Our first stop in England were at Milton Keynes (which is possibly the least english-looking town in England, basically a series of big empty parking lots and big empty shopping malls when we arrived late on Sunday evening), which is where one finds Bletchley Park, the secret place where the Brits cracked the enigma-code during the second world war. It´s located just smack in the middle of everything, between Oxford and Cambridge, on the big roads and railways from London northbound. At the same time, it´s in the middle of nowhere.
This is a view over the small pond, with one of the "huts" in the background. Just behind the trees to the left is "hut 8", where Alan Turing had his office, and there is also a statue of him on the grounds. I have even heard a story about a treasure he is supposed to have buried in the woods neighbouring the place, apparently he was not entirly balanced (and he finally committed suicide).
Bletchley Park is run by a bunch of enthusiasts who have recreated the machines used for the decyphering of the german codes, the Bombe and the Colossus. All the original machines were dissembled on Churchill´s orders at the end of the war and until the 90´s it wasn´t really common knowledge what had gone on on these grounds. The whole place was very close to being demolished for a modern estate!
When we came home last night from our trip, we immediately re-watched the film "Enigma" with Kate Winslet and Dougray Scott and were very dissapointed to find that they had filmed it at a whole different estate, not at Bletchley Park at all. However, the machines were used in the film, and a couple of the old cars that are still in the garage.
Of course, they had a shop on the grounds, and a well-stocked bookshelf. I had promised myself not to buy anything on this trip, but I fell through on the first day. I bought "Bletchley Park People - Churchill´s geese that never cackled" by Marion Hill. I will write more about it later, when I have had time to read it. And there are many more pictures to show of the park...