Our 50 Year Anniversary Celebration 2015 travel blog

Train to Southampton


Castle Gate ruins


Pltaform Tavern



Queen Mary 2



Lifeboat drill

On our walkabout we did pass Castle Gate. The remains of the drum towers flanking the principal gateway to Southampton's medieval castle were discovered through archaeological excavations in 1961. The castle itself formerly stood on the site now occupied by a 20th century block of twelve storey flats. The twin drum towers, now partially restored, were added to the defensive bailey wall of the royal castle during the late 14th century and were originally over 20 feet high.

We did find the Platform Tavern we were looking for on our way to the port and of course stopped for a pint and some leek and potato soup and chicken goujons with sweet chili dip (chicken tenders in America). Very good. The Tavern dates back to 1873 and is of historical interest as it is built against the Old Town wall built around 1350. The wall can be seen in the bar. The stonework is exposed to show its original state. The town wall was washed by high tides until the eastern quay was built around 1830. The house name is derived from its proximity to the quay outside God's house called the Platform which contained a gun battery for ceremonial purposes.

By now the day was getting warm and my knee was hurting so I wanted to continue on to the ship instead of trying to find the Spitfire Museum. Check-in was easy, there was no one ahead of us. We boarded the ship on deck 3 and our cabin was on deck 11. Long climb. Our room steward, Bert, is very nice and from what we observed during our week's stay he cleaned the cabin all by himself.

Our plan, once we were settled was to go back to Southampton and find the Museum. While I was settling Richard read the Daily Programme. Low and behold, the lifeboat drill was at 4:15 and we sailed at 5. Good grief! Richard called the Purser's Office to question that and was told: "Sir, the Queen Mary always sails at 5." We could have missed the ship and the next stop for it was New York. Obviously God was watching over us.

Note: Cunard is owned by Carnival and for the sail away we had Xtasea, a really Carnival-style rock band. Though when we actually pulled away from the pier they played prerecorded "Eternal Father-the Naval Hymn" and "Rule Britannia".

We had requested a table for two for dinner but we got a lovely table for four by a window. Another couple, Wally and Lauren, from North Carolina, were already there. Their daughter and family live in England and they use the QM2 to travel back and forth a couple of times a year to visit her. They were great people with an interesting life that we would have loved to hear about but unfortunately Lauren had a very bad cold and Wally sounded close to one. We had managed to avoid getting sick on this whole trip and we weren't going to take a chance now. So after dinner we asked the maitre d' to change our table.

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