The Itinerary

The Itinerary

Saturday, May 30, 2015

May 29, The Queen Mary 2 at Sea

Friday, May 29 - Day 114 - The Queen Mary 2 at Sea
Our 50th Anniversary

Sunrise is at 4:25AM, but we are dead to the world. We after now sailed past the English coast and the Celtic Sea. Today we will be crossing over the Maxwell Fracture Zone, a large under sea mountain range forming part of the Mid Atlantic Range. Here the depths range from 1000 to 3500meters. This mountain range runs from nearly the Arctic to almost the tip of Africa with several peaks rising above sea level to form Azores and a few other ting Atlantic islands.

The wind was howling when we fell asleep last night, It has calmed down this morning as we wake about 8AM. It is hazy and in the 50's a little too cool to be out on the open decks for very long. We go to breakfast and have our usual; eggs Benedict and strawberries for Carolyn, oatmeal and salmon for Dick and receive many good wishes from people at the tables around us. This is such a nice way to start our anniversary!

There is lots on the agenda for today. At 10 AM we go to a lecture by Robert Neal Marshall on "The Three Queens" - The Royal Rendevous, farewells and new beginnings. It is a very moving story told with pictures and great video clips. At 11AM there is a lecture "How Italian Food Conquered the World by John Mariani. We stay for a while, but it is not grabbing us so we leave. He will do another one on the great Italian restaurants in New York City. We will try that one since our Italian food level is very low, Maybe we will get some ideas on where to have some good Italian.

Back in the room we listen to the noon announcement The Captain tells us we are sailing farther South than usual. The ships have to stay south of the ice limit at all times....think Titanic. The ice limit is where the floating ice is no longer a problem. It is still early and the water is still cold so the floating ice is making it farther South than normal before it melts. Dick plays his new computer game and Carolyn orders a panini for lunch while she posts the last two day’s Blogs. The RADA is doing an hour long adaption of Pride and Prejudice at 2:15 in the Royal Court Theater. Carolyn attends and claims it is delightful. At 3:30 she joins Dick in Illuminations for another delightful talk by Joshua Levine on the forgotten voices of WWII. Then Dick takes Levine’s two books Carolyn gave him yesterday for his Birthday to the book signing in the library.

Now it is 5PM and time to dress for dinner. It is another formal night so we get a portrait made for our anniversary at the station that has a plain background. It is a little early for our reservation so we adjourn to the Queens Grill Lounge for cocktails and then head to diner at Todd English to continue the anniversary celebration.

Dinner is very good and the setting is romantic. Dick has a tuna dish and rack of lamb, Carolyn has a salad and surf and turf. We both have the lobster and baby corn chowder and share a wild blueberry crumble for dessert. By the time diner is over it is time to head back to the Queens Grill Lounge for a performance of the string quartet
The day has been grey and foggy with the fog horn going off at times, but by dinner time it is raining and cold and sun set is about 8:15PM though who knew! The seas are even a bit bouncy, but The Queen takes this in her stride, of course. The gentle motion and the pleasant music combine to make us very sleepy so about 10:15 we call it a night. Fifty years ago right now we were leaving the church and heading into our new life together. Dick is right, we have had a good life together because the time has flown by!!

What a great anniversary celebration! All and all, this Golden Anniversary Celebration is a far cry from our dinner with Mogan David wine (what can I say, we were very young!) on our wedding night, Carolyn's German final on our first anniversary and the birth of our first son on our second anniversary!

Friday, May 29, 2015

May 28, The Queen Mary 2 at Sea

Thursday, May 28 - Day 113 - The Queen Mary 2 at Sea

Sunrise this morning is at 4:29 AM! After disembarking the Southampton pilot yesterday evening the Queen Mary 2 sailed into the English Channel and set a west-southwesterly course along the Southern English coast. She passed 12 nautical miles south of the Bill of Portland and Start Point. Some time in the early morning hours she passed south of Bishop Rock, thus making the traditional start of our transatlantic passage to New York.

We had an extra hours sleep last night due to setting back the clock, so even Carolyn is up before 8AM! Dick has already gone for his shot of strong coffee and she dresses and works on the blog while she waits for him. As usual, he is back to the room around 8:30 and we head for breakfast in the dining room. We love to have a leisurely breakfast served to us so we always eat in the dining room if possible. Today it is strawberries and eggs Benedict for Carolyn and oatmeal, sausage and poached eggs for Dick and, of course, fresh OJ and pastries.

After breakfast we go directly to Illuminations for a lecture, "Dunkirk, Winston Churchill and the Threat of Invasion" by Joshua Levine. He is very good and it is a different lecture as he gives several first hand reports from people who were there. We both enjoy his talk. The next lecture is on the "Floating Palaces, The great Atlantic Liners" by Bill Miller. He takes us through the history of the great 20th century ocean liners. It too was very enjoyable. From there we head back to the dining room for lunch. Dick has orange roughy and leek soup, Carolyn has a ham sandwich.

Back in the room we read and play computer games. It is pretty outside with sun so Carolyn does some balcony sitting until Dick goes to the afternoon lecture by David Henderson on "Come Fly with Me". It is on the great airports. He says it was OK, but not as good as the morning ones.

Meanwhile Carolyn goes Birthday shopping at the bookstore. She gets a couple of Joshua Levine’s books since this is a new twist on Dick’s favorite topic. Wrapping is a bit of a challenge but the sales clerk gives her an extra bag which works fine.

Tonight is the Captain’s Cocktail Party in the Queen’s Room so we get dressed, after our butler finds Dick’s only white shirt, at 6PM, which we sent out last night for one day service. The other things we sent out on regular service were back at 4:30. We go to the Captain’s side since it is Dick’s Birthday he wants a picture with the Captain.


For dinner we have pre-ordered Chateaubriand. They finish it table side for us and it is delicious. They also bring Dick a chocolate cake. All and all it is a fun evening. Sunset tonight is 8:47PM, but it is still twilight at 10Pm when we turn out the lights.

RADA is doing a special feature in the Winter Garden tonight that we would like to see, but it is not until 10PM and there is no way we are able to stay awake. Hopefully they will do some of their shows earlier so we can see them.

May 27, The Cotswolds to Southampton and the Queen Mary II

Wednesday, May 27 - Day 112 - The Cotswolds to Southampton and the Queen Mary II

We sleep well, and are both up and dressed by 8AM. It is a travel day! Jane, the hostess, provides another excellent breakfast of eggs Benedict. She also informs us that, at Jack’s request, she took him salmon and eggs and that he is eager to get moving...he wants to meet the Captain!

Carolyn gets the luggage fixed so we just have one carry-on and the electronics to carry on the ship. We say good bye to Jane and Holly House B&B and head down the road about 10:30. The GPS says it will take one hour and forty-five minutes to get to the car rental.

The trip is smooth with good four lane A and M ways most of the way. The GPS is right and after a final gas stop to top off the tank we arrive at the car rental place at 12:15PM, drop the car with no damage, a good thing because Dick didn’t take the insurance was something like $50 extra a day! They call a taxi for us and we are at the dock by 12:45PM.

There are a number of people waiting to check in, but we tell the lady we are in the Queens Grill and are immediately taken to a line where we will be next to check in; great this is going smoothly...not! Checked in, we move to the line for security. Unfortunately, it is moving rather slowly, most people are having to take their shoes off...a first for boarding a ship! When it is our turn, we get the computers out, empty pockets..the usual drill and right off the bat, Dick’s little pin knife with the one inch blade, nail file and tiny scissors causes a crisis as he puts it in the tray. "It is a KNIFE," the man says!...we must be going to take over the ship!! Well, after much discussion, Dicks gives name and cabin number for the record and we move to the x-ray machine. Now for the next hassle. The x-ray camera shows a suspicious little back rectangle...OK they want to check looks to us like the little USB drive Dick bought yesterday so Jane could print out our luggage tags since they weren’t available to print until after we left home. The security woman opens the electronics bag. The drive is right where the screen showed the suspicious item, she says that is not it. "I am looking for a knife." "No, the little knife is in the next tray," we say, "this is a little thumbnail drive!" Everyone stands around scratching their you know what’s, saying it looked like it might be a knife on the screen, where is it....we say no, it is the little drive....send the bag through the x-ray again...grrr. After another five minutes of looking at each other and backing up the other passengers eager to board, someone finally clears us and we walk on the ship and are in our suite by 1:30PM. No luggage yet. Carolyn kind of expected the stored bags from the May 3rd arrival on the Queen Mary to be there.
Oh well, we go on to lunch where Dick has a nicely done pan fried fish filet and a glass of a good white wine to improve his mood. Carolyn has a turkey tortilla wrap and a Bellini. She is going to make the most of this week and the marking of our 50th anniversary which is Friday! Then we walk back to the cabin by way of the open deck.

Back in the room, we meet our butler who is delivering the second of our stored bags. He asks what else is missing and we tell him. In a few minutes he brings those two bags and we spend the next hour or so unpacking. We don’t have to unpack all four bags, thank goodness, but do get out what we will need this week and rearrange the rest so we will just have to repack one bag when we get to New York. That will make the last day of the cruise a lot more pleasant. The suite is very nice and we look out over two other ships in port for the day and see the captain is getting his windows cleaned.

By now it is time for the life boat drill and we set sail at 5:15PM about 45 minutes late. We go forward on deck eleven to watch sail-away and see that the Queen Elizabeth has already sailed and is a good way ahead of us. We always enjoy the sail out of Southampton, but have always gone East around the Isle of Wight like the Queen Elizabeth does. This is our first time to go west. It is still clear so that is good, but cold so we don’t last long outside.

Back in the room we get dressed for dinner and go to the Observation Lounge for a drink and to watch the sail-away a little longer. By 7PM the land is disappearing into the haze and we are hungry. The dining room staff is a bit disorganized to day and some of the new people are not happy with their table assignments and are causing a little disturbance. The staff has also changed a good deal since we were on coming up from Cape Town. All of this is adding to less than the perfect service we had in April. Even so the food is good as usual. Dick has a broccoli and stilton soup and rack of lamb

all of which he says are excellent. Carolyn has a spinach salad and the shrimp tempura as a main and it is very good. We want some dessert, but by now the dining room is full and the staff is having problems with punctual service so we decide to go back to the room and order dessert. But, by the time we get to the room, the bed looks so inviting we skip dessert and turn in. We must be tired as Carolyn is asleep after the second page of her book and Dick listens to his kindle for over an hour before he wakes up and turns it and the lights off. Nothing like a ship’s motion to put one to sleep!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

May 26. Bourton-on-the-Water, Cotswolds

Tuesday, May 26, Day 111 - Bourton-on-the-Water, Cotswolds

Our room was somewhat warm when we went to bed (we didn't realize the radiators were turned up full blast) but we fixed that and put a small fan in a window. It cooled down to the point it was coldish by the middle of the night and the comfortable bed and covers felt very good. Dick wakes up at 5:30AM to broad daylight but rolls over for another hour but that is all he can do. He gets up and checks on the blog and then edits what Carolyn has posted.

Carolyn is up in time to go to breakfast at 9AM. Eggs Benedict and Eggs Royale are a very nice way to start the day! We had thought we would get out early but Dick’s knee is coloring his attitude toward life and movement so we stay in and get the blog posted up through yesterday. We need to print out luggage tags for boarding the ship tomorrow and our hostess will do so if we can get her the PDF file. Dick finds a (sort of) computer place and buys a very dusty, USB 2-8GB thumb drive for £8 along with a roll of "Cellie." That is what they call Scotch Tape here in the Mother Country!

About 1:30PM and after some drugs for the knee, we drive to the village center to pick up a lunch from a place we saw last night. Poor idea! The place is crawling with people and tour buses are parked in no parking zones. There are "old people" everywhere on walkers and pulling oxygen tanks behind them. A nursing home has sent the whole clientele out for a day! We don’t stop but head out of town without any lunch.

We do a pleasant drive to Lower Slaughter followed by Upper Slaughter and then Stow-on-the-Wold and finally Broadwell on the back country's one lane roads. There is no traffic and we stop for pictures often. We pass on Chipping Campden and Chipping Something Else! Don’t you love these village names?

The countryside is beautiful with the green of Spring and its flowers. We get out to explore the old churchyard at St Pauls, in Broadwell. We find the church open and go in and find a gravestone in the floor with a date of 1662! The newest one we find in the graveyard outside is recent, 2007. It proves to be a pleasant three hours of exploring.  By the way, we 

find Upper Slaughter Manor, the one with the black and gold gate above, and decide we could live there.  "To the Manor Born," as they say.

Back to our rooms for a little while where we have a cocktail and finish off the wine and bourbon that we have left. Then back down to the Rose Tree for dinner. They have our table waiting and the half bottle of wine is sitting on it. Reservations are a must here as people are turned away as we arrive. We have the same appetizers as last night but go for stuffed chicken breast with a delicious sauce similar to the Whisky and Stilton Sauce on the mushrooms. Dessert is a generous slice of lemon meringue pie. The food is fabulous and we rave to the head hostess/waitress/owner? About how good it is. When we leave she runs after us to wish us a safe trip and good bye.
At 8:30PM, the crowds are gone and we enjoy a short walk around the village square and watch the ducks in the stream that runs through town. We will be back and stay a week in one of the many cottages for rent. Off the beaten path this is our favorite part of England. Time to go get this blog written and posted and to give some thought to packing for our transfer to the Queen Mary 2 tomorrow.