16 NOV Southampton
Seagulls and churchbells. There are walls. Very, very old walls. Everywhere. Popping up in the middle of the busy Christmas shopping arcade. Bracing up a building with a modern office interior. Ragged remains that survived a world war. Turrets and towers facing the harbor that have seen captains and pirates in their day.
I had an early wander down to the sea – and turned an ancient corner on the harbor to be faced with a wall of ship. My ship.
The Queen Victoria makes a pretty big impression first time out. Eleven stories high. With that red funnel and so much rope tying her to the dock. She makes the people look SO small. There were several very modern commuter ferries and this lovely (also red funnel) old steamer alongside in the busy harbour.
Heading back to my little hotel (The Star Hotel and Perry’s Art supply nearby for some extra stuff) I found the best coffee and fresh brioche at a lovely French patisserie. But with it the stark reminder of recent events – the Paris bombings only 2 days ago. Posters. Flags and silent support. A sadness and quiet that pervades all the public places. Numbs the people waiting at security in the airport and the ship. Changing our lives again – forever. Sadly, changing the way we look at others.
First time AT SEA
My little cabin – like a fancy hotel room on a VERY long hallway that is moving. Remember – this is my first time on a cruise. Slightly jetlag and seasick, and trying to find my way around with much to do ahead of me. The ship is an elegant and warmly luxurious space. (lots of wood paneling, trim and warm lighting). With attentive staff and many elder guests who obviously know their way around. Although I was to be the teacher…I was the one asking all the questions.