Wanderung 25

Fall Follies

August - September 2011


3 Previous Day
Next Day 4


Sunday Aug 28th, 2011: Embarkation in Southampton


Aside from breakfast, we spent the morning desperately trying to pack all of our clothes, souvenirs, snacks and beverages for the cruise into our already-crowded luggage. When we finally got that under control, we selected a small set of the best pictures to represent our stay in mid-Wales to upload to my facebook page so that our friends and relatives could enjoy them. That took us right up to our 10:00 a.m. check out time, whereupon we turned off Baby-baby and stuffed it in the front pocket of my wheelie before handing in the key to our room and trundling our luggage out the door.

I was awfully glad we had scouted out our route beforehand as it removed much of the uncertainty about how to get from Point A (our B&B at the Polygon) and Point B (Gate 4 for the dock for our ship). Since we had basically all day to get to the dock, we didn't have to worry about the time and could instead stroll slowly along, gawking at the sights and pulling our luggage behind us. As it was a sunny although cool day, the walk was quite pleasant.


Much to my surprise we got all our stuff: clothes, souvenirs, books, maps, wine, and snacks into two suitcases, one backpack and one Princess lunchbox, all of them bursting at the seams. But embarkation was not until after 12 and we did not have to vacate the room until 10. So after breakfast we had one more internet session where we uploaded the 16 best pictures from our time in the Heart of Wales.

That done we set out, Bob pulling his large wheelies with the Princess Cruise Lines lunchbox hung over the handle and I was wearing the backpack and pulling my wheelie. We walked the path we had found yesterday. First it went through the nice little park by the B&B with Isaac Watts in the middle and pretty flower beds along the path.


Since it was Sunday morning, the Above The Bar and High Streets had far fewer people in them. We saw some sidewalk vendors preparing to set our their wares, but no one had actually opened for business yet. The carnival-like activity around the big old city gate was completely gone, which allowed us to take much clearer pictures of it, but at the same time deprived it of the liveliness of the street scene on the previous day.

That gate, by the way, separated the Above The Bar street North of it from High Street to the South of it. I am always bemused by the way streets in many European cities change names as they roll along, which must terribly confuse most Americans. In Hamburg, the main thoroughfare along the River Elbe changes names several times in the course of just a few miles, which mightily confused me on my first visit back in 1973!

Just South of the Gate we found the Lidl store where we had purchased a road map of Europe, Coolmax tops, and groceries the day before. Since they also had a 2011 version of the map for Great Britain and Ireland on sale and I had been using the 2009 version, I wanted to stop by and purchase that for our next driving tour. We also had both liked our new wick-away tops and wanted to see if they had any more. Since it was Sunday morning, the store didn't open until 11:00 and we had arrived around 10:30, so we just sat on a bench across the street and enjoyed the fine sunny day for half an hour until they opened for business. Monika purchased the new Great Britain and Ireland driving atlas plus a couple more of the Coolmax tops. Stuffing that in our "overflow" bag that we were carrying in addition to our wheelies, we set off once more down High Street.


Then we went down Above The Bar street. When we got to the large, old stone gate in the middle, we stopped for pictures and read a historical plaque that told us about the name of the street. The gate was called the "Bar Gate" and it was closed at night, so people who came too late had stop at one of the inns Above the Bar.

Inside Bar Gate, High Street continued downhill and had a Lidl store. Yesterday we had found two rather nice shirts and map of Europe. I remember also seeing a 2012 map of Great Britain and was hoping for more Coolmax shirts. Lidl did not open until 11:00 and it was only 10:30, but we were getting tired and could use a rest. I saw a bench for three, so I took off the backpack and we settled in and rested. At 11:00 I went over to the Lidl found two Coolmax shirts (one for Bob one for me) and the last Great Britain map - at £ 1.49 a really good buy. And we were ready to trundle on.



We turned left (East) on Queen's Terrace which we knew led directly to Queen's Park where we could drop straight down to Gate 4 that lead to the Overseas Dock. But when we saw a segment of the old city wall on our right that led southward, we couldn't resist following along and seeing where it led us. As it turned out, it led us past the site of an old monastery and a very old pedestrian gate in the city wall. So as it turned out, we left the city of Southampton via a stone gateway that was probably many hundreds of years old!


It was heartening to know that we were already halfways there. I saw a part of the old city wall and we decided to follow the wall for a while until we came to the major road along the waterfront.




As we came out on the other side we had to orient ourselves to find where Gate 4 was, but fortunately it was just another couple blocks to the East. Once inside the Gate 4, the way to the Overseas Dock and the Crown Princess was clearly marked, so we rolled our wheelies right up to the luggage drop-off site and proceeded on to sign in. On board ship we found our stateroom, L 102 on Deck 15, was ready for us, so we moved in and waited with bated breath for our luggage, which did arrive in due course.

Whilst waiting for that we wandered about the ship and stopped off at the maitr' de hotel to try to get our evening meal time changed to early dinner seating. After unpacking we participated in the mandatory lifeboat drill and took turns unpacking all our things before having a relaxed evening meal in the buffet on the Lido deck. Since we were way up in the bow on deck 15, going to the buffet for a meal just involved walking aft past the swimming pools and jacuzzies to the restaurant section at the rear of the deck, which was quite different from having to take the elevator from one of the lower decks.


A block later we reached Gate 4 and it was heartening to see that the Crown Princess was docked and not too far from the gate. At the Ocean dock people were so anxious to take our luggage, that we barely had time to take Baby-baby out of Bob's suitcase.

Since by now we had made it to the exalted status of Platinum travelers in the Princess customer loyalty scheme, we were given preferred embarkation, and did not have to wait in line. Although it was barely 12PM our stateroom was ready and I was glad to drop my backpack onto the bed. Our room was described as partially obstructed, because we were on deck 15 all the way in front and outside of our room was a deck area covering the top of the bridge with some large search lights . So far I have never seen a person on it. [The search lights were just used around Greenland to search for icebergs at night.]

We had lunch in the buffet on deck 15, just a walk from the front to the back for us. Afterwards our suitcases arrived and we unpacked, attended the mandatory life boat drill, and talked to the Maitr' de to be put on a waiting list for first seating rather than anytime seating. We like to get to know a few people and our waitstaff.


Although our ship was scheduled to depart at 5:00 p.m., a medical emergency occurred that required a passenger to be transferred back on shore and taken to the hospital. That caused an hour delay in leaving port, but we finally wound our way out from Southampton through "The Brambles" a set of shoals that lie between the port and the open sea. The Brambles make any deep-draft ship take an inverted "S" course down to the sea, and negotiating the rather tight curves in a ship as large as the Crown Princess, or the Queen Elizabeth that was proceeding down channel right ahead of us, takes quite a long time. In fact, our ship had not even negotiated the final turn out to sea when hunger overcame us and we went inside for dinner.

Afterwards, we were surprisingly tired given the fairly low amount of exercise we had during the day. I suspect that was due mostly to the nervous energy expended in worrying about getting to the ship on time and getting our luggage into our stateroom safely. In any case we both felt like turning in early.


We did not sail until after 6PM since we had a medical emergency that had to be seen to. But while sailing out of the harbor and through some interesting waters called the Brambles we had a geologist talking over the intercom about what we were seeing. Unfortunately, ever now and then his microphone cut out and we missed part of his lecture.

But after passing the Isle of Wight, we decided it was time to turn in. We read for a while and then went to sleep.

Copyright 2012 by R. W. Holt and E. M. Holt


3Previous Day
Next Day4

Prolog Map of Drive in England Map of Transatlantic Cruise Epilog

August 2011
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31
September 2011
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30

Return to the Wanderungs Homepage.
Sign the Guestbook or Read the Guestbook.
Comments about this site? Email the Webmaster.
Contact Bob and Monika at bob_monika@hotmail.com.