The Cruise

World cruise on the Dawn Princess starting in Sydney on May 21, 2010 and sailing west around the world for 104 days.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dawn Princess World Cruise 2010 - Wednesday July 14, 2010

    Day 54 Southampton
Valerie and Tom abandoned us today. They phoned us at 7.30 this morning as they were leaving their stateroom for good. By now they will be at their Heathrow hotel, then Singapore and home. We miss them already. Today at Southampton we walked into town. The first thing we noticed was that everyone was wearing their summer attire of heavy coats, scarves and boots. We found it bitterly cold after the heat we have experienced in the lower latitudes. Bill was sorry that he set out to tour Southampton in shorts. We also had our first rain of the whole trip with two heavy showers while we were on land. In the town square, we were fortunate to meet an historian who was about to give a free medieval tour of Southampton. We began at Bargate, which is one of the old gates of the walled city that still remains today. Our historian told us that the Americans wanted to pull it down in the second world war so that they could get their tanks through but fortunately, the English did not permit this atrocity. There is a statue of King George III in one of the niches on this gate, where the king is dressed as Hadrian. Evidently it was a fetish of the time to want to be immortalized as Hadrian. Many Hadrian statues minus the head were made and the head of the purchaser was then added. One of the other gates of the town has an asymmetrical arch to allow the soldiers on horseback to hold their spears erect as they passed through the gate. Paupers used to be imprisoned in a section of the walls of the city, until they could pay their debts. While they were in prison, they still had to pay for their food and for their bed. The wall was built in the 14th century and was built without foundations. We climbed up sections of the wall and saw where the soldiers of the past fired through keyhole openings. Evidently, St. Barbara is the patron saint of gunners and we saw a niche in the Catchcold tower where her statue probably stood. We saw hob nailed boot footprints, which are a memorial to the Second World War when this tower was used to defend the town. The Watergate Castle of Southampton was used for the kings of England when they visited Southampton. The basement of the Castle is still near the wall and was used as a wine cellar for the kings of England. Our guide loved the history of the area and at one stage when we were standing on a walkway over some ruins he said it gave him a tingle to think that this very spot where we were standing was the great hall of the Castle where the past kings and queens of England would have walked. We saw St. Michael’s church where parts of the 14th century church still remain. The church is at present under restoration, but the spire was not destroyed in the war because the German’s used it as a navigation aid. There are many memorials to the Titanic in Southampton, as the Titanic sailed from the exact same dock as we will sail from tonight. We saw the club where the officers would have had their last meal and drinks on shore before boarding the ship. Jane Austen went to school in Southampton for a short time until smallpox broke out. After this she never went back to school here, but there is a plaque to show where she had afternoon tea in Southampton. There was a very attractive Tudor style pub in Southampton where we thought we would have lunch but the barmaid was not too happy. She was telling a local her woes and curtly said she was not doing lunch today. Her body language was a bit scary and she looked quite aggressive. We felt we had stumbled into an episode of Coronation Street or maybe even the Eastenders. Whatever the problem was she was certainly not going to do THAT again and in fact was not going to do anything for anyone again. We did find a fantastic Italian restaurant run by a most obliging owner, host. This was called Ennio’s. I would certainly recommend it, for food and great service. We met two widely travelled Americans from our ship there. They asked us how we had known to come to this restaurant, which is recommended on the internet. We said just good luck. We had just stumbled upon it. (Barbara)

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