The following morning, I bid Sara a sad farewell as she headed off to work. Then I got myself organised, and walked half way across Portsmouth to the Historic Dockyard. I must have looked very confident about where I was going, because I got asked for directions twice. Thankfully, one person was looking for something that I'd just walked past five minutes earlier so I was able to help! The other one was less successful, however.
After about half an hour, I made it to the Dockyard. I'd been planning on seeing the HMS Victory as well as the Mary Rose, but given that I was planning on catching a train at about 1pm and it was already after 10am, I didn't really have the time. Or, you know, the money. They tried to sell me on an annual pass at the gate, but my accent combined with my "..........seriously??" face must have worked enough that they backed off pretty quickly. Also, there was a TARDIS there and literally no explanation for it. I *may* have flailed briefly before realising that it was almost certainly a prop.
Ultimately, I decided to go with the Mary Rose. The last time I saw the Mary Rose was probably 1994, and it was still just basically a big room that you walked through while they sprayed the ship with water and a separate museum building. Now? There's a fabulous museum incorporating the ship at the centre, spread across three levels and filled with information about all the different parts of the ship as well as the people who sailed on it.
At the moment, it's kind of hard to see the scale of the ship itself. They've finally finished spraying it with polyethylene glycol, and the ship is being dried so there are big drying tubes everywhere, and you just peep in at the ship at various points.
So that part was ever so slightly disappointing, but the museum itself was AWESOME.
All the exhibits were fascinating, and I loved how they were centred around various members of the crew, complete with facial reconstructions. But I think my favourite part was learning about the galley - how the stoves worked, how the food for each mess was kept separate, how they were able to have open fires and make bread and all kinds of stuff ON A FREAKING WOODEN SHIP.
I also may have sniggered more than was warranted over what these daggers looked like without their long-gone blades:
Eventually, I came to the end of the museum and made my way to the cafe for a fortifying double chocolate muffin and a sit down before walking back to Sara's. I passed HMS Victory, HMS Warrior, and Spinnaker Tower on the way:
After another half hour walk, I staggered up the four flights of stairs to Sara's apartment, drank a massive glass of water, went for a wee, grabbed my suitcase, headed back down the stairs, and dragged my suitcase the kilometre to the train station. It was about as fun as you'd anticipate. I was a little worried that I'd miss the train I'd planned on catching, but I made it with enough time to buy a ticket and chill out for five minutes before jumping on the train.
It took about two hours to get to Waterloo, and thankfully the train was almost empty for most of the trip so I didn't feel guilty for taking up a block of four seats with all my stuff. When I got back to London, I then had to trek from Waterloo to London Bridge to get the house keys from C, then head back to his place to dump all my stuff.
I had a whopping 45 minutes in which to collapse on the sofa before heading out again to meet C at Kings Cross and jump on a train to Cambridge. The train was crowded with commuters, so we ended up spending the trip sitting very uncomfortably in a luggage rack. Upon arrival in Cambridge, we hightailed it down the road to The Cambridge Blue. We were meeting up with friends of C's from Melbourne who happened to be in Cambridge for a couple of days.
I have literally no idea what I ate, because it was months ago, but I seem to remember it being delicious. Also, shout out to the girl behind the bar who didn't bat an eyelid when I walked up and said "My brother wants a pint of something hoppy, and he said "surprise me"..." because C was sitting between a small child and the wall and couldn't order his own damned beer.
After a couple of hours, the small child was getting cranky, so we said our goodbyes and headed back to the train station to discover that we'd just pissed a train and there was a half hour wait for the next one. Obviously, I went to the M&S at the station and bought up on Percy Pigs. It shouldn't have taken that long to get back to Kings Cross, but TWICE on the way back, the train lost power. The first time, all the lights went out and we were all just sitting there on a stopped train wondering if we were about to be attacked by Dementors*.
Then the driver made an announcement along the lines of "I have no idea what's going on, but I'll try and work it out", and then proceeded to wander through the train with a torch opening panels and investigating things. We finally rolled - literally. It was like the train was running on fumes - into Kings Cross about 45 minutes later than we should have. Thankfully, we didn't have far to go to get back to C's, where I promptly collapsed into bed. Which isn't surprising considering my Fitbit tells me I walked 18.35km that day!
Next time, I suck at navigating and go to the theatre.