A major city on England’s south coast
is the busy port of Portsmouth —
long the home of the Royal Navy.
For centuries, Britain, a maritime superpower,
relied on the fleets based here to maintain and expand its vast empire.
As an obvious military target,
Portsmouth was nearly flattened by World War II bombs,
but has been rebuilt since 1945.
Its cathedral survived only
because the Nazis used it as a beaconto help guide their bombs.
With post-war construction hasty and poorly planned,
the city became infamous for its bad architecture.
But an impressive gentrification is under way.
As the Navy shrinks and tourism grows,
Portsmouth is enjoying new life.
Underneath a sail-like tower,
its formerly gritty industrial waterfronthas been transformed
into a vital shopping and restaurant complex.
The once-formidable ramparts are now a park-like promenade
lined with historic points of interest,
mostly ignored by those simply enjoying a refreshing stroll.
With the notoriously blustery weather,
local kids gather at the base of the wall.
Nicknamed the”Hot Walls,” it’s out of the wind
and retains warmth from the unreliable English sun.
At the tip of the ramparts,
formerly salty old pubs now serve not sailors but a trendy crowd.
Their conversation is punctuated by the passage of massive ships and ferries
artfully powering through the narrow mouth of the harbor.