British Airways did an outstanding job getting us from Orlando to London Gatwick, It was so nice to be treated as welcome guests instead of cattle. The bags were free, so was the food. The in-flight entertainment I though was excellent and the seats were both roomy and comfortable. Who knew that flying could be enjoyable again?
We left Orlando at 5.00pm and arrived in Gatwick at 7.00am. We had snatches of sleep here and there but we were very jet lagged on arrival. customs and immigration were a breeze and we were soon walking from the air terminal to the rail terminal in the same building. a 40 minute wait went by quickly as we people watched and drank in the sounds of several different European languages being spoken by our fellow travelers.
The train took 90 minutes to reach Portsmouth on the South Coast of England, taking us through the rich green countryside. We were delighted to see all the sheep, something rarely seen in the parts of the US that we've been to. The spring lambs were running around having lots of fun.
In Portsmouth we took a cab to the rental car company. We have had many bad experiences with rental cars from London's airports and were determined to avoid another, plus taking the train was so much easier than driving the 100 or so miles when jet lagged.
My Aunt Sheila lives in Portsmouth and had kindly offered us the use of her spare bedroom. The Sat Nav (GPS) built into the rental car got us there without a hitch. Me driving the car on the left side of the road with the steering on the right and the stick shift on the left was slightly less straightforward, but I started to get the hang of it before long.
|The Renault Cleo Rental Car|
Friday we all went for a walk along the sea front. Portsmouth was Britain's main Naval base from ancient times and the fortifications that protected the port are still there. Lord Nelson, the Royal Navy's most famous Admiral walked these very walls, and his flagship HMS Victory is preserved just across the harbor together with the Mary Rose, Henry the Eighth's warship that capsized and sank on its during a battle in the harbor. It was raised and preserved in one of the earliest underwater archaeological digs.
|The harbor defenses at "The Point"|
The harbor is a busy one, with many car ferries going to Spain and France and a nearby island named the Isle of Wight which sits in the entrance to the Solent river. Cruise ships, dredgers, survey ships and pleasure boats all wove their way out to sea too.
|Even a hovercraft service to the Isle of Wight|
|Not a good picture, more later!|
|Cab over bed of course|
Easy come easy go they say, and after spending the night on the way back in Salisbury we spent Sunday morning exploring that city before driving back to Portsmouth and dinner out with Sheila and my cousins John, Liz and Helen plus their spouses.
I even fitted in a little drawing and painting too!!
|The City Gates|
|Half timbered buildings everywhere|
For a map of our travels so far see: