(written by Dave)
The title of this post is a little misleading as our posts are only about 1,000 words long and Plymouth has way too much history to describe in anything close to 1,000 words. Plus, we spent most of the day in our room working over a do-able plan for France and Spain, rather than checking out Plymouth. Late this afternoon we managed to tear ourselves away from Google maps and Wikipedia long enough to have a brief stroll of the Barbicon area of Plymouth. We were glad that we did.
Had we been paying more attention in our grade school history classes, or for that matter, in our more recent Australia citizenship studies, we would have known that Plymouth holds a pretty special place in both American and Australian history. In 1620, the Pilgrim Fathers left Plymouth for the New World and established Plymouth Colony – the second English settlement in what is now the US. In 1787, two of Australia’s first fleet sailed from Plymouth (the rest of the ships sailed from Portsmouth). The two ships that sailed from Plymouth, the Friendship and Charlotte were convict transports.
Over the years, Plymouth has seen many famous maritime events, so many so that the harbour foreshore walls are covered by plaques. We were kind of lucky to spot the US and Aussie plaques just by chance. Being a key naval port meant that the Germans targeted Plymouth during WWII and much of the city was destroyed. The waterfront area was completely rebuilt but from appearances they kept as many of the old buildings and docks as they could. Wandering about the alleyways it wasn’t hard to imagine the odd pilgrim or Aussie bound convict leaning against a lamppost.
We weren’t out long but long enough to eat twice. We had to sample fresh crab sandwiches on the waterfront. And of course being our last night in England we had to sample one more bitter and some pub food. The bitter this time was from Dorset Brewing and called Durdle Door (I couldn’t resist the name resemblance). The beer was nice. Durdle Door is billed by the brewer as full-bodied, clean tasting with hints of marmalade. Well, my palate is not sophisticated enough to get marmalade but I can report that it was a nice drop – hand pulled in a pub of course.
So, tomorrow we head to France. I’m not sure when we’ll post again, just getting to France should more than enough challenge. We have to take three trains and a ferry, plus ride our bikes between each. There is some chance that we’ll have to unload and reload our bikes with each train and boat change. Counting the load up in the morning and the unloaded in France, worst case we’ll load and unload our bikes 5 times tomorrow. Spare a thought for Nancy here as most of the time she schleps the 12 bags while I move the 2 bikes. This doesn’t sound completely fair but throughout this trip Nancy has gotten much better at getting strong looking nearby men to help her out. I normally time it perfectly so that bags have all been moved from point A to point B just as I return from sorting out the bikes. Tomorrow will be a test for our entire toolkit, schlepping, loading, unloading, begging and pleading skills. Nancy is anxious. I’m thinking that it could be fun [editor’s note – says the man who leaves me standing surrounded by 12 bags and not enough time to get them to the next spot.]. Time will tell.