Today I left York and headed to Duxford to visit the Imperial War Museum (http://www.iwm.org.uk) where I spent most of the day.
Leaving York I finally figured out what the odd smell was in that city. A short ways south of York I came across a whole bunch of cooling towers like those shown below. They dotted the landscape for a least 30 to 40 miles. The towers are part coal fired electrical generation facilities and those facilities give off a horrible coal stench which the prevailing winds bring north to places like York. It is quite bad. I noticed it affecting my breathing and my eyes. This definitely has to be affecting the health of the people living in the area.
The Imperial War Museum (http://www.iwm.org.uk) is located at an old air base at Duxford. The exhibits are housed in 7 large buildings, including a few old hangars, and a few other smaller buildings.
Hangar 2 contains a collection of British and American fighter airplanes. Many are airworthy and some are undergoing restoration like that shown below.
This is a Spitfire in Hanger 2. As I was heading to my car at the end of the day one of these when up for a flight, so I just had to hang around a bit longer to watch it. For those of you that don't know, the Spitfire airplane played a major role in winning the Battle of Britain.
This is a P1 Mustang in Hangar 2. It's an American WWII fighter who's role initially was to escort Bombers from Britain into Germany.
Another photo of the above P1 Mustang.
A Soviet heavy attack helicopter. Looks a lot like the American Apache helicopter, but it is much larger. This aircraft was in service with the forces of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) before re-unification.
A German V1 buzz bomb. Over 10 thousand of these when launched against England in WWII.
A gun from Gibraltar. The sign in front says "Sorry, this is no longer a parking area".
One of my favourite airplanes and what is still claimed to be the fastest in the world, the SR-71 Blackbird. It's in a building called the American Air Museum along with many other American planes and a few other pieces of war equipment. The SR-71 is a bit smaller than I expected and the shape of the body is more bizarre than I thought. Pictures really don't show the complex curves in the body.
This is a layout of the airplanes in the American Air Museum. It's a very busy place.
A U-2 Spy plane.
The way the planes are jammed into the building and hanging from the ceiling it almost feels like a model airplane shop, but it isn't and those are real airplanes that pack a very deadly punch - it's actually kind of sad that mankind has needed this stuff to get through the 20th century. What is it going to take to get through the 21st century?
A P1 Mustang, another of my favourites because it looks and sounds so great when it's flying.
A photo of the Land Warfare Hall. This building is full or WWI and WWII army equipment (mostly British).
A Soviet Josef Stalin 2M Heavy Tank. These were used by the Soviets to smash their way into Berlin in 1944-45.
A shot of the airfield looking towards the new AirSpace building behind the entrance gate at the far right. I was disappointed to learn that the only Lancaster Bomber and Concorde airplanes at the museum have been moved to that building and are currently off limits to the public. That building isn't scheduled to open until next year.
The American Air Museum. If you look closely you can see all the airplanes through the glass front.
The Land Warfare Hall. There is a tank play ground out back, but all the tanks were parked when I went by there.
During the last few days I've driven through a lot of the UK country side, but I haven't been able to photograph much of it for you because I am too busy driving. Driving around here is definitely different than back home on the prairies. You have to constantly be paying attention here. If you are on major roads the traffic is very intense and there are always cars around that you need to keep an eye. If you are on a small side road, it's usually very narrow with limited visibility so you need to really be watching for traffic coming in the other direction. And, unlike back home, finding a place to pull over is a challenge and by the time you do find a place to stop you are no where near what you want to photograph.