Posted by: lindsaygoes | May 16, 2012

Walking Winchester and Portsmouth

Winchester Cathedral Crypt

One of the (many) things I love about travelling is the people you meet. Some are involved with incredible memories at the time, others fun to hang around while sharing an adventure, and the rarest group of all are those who you stay in contact with, having made a lasting connection.

I was lucky enough to catch up with one of those rarer friends on the weekend, who I hadn’t seen in two years, since we met in Scotland. It was wonderful to catch up, and while we both had a bit of trepidation that things might be a bit weird after so long (and only meeting for 10 days in the first place) we ended up chatting constantly on random things and having a great time.

So, on the Saturday we headed to Winchester, and after hearing a comment behind us, “There are a lot of weird people around here.” (I then said loudly “Do you think they were talking about us?”) we headed into town and after a hot drink we joined a walking tour which took us around town. It was pretty good and we got to see a number of historic sights around Winchester and then got discounted entry to the Cathedral (once it had reopened after a confirmation), and then we joined a tour of the Cathedral. Which probably could have been shortened. I felt a bit sorry for the guide though because he kept getting interrupted by someone in the group asking questions about the symbolism of deer, and correcting him on statue identification. But it was nice to know a bit more about the history of the Cathedral. My favourite part was the Crypt which was flooded because of all the rain we’ve had lately and had lovely reflections of all the archways and an Anthony Gormley statue in the centre of the room. It had a lovely atmosphere to the space. We ended up heading for a well earned late lunch after that and after resting our legs we went to the West Wall and City Museums, which were probably more designed for children than adults, but the West Wall Museum had a good view, and we also found the King Alfred the Great Statue. Admittedly it wasn’t all that hard to find, standing at the end of the High Street.

The next day we headed to Portsmouth, managing to just catch the train. Except we headed for the less well located Portsmouth and Southsea station and had about a mile walk to the interesting area of town. Once we got the the water we went to the Tourist Information Centre, except it had been relocated to about another mile away. So we decided that instead of using maps, we would find our way around Southampton based on signs (never a good idea in the UK), and the view from the top of the Spinnaker Tower, which we visited first. The Spinnaker Tower was pretty cool, with a glass section of the floor which you could stand on and look down to the ground between your feet. I’m proud to say I took up the challenge, and after the first few seconds of fear, it was fine. We were lucky enough to have lovely clear weather (particularly after the rubbish weather lately) and a fantastic view over to the Isle of Wight (the reverse of the view I had when I was on the Isle of Wight).

We then headed along the waterfront (another mile or so, after getting a bit lost) and went to the D-Day Museum and Overlord Embroidery, which is I guess the modern version of the Bayeux Tapestry, looking at the Second World War and Operation Overlord. It was an amazing piece of artwork, stretching 83 meters and with fantastic details in every piece. We had a bit of a wander around the rest of the museum, but the embroidery was my favourite. Then we went to Southsea Castle which had some lovely views, and then back along the waterfront before having lunch…outside…in England! It was lovely to sit in the sun for a bit even if the wind was a bit chilly.

Our final attraction for the day was the Portsmouth Historic Dockyards where we saw HMS Warrior and HMS Victory. We kind of got there at the end of the day, so we just walked around the general areas without buying tickets, but it was still good to do. By the time we had finished our feet were pretty sore so we started the long walk back to the station.

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