sometime.

The first ship we checked out was the HMS Warrior, an old war ship that apparently used to be the best thing ever until technology caught up with it and then it wasn't. The whole ship is open to be explored, so explore we did.



Climb on shit, that's what we do.

Claire is awesome at loading cannons.




After that it was off to the Mary Rose, the wreckage of a 16th century warship that sunk before the battle ever started, apparently because there were too many cannons on it. Then a gust of wind came and pushed the ship over while it was turning, water rushed in to the open cannon portal thingies and the ship sank. Also there was a net over the deck to make boarding the ship more difficult for the bad guys--but it also trapped 500+ people on a sinking ship.

The Mary Rose museum was awesome awesome awesome. The ship sunk on it's side, so half of it was super well preserved from being embedded in the ocean bottom. When they dragged the wreckage out of the water, they spent some two decades spraying it with a wax thing to replace the water (which was holding the ship together). A few years ago, they stopped waxing and started drying, which is what those massive tubes are. Eventually those will come out too, and people will just get awesome views of the hull.


I didn't take a whole lot of pictures because the lighting was dim but seriously, if you ever go to Portsmouth and don't go to the Mary Rose exhibit, don't tell me because I will be very upset with you. They pulled so many really cool and amazingly well-preserved artifacts out of the water. Also they had a lot of examples of bones, and how they were able to guess people's occupations from the wear and tear on the skeletons. It was SO cool. We took so long going through every room that we wound up being the last two people there and got escorted out of the museum by a security guy who looked angry.

Then on our way back we had a half-hour stop in Brighton, which we killed by wandering around the train station and finding pre-measured portions of wine in convenient plastic glasses.

One more England recap coming up shortly!

3 comments:

bevchen said...

1. Oxford looks gorgeous! I've been to Cambridge, but Oxford is still on my list.

2. Agreed about the Stonehenage audio tour... sooo much information!

3. I haven't been to Portsmouth since I was about 8 and I'm pretty sure all we did then was go to the beach (we alternated between Bournmouth, Portsmouth and Southend on Sea) so I have never been to the Mary Rose museum. Please don't hate me... blame my mother instead!

ifs ands Butts said...

Those wines - genius! I know this isn't all I should comment on, but they deserve recognition. I really need to explroe more of the UK - all look like great stops!

Anonymous said...

Did any of the Stonehenge ghosts follow you for a while?