Trip Start Sep 07, 2010
60Trip End Aug 21, 2011
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As my train left the platform, the conductor didn't see the need to tell any of us that part of the track was being replaced until after we’d already departed
Eventually I rejoined the rail network and chugged into the Portsmouth Harbour Station which is actually built up on a pier above the beach in the harbor. Portsmouth is a “small” seaside town with about 200,000 people living there. For some reason, the exit of the station faces north when everything you want to visit in Portsmouth is south of the station. I navigated my way around and under the station through some footpaths (passing a few gentlemen on stilts, interesting) and finally emerged in Portsmouth’s main shopping area, known as Gunwharf Quays. The entire area was quite modern, and the observation tower, Spinnaker Tower, is located along the seaside of the complex.
Spinnaker Tower was supposed to be completed in 1999 and dubbed Millennium Tower; however, the project ran a bit over budget (as all projects do) and opened in 2005
Once I left the tower, I followed the footpath that runs along the English Channel to see some of Portsmouth’s other sights. I first walked towards Old Portsmouth, the location of the original town of Portsmouth when it was officially founded in 1180. I also past the large Portsmouth Cathedral. The church was first built in the 12th century and remodeled an upgraded to its present cathedral status in the 20th century. Following the trail that runs along the sea, I next arrived at the Round Tower, a fortification built in the 15th century. The Round Tower is open to the public, and, in fact, you will be lead through it while following the seaside trail. Next on the trail was Clarence Pier, filled with amusements and roller coasters. After passing the pier, I arrived at a very large field known as Southsea Common which also coincided with my departure from Portsmouth and my arrival in Southsea. The two towns have grown together over the years and are essentially the same place. In the field, closest to the sea, is the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, a stunning tower that honors those in the Royal Navy whose lives were lost defending the kingdom
I saw a sign for “The Pyramids” labeled in brown (you know, the type of signs that indicate something of historical or natural importance). So I followed the signed in that direction to find out that The Pyramids were simply a leisure center in the shape of pyramids. I found the sign a bit misleading. However, beside The Pyramids was the D-Day Museum that I stopped in. The D-Day Museum was actually quite extensive. Inside they have a very detailed quilt that stretches around a large circular room that details every scene from WWII. In the center of the room is a little movie theater that shows a 20 minute film focusing on D-Day. The film was very interesting and used personal stories and actual footage from the time to tell the story of D-Day and how the war affected the daily lives of British citizens. The main portion of the museum focused on the lives of British citizens detailing rationing, bomb shelters, the role of women entering the workforce, sending children away from large city centers. They also had maps showing the route of invasion, weapons, vehicles, and quotes from British solders and generals
After leaving the museum, I walked back to the Portsmouth Habour Station which had me walking upwards of 7 miles altogether by the end of the day. The seaside front was very nice, and the weather warranted a nice walk along the beachfront. Overall, Portsmouth and Southsea are proper English town with some interesting sites, and the Spinnaker Tower has made an excellent addition to the city’s skyline.
P.S. The city’s nickname is Pompey (also the name for several sports teams as well). The nickname derivation is up for debate, but it could be from shipping abbreviations for the city being “Pom” for “Portsmouth.”