Apart from already having many and varied vocational interests, I also plan at some point in time in the future to attain some educational background in marine biology. So, where better to begin to look than the City of Plymouth, one of the most renowned and top-ranked places where this is taught in the UK.
I also needed a jolly good holiday after a mountain of recent hard work!
THURSDAY 29th August
I travelled to this picturesque Devonshire port city by rail on Thursday of last week via Paddington, London having left Stevenage at around midday and relaxed in spacious and comfortable seating, as we zoomed effortlessly through the beautiful countryside on a sleek looking and half full, spotlessly clean, Great Western Railway express train.
We passed by many fields, lakes, rivers, moorlands and attractive coastline, stopping at places like Reading, Taunton, Tiverton and the ancient city of Exeter to name but a few.
When I arrived in Plymouth, I felt happy and eager, so immediately I endeavoured to locate my digs; a small cottage near to Union Street using the GPS on the phone. When I arrived I was greeted at the door by a charming lady and one’s host for the duration, who went by the name of Angelica. She was kind and amenable and showed me to my budget room while she explained the house rules.
I had some time to spare, so I walked in an easterly direction past some interesting looking modern and old buildings and located the fabulous Plymouth Hoe, again by GPS, arriving at the top of a small but steep hill. (The situation of a strategically positioned, tall and prettily painted, red and white striped lighthouse).
First things first, after taking in the vastness and scale of the scenery, I chatted for a short period of time to the lady driver of an ice cream van. She was parked on the street overlooking the sea and I purchased a refreshing ice cream in a cone from her with a chocolate flake on the top.
I then stopped to enjoy a cheese sandwich and a cup of coffee at an outdoor cafe, along the way.
I relaxed and listened to the squawks of the seagulls and breathed in the salty air, while appreciating the calm elevated view of Plymouth Sound, with its dots of yachts and vessels bobbing on the horizon. (I sat pleased as punch at a small wobbly table, just nearby to where Sir Francis Drake, the celebrated Admiral finished his famous game of bowls, before helping to historically defeat the Spanish Armada back in 1588).
It had been a long day and so I trecked back to the digs and I slept well until 8am.
FRIDAY 30th August
After a breakfast comprising a vegan sausage roll and a cup of coffee in the pedestrianised central shopping area, I went on a short walk to visit a ‘Plymouth City Council’ run, drop-in centre where I enquired about accommodation and relocation in the event that I do, in fact, decide to study here. The queue was short, the security was polite and the lady at the reception desk was both friendly and helpful.
Then I strolled a short distance, to what was the highlight of the trip and the main reason for the visit to Plymouth in the first place; an admission, (with a pre-booked ticket) to the ‘National Marine Aquarium’, the biggest aquarium in the UK holding a staggering 400 different species.
I would recommend anyone visiting Plymouth to attend this aquarium because it is informative, well laid-out and highly educational. Indeed there were many children at the aquarium with their parents who all seemed to be having a great time poking about in the man-made rockpools and engaging with the shows and exhibits whilst learning at the same time.
I walked around the displays, huge tanks and exhibitions, taking notes about marine life etc. for future reference. I thoroughly enjoyed the attraction and rounding-off the experience with a lovely cup of self-serve coffee in the well-lit and spacious cafe. I spent roughly an hour and a half at the NMA in total.
I did plenty of other interesting things in Plymouth whilst visiting, including; A ride around the nearby villages, viewing the scenery on the top deck of a comfortable environmentally-friendly, public transport bus. I also had an enjoyable and inexpensive Chinese buffet dinner, wrote some postcards and took many photos.
SATURDAY 31st August
After a good night’s rest, I left for Stevenage from a tidy and well kept Plymouth railway station at 12.05 on Saturday afternoon.
I got home to Stevenage at about 5pm after travelling an approximate 500-mile round trip.
In all, a well-deserved and fun break!