Sunday, September 16, 2012

Monday, September 10 Embarking in Southampton

We slept soundly last night as the room was nice and cool. After another breakfast of tortured tomatoes and scrambled eggs, we get the hotel to call us a taxi and go down to the Roman Baths. We get there about 9:30 in less than 10mins and 5GBP. They have restored much of the baths and set up some nice displays to help visualize how it looked and work in Roman times.

We are given an audio head set and walk around on a self guided tour. Very interesting and there are not too many people. You can no longer bath in the old baths, but some of the spring water is sold to the public spa baths down the street.
Then we walk to the main plaza area and go in the Abby. It is OK, not as impressive as others we have seenit is really old.

It is almost 10:30 by now and we have to check out by 10:30. Another taxi back to the hotel, check out, load the car and hit the road. We are glad we saw the Bath sites, but we will not be back. It is much to congested to get around easily or even really enjoy....we can’t imagine actually living here!
The forecast for today was for rain, but so far there has been a little sun and blue sky mixed with darek clouds....maybe the rain will hold off until we can get to the ship. We head to Southampton by way of see if the stones have moved in the last almost 30 years! The roads are still very congested. We incounter an interesting road sign

and lots of the traffic calming devices...NOT! Last time we were at Stonehendge it had an open gravel parking lot and was surrounded by a chain link fence. Now it is set up as a full blown tourist site....paved parking lot, ticket place with an audio tour set up. We go ahead and pay the admmission...actually you really can’t see much from the local road any more, though there may still be a nice distance view from the motorway. The tour is actually nice and the way it is set up the viewing on the monument is much better than we remember....there is no fence in the way.

The clouds have really gotten heavy and there is some blowing mist by the time we get back to the car. After about an hour we get to Southampton and drop the car....thank goodness...a taxi is called and we are vey quickly delivered to the port. Getting on is really easy except for security... Carolyn’s shoe buckle sets the machine off and she has to be patted down and then the scanner lady sees what she thinks are scissors in the camera case...they have to see the offending object, but when we open it up no one can find them...they send the bag through x-ray several more times and keep trying to it...finally the lady decides it is maybe a corkscrew...well yes, Dick has a corkscrew in a leather case. After looking at it and checking the length of Dick's pocket knife blade, we are finally cleared!

On the ship we are taken directly to our suite. It is really nice and well set up and the bath is wonderful...big, marble, two sinks and a separate tub and shower!
It is almost 2Pm and they are serving lunch at the Patio Grill. We head up and are the only ones for a while. After two drinks and a good pizza and hamburger, the trails of the last few days fade far, far away!
Wonderfully refreshed we head down to the room and find all the luggage waiting for us. Carolyn gets unpacked and things put away while Dick does some wash. There is a life boat drill at 4:30 and we sail on time at 5PM in the rain so there is no sail away deck party, but we do go up and watch as we sail past Portsmouth habor and the tall ships.
We have an invitation to join two of the singer for dinner at 7:30. This turns out to be a delightful meal. The food is good and the service is timely and well done, a big improvement over our experience on the Mariner last year.

By the time we bob down the hallways back to the suite we are ready to call it a night. The ship is really moving so we should sleep well! Tomorrow is sea day!

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