"" Writer's Wanderings

Friday, May 24, 2019

Titanic Memorials

Thought I would repeat a post that has received a lot of views. This is a walking tour we took of Titanic memorials in Southampton.

Southampton, England, is Cunard’s main base for all of its ships and has been since the beginning, I think, when it merged with the White Star Line. There were wonderful options for excursions on our day in port—Bath, Stonehenge, The New Forest, etc. but in all our stops here, we’d never actually explored the port city. As usual, we did our pre-cruise research online and discovered several self-guided walking tours outlined for us. We chose the Titanic Trail which would take us to several memorial spots and places significant to the Titanic story.

The Queen Mary 2 berthed at Dock 4 and we should have reversed order on our walk and started at the gate to our Dock area but that is hindsight now. Instead, we got on the shuttle bus that took us to the West Quay shopping area which was near the Civic Centre, the start of the walk. Our Titanic Trail gave us great opportunity to see a lot of the city and tempted us to return for other historical aspects we found there.

Here is the trail we followed:
1. In the Civic Centre is the Titanic Postal Workers’ Memorial, a plague on the wall next to the Council Chambers. It commemorates three American and two British postal workers on the Titanic all of whom died. The Civic Centre itself was an impressive building inside and had several other models and memorabilia on the second floor along with the plaque.

2. As we walked through St. Andrew’s Park to get to the second memorial on our list, we actually came across the third, the Titanic Engineer Officers’ Memorial. It is a large stone and bronze (I think) structure featuring an angel with outstretched arms. The carvings represent the engineer officers on the ship, all of whom died.

3. Across the intersection near the Engineers’ memorial, we could see a the Paris Smith building where the plaque for the Titanic Musicians’ Memorial is located. The musical inscription is the hymn, “Nearer My God To Thee.”

4. We went back to the Engineers’ memorial and walked behind it through St. Andrew’s Park all the while enjoying sunny warm weather and the beautiful spring blooms the park had to offer. This was a bit of a long walk before we got to the Bargate, a large stone structure and then on to High Street where we walked past the Star Hotel and the Dolphin Hotel to find the remains of the Holy Rood Church. There, inside, is a memorial to the crew, stewards and firemen. There is a “talking post” in front of it with recorded accounts of various events of the Titanic’s journey.

5. We found our way down toward the waterfront and the street labeled Town Quay. Near the Red Funnel Terminal (a ferry service) and across the street is an old stone building with a red roof. That is the Maritime Museum. It is a small museum but on the second floor has some memorabilia from the Titanic and accounts of some of the people who were aboard. The museum is opened most days from 10 to 4 and has a small entrance fee.

6. At this point in our journey, lunch was suggested but it was a bit too early for us. Apparently we had walked a little faster than the author of our tour had allowed. But our map that we had picked up from the shuttle bus showed Oxford Street as the place for sidewalk cafes and since that was the area we were to explore next, we decided on getting there and having a mid-morning cup of tea and a “sit” as the Brits might call a rest. Oxford street was a little tricky to find but we managed and sat down at a cafĂ© across from The Grapes Public House which was the next on our list to see. Four members of the Titanic crew stayed here too long on the morning of the ship’s departure. They arrived at the docks too late to board the ship.

7. Refreshed and ready to walk again, we headed down Oxford to where it ends and crossed over Terminus Terrace to see Stanley’s Casino which was originally the Former Docks Railway Station. At the back of the casino is a roofed-in covered area where the railway platform used to be. Across from it is the South Western House which was where many passengers stayed the night before Titanic left Southampton on its Maiden Voyage.

8. We traveled along Terminus Terrace to Canute Road and turned left to find a large yellowish building that once housed the London and South Western Railway Company. Next to it is the Canute Chambers, the building that was the headquarters for the White Star Line in 1912. It was here that the people of Southampton gathered when they heard the news about the Titanic. The names of survivors were posted outside front of the building.

9. As we continued back toward the Dock area, we passed the other side of the South Western House. There is a large relief above the main entrance that features the head of Queen Victoria and symbols of industry during her reign. On our left was the Union Castle House—former headquarters of Union Castle Line—and next to it the Royal Mail House, reminders of the great shipping lines that used the port of Southampton in the past.

10. At this point, we found ourselves back at Dock 4 where the QM2 was berthed. There was supposed to be a memorial plaque just inside the gate but the traffic was horrendous at that point and we were too tired to try to dodge it and ask permission of the security guard to see the plaque. Instead we stood and waited on a bus to take us back to the shopping mall where we needed to pick up a few things. The correct bus didn’t arrive at the scheduled time so we braced ourselves, told our feet they could make it, and trodded on back to the West Quay Mall. All-in-all not a long walk.

The plaques and memorials we saw that day all had flowers placed by them from historical groups. We were there just shortly after the anniversary of the Titanic disaster and were about to board a ship to sail transatlantic over the same path the Titanic. A bit daunting but thanks to those who were involved in the Titanic’s loss, ships have been made safer. As I write this, we are nearing the Titanic’s resting place. I’m sure we will take a few moments to remember. (Note: We passed over the Titanic's resting place during the night but here is a memorial service from a previous crossing.)

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Recognizing A Travel Addiction

You know you are addicted to travel when:

1. Instead of winter/summer clothes, your closet is divided into home/travel clothes.

2. When 80% of your email inbox is full of travel deal messages and 90% of your mailbox is full of cruise catalogs.

3. Haircuts are scheduled not on when you need them but when you can get one to carry you through the next trip.

4. You carry hand sanitizer, lip balm, lipstick, hand lotion, etc. in your purse in a quart-sized ziploc bag.

And. . .

5. When you are out walking, you stumble because you are looking up at a jet in the sky and wondering where its going.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Mozart Moves On

Saturday morning Bob mentioned that the river cruise ship we took for our Christmas Markets tour would no longer be a part of the Crystal Cruises river fleet. He's worse than I am in constantly checking out the Cruise Critic forums for news. The Mozart, which is the ship we were on for that cruise in December of 2017 will become a part of the Gentings Cruise Line for a venture that is yet to be announced.

Gentings Cruise Line is the parent company of Crystal. While we were on our World Cruise in 2015 is when I believe that happened. So many cruise lines are a part of a bigger conglomerate. In some cases that can be good for frequent cruisers as many times your cruising credits (days at sea accumulated in the cruise lines' loyalty programs) can be applied to another cruise line in the conglomerate. For example, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity will upgrade your status to reflect your cruising experience with each of them.

The Mozart is a grand ship and the ship experience was exceptional on our cruise. It didn't hurt that we got upgraded to a better suite because of our loyalty points (108 days on a world cruise paid off). While Mozart moves on, there are still other ships in the Crystal fleet that are cruising in Europe. A little pricey but a great way to cruise the rivers.

Here's a link to my Christmas Markets river cruise posts.

Cruising the Danube

Monday, May 20, 2019

Through My Lens - Learning New Tricks

What do you do when Pickleball is cancelled? You spend the morning at the zoo of course. It's a great walk and we always get lunch at the Rainforest Cafe. This day we also got to see tons of kids as well. The parking lot was yellow with buses even though it wasn't the best day for a trip to the zoo. I had been wanting to figure out how to manually focus my new Canon Powershot SX 740 and I finally think I mastered it. The shots I was getting of animals before were focusing on the fencing rather than the animal. It was amazing to see the fencing disappear. 

Glad to see this wasn't the usual bunny we've seen for a meal. I'd hate to think the teachers would have to explain that to the little ones who were there that day. I think this guy had a fish for breakfast.

And a special treat! The new baby giraffe had his first day out! He was frolicking all over the giraffe area. Guess he's learned to use those wobbly legs.

Friday, May 17, 2019

It's A Deal! Fort Lonesome -- Only 99 Cents!

Today and tomorrow Fort Lonesome, in ebook format, will be on sale for 99 cents! After that, the price goes up to $2.99, then $4.99 at the end of the week. After that it will be back to the regular price of $6.99. So, if you want to take advantage of the lower price, act fast!

Available at Amazon.com

Fort Lonesome --

Ginnie Scott looked forward to the beginning of a new life in Fort Lonesome. She felt a new sense of freedom leaving behind the parents she had so deeply disappointed. She was starting fresh as a preschool teacher where no one knew her past. Little did she expect that the past would catch up with her.
Grant Richards’ life has been through some deep valleys. Just as he thought his heart might mend from the loss of his wife, Becca, he has to cope with his daughter’s perilous brain tumor. Then Bonnie’s new preschool teacher arrives to throw his life into more turmoil. Is she Becca’s ghost? The resemblance is uncanny.
Martin Westfall ruined Ginnie’s life with his rash promises and failures to fulfil them. He’s found her again and this time he won’t let anything come between them, not even a little girl and her cowboy father.
Fort Lonesome, Florida, is classified as a ghost town but the only ghosts in town are the ghosts of the past that come into Grant and Ginnie’s lives. Will those ghosts bring the two together? Possibly, but only if they can overcome their fears and find the hope they need for the future.
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