British Isles 2015:
Day 3 - Southampton, England


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British Isles 2015: [Day 1 - London] [Day 2 - Dover/Calais] [Day 3 - Southampton] [Day 4 - Guernsey] [Day 5 - Cork] [Day 6 - Dublin] [Day 7 - Liverpool] [Day 8 - Belfast] [Day 9 - Glasgow] [Day 10 - At Sea] [Day 11 - Invergordon] [Day 12 - Edinburgh] [Day 13 - At Sea] [Day 14 - Versailles] [Day 15 - London] [Day 16 - London]

Monday, July 20, 2015: We had been upgraded to a larger room at the Novotel because of the problems on Saturday night. We were able to sleep in a little, get some breakfast, and check out in time for our ...

... 10:00 AM private transfer to Southampton.
We had a pleasant driver and the 90 minute trip flew by.
As we got into Southampton, our driver drove us past some of the Titanic Trail sites that would be a little too far for us to get to during our afternoon walk, starting with the impressive Titanic Engineer Officers' Memorial.
We also passed Seacity Museum which we wouldn't have time to visit. A future visit, perhaps.
We got to the harbour by 11:30 where our ship, Princess Cruiseline's Royal Princess, was waiting for us. It was too early for us to board so we dropped off our luggage and headed into town.
As we walked through the dock area, we passed this rhinocerous statue, one of the Go Rhinos collection on display in Southampton in 2013.
This one was called Dock Rhino.
One of the fascinating things about Southampton is how old and new buildings coexist so nicely.
New and old. No problem.
These adorable signs beseeched us to "Walk the Southampton Walls." So we did.
This pretty little monument is in memory of the heroic death of Mary Anne Rogers, stewardess of the Stella.
You can read all about her heroic death here.
Here's a clever way to reinforce ancient city walls.
We headed into town along the city walls.
Here's Westgate. The sign tells us that pilgrim fathers embarked here from the West Quay on the Mayflower, August 15th, 1620.
This arch leads to modern, private homes.
These are the Arcades, locations of merchants who were forced to block up the entrances to build a defensive wall in the 1300s.
Here's the Southampton Castle Garderobe Tower.
Let's peek inside using the convenient staircase and walkway.
We saw many of these flower balls throughout the UK. Pretty!
This photo captures the mix of old and new -- a medieval tower on one side and a brand new Marks & Spencer store on the other.
Here are the steps to Catchcold Tower, built to hold a cannon in the 15th century.
This is Arundel Tower, named either for Sir Bevois' magically fast horse, or Sir John Arundel, a Knight and Keeper of Southampton in 1377.  Both are equally possible.
From Arundel Tower, you can cross a bridge over Castle Way ...
... but you'll have to squeeze past a statue of John Le Fleming, former mayor of Southampton in the early 1300s.
Here is the Bargate and Guildhall, the northern gateway to the medieval town.
Around the back of the Bargate is a plaque marking the repeated bombing of Southampton during World War II.
Just steps away is the Southampton Lush store which features the worst salesperson ever. When we came in with large backpacks on and told him we came to buy two bars of Godiva shampoo, he pointed to the back and then resumed his conversation. So Debbie had to unbuckle her waist pack and remove the jacket and fleece tied around her waist in order to get to the waistbelt holding her backpack in place. That all needed to be done so she could to get to the place where he pointed without her backpack knocking anything down. During the minute or so that it took her to accomplish this and pass every single item to Tom to hold, we kept expecting him to say "I'll get them for you" but those words never came out. It was just as much fun reassembling all of it again when we were done paying.
We walked south along High Street. Nestled among the street stones are decorative tiles with information about Southampton's history. This one tells us about the year 1150: Southampton Castle is built to counter fears of invasion and attack.
Here's a list of goods imported into Southampton circa 1295:  wormseed, alum, grams of paradise, galingale, rhubarb, seammony, spikenard, senna, mastie, euphorbim, stavesacre, cassia, fistula, nutmeg, zedorary, quicksilver, frankincense, sardine,  conger, sturgeon, lamprey, porpoise and whale.
Here's a anchor from Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2).  The QE2 left her home port of Southampton on her maiden voyage in May 1969.
Next, we visited the ruins of Holyrood Church.
In one corner of the site, this memorial (originally a drinking fountain) was erected in memory of the crew, stewards, sailors, and firemen who lost their lives in the the S.S. Titanic disaster.
On one of the walls, this tablet marks the invaluable and heroic service of the Merchant Navy operating out of the Port of Southampton in the campaign to recover the Falkland Islands from occupation by the Argentine Forces.  May - July 1982.
Our driver had recommended visiting the Red Lion Inn, the city's oldest pub, so we were happy to oblige. We weren't smart enough to take a photo of the exterior, so here's a random photo of it.
We did photograph the ancient interior though. The big sign in the back told us that we were in the Henry V Court Room, scene of the trial of the those who conspired against the life and crown of Henry V in 1415, prior to Henry's departure to Agincourt.
Whatever. We're here to eat and drink. This is a pub, after all.
We started with a pint of Sharp's Atlantic Pale Ale, ...
... and ordered bangers and mash for Tom, and fish and chips for Debbie. Mmmm, that was delicious.
We passed the Back of the Walls ...
... as we made our way to Oxford Street, ...
... home of The Grapes, famous for being the last drinking establishment of the brothers Slade, who lost track of time and missed the departure of the Titanic.
Tom went inside and ordered a Hobgoblin and a Kronenbourg 1664, which we enjoyed outdoors.
Continuing on the Titanic Trail, this casino used to be the railway station closest to the docks.
This is the majestic South Western House.  Many of Titanic's weathly First Class passengers stayed here before boarding the ship.
When we got to the ship, it was time to check in.
Or more accurately, time to wait for our chance to check in.
Just under an hour later, we were in our cabin on the Royal Princess (mini-suite M331) along with our luggage. Ah, yes, Princess and their creepy habit of putting your names on your cabin.
Here's the view from our cabin, looking out over the docks.
After the mandatory muster drill (conveniently held in the casino instead of on a crowded deck), the Royal Princess was ready to sail. Some enthusiastic Brits on shore bid us bon voyage.
We opened the bottle of champagne waiting for us in our mini-suite.
At dinner, we were originally seated at a table for four, despite requesting and being confirmed for a table for two. A quick trip to the dining room manager resulted in that table being split into two tables for two. We were especially happy with the large window right next to our table.
This bizarre sight is called No Man's Fort, a private island with its own lighthouse, close to the Isle of Wight.  It's a hotel and wedding venue.

After dinner, the skies cleared up, setting the stage for 12 days of nearly perfect weather.

Day 4 >


British Isles 2015: [Day 1 - London] [Day 2 - Dover/Calais] [Day 3 - Southampton] [Day 4 - Guernsey] [Day 5 - Cork] [Day 6 - Dublin] [Day 7 - Liverpool] [Day 8 - Belfast] [Day 9 - Glasgow] [Day 10 - At Sea] [Day 11 - Invergordon] [Day 12 - Edinburgh] [Day 13 - At Sea] [Day 14 - Versailles] [Day 15 - London] [Day 16 - London]

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