More history


Hythe located between the New Forest and Southampton waters. A very pleasant short ferry ride to visit the village and experience the world’s oldest pier train – the price of the train is included in the ferry ticket, which was inexpensive.


As you see the weather was very kind to us – AIDAperla (entered service in 2017), the latest addition to the German cruise ship company AIDA, alongside at Southampton.

DSC03889r She is marketed to the German market, but is registered in Italy. Head office is Rostock in Germany. The company is owned by Carnival Corporation of America.


Approaching our destination.


Obliviously yachting seems to be compulsory – everywhere I looked I could see masts.


Step ashore to board the train. You’d have to love exercise if you wish to walk the 700 yards (640 mtrs) to the shore.


Originally there was a hand propelled truck that carried the passenger’s luggage. In 1901 they added a narrow gauge rail line so that the truck would be easier to push, and in 1922 more modern rails were laid and electricity introduced to power a passenger train.



Driver’s cab – I don’t think it has changed since 1922.


We arrived safely on to solid ground.


After all that excitement I need a calming beer – we sat outside at the back, and enjoyed the sun and a bite to eat.


A view of inside the Lord Nelson pub, which has been here since the 1600’s.


It was nice of the town put the flags out, but how did they know we were coming?

DSC03865r This gives one a hint of the local population – on the right note the sign KJ’s Mobility, and all along in front of the shop are electric wheel chairs of various sizes and power.


A peaceful quiet afternoon. We didn’t have to worry about mad drivers, we seldom saw a car.


The excitement of Hythe was such that we had to have a quiet sit down at Ebenezer’s Pub.

The building was  built in 1845 as a chapel and named Ebenezer, which is mentioned in the Book of Samuel as the scene of a battle between the  Israelites and the Philistines. The Israelites lost the first battle and won the second, so Samuel erected a stone in commemoration of the victory. The erection of this type of marker is called an Eben-Ezer.

In 1914 it ceased being a chapel and was opened as a pub, using the same name. The current owners restored it and updated it in 2007 to become a family friendly pub.


Hythe might appear quiet, but it has links to fame.other than being on the border of the New Forest.
Sir Christopher Cockerell, the inventor of the hovercraft lived here until he died in 1999.

T.E Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) lived here between 1931 – 32. Not as hot as Arabia.


Memorial in the local park.


What the memorial states.


The park area near the water’s edge – under the trees was very pleasant.


Now we see the reason for such a long pier – the tide is out.


A very pleasant day out, but it is time to go home. The pier train is behind me.

DSC03882rAt the end of the pier, near where we boarded the ferry, it was sad to see the superstructure so weather beaten. But I wonder if I will look as good when I am 137 years old . . . .


Silver Fox very satisfied with our day out.

Cowes East or West?


I’d never heard of the Red Funnel Line until this year. I’d heard of the Blue Funnel Line,which was based on Merseyside.


While in Southampton we wanted to visit the Isle of Wight so as to see Osborne House. Getting there we decided on the car ferry to East Cowes, and the ‘cruise’ would take an hour and at then end of the day the Red Funnel jet boat for the return, which would take about thirty minutes.

The outbound car ferry would dock at East Cowes, which would require us to use the ‘floating’ bridge’ to get to West Cowes for the return journey.


It was a beautiful day as we ‘cruised’ passed various deep sea ships, some along side the tanker berth and others just arriving in to Southampton.


West Cowes as we slowly entered the harbour.


More of West Cowes


As we sailed further in to the harbour I recognise a yacht, which surprised me because I have little interest in yachting. I had to photograph it among the many others boats in the harbour.

DSC02151rc Perhaps it was the wine that I recognised rather than the yacht. She was the Cloudy Bay from New Zealand. A long way from home.


Even as a lover of Australian wines I must say that Cloudy Bay is a lovely drop.


The ‘floating bridge’ that we will use later in the day, the vessel can bee seen crossing the harbour.


An odd looking craft that drags itself across using chains fixed to the shore on either side.


A short bus ride from the harbour of East Cowes and we were looking at Osborne House.

It was built between 1845 to 1851 as a summer home / retreat for Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert, and the family.
The Royal couple bought the original Osborne House from Lady Isabella Blachford in 1845 and soon realised that it was too small for their family, so they replaced it with what we now see as Osborne House.


Note the lawns. all dried out due to the lack of rain, much like the bush areas of Australia.

The building in the above photograph is to the right of  the building in the first photograph of Osborne House – they are all part of the same house.


Queen Victoria and Prince Albert with their family.
The painting is on display inside Osborne House.


Samples of some of the rooms – we did a DIY tour which is very easy to do, and if you have questions there are staff in all of the rooms to help – it was a very interesting tour.


The children’s nursery.


The nursery – all the furniture was created ‘small’ for the children – chairs, tables etc that an adult would find very uncomfortable to use.


I took this shot from the top of the house and I asked why they kept a cannon in the front hall – the lady I spoke to didn’t have any idea. It had been a gift to the Queen. Perhaps as it was aimed at the front door it was just in case the bailiffs arrived.


Queen Victoria’s dressing table in her dressing room.



The hidden bath had inlets in the side for the hot water and of course the normal drain system that we know today.


My Queen in one of the many corridors.



I hope you can read the details about this room – fascinating.


The ‘back garden’ taken from one of the many windows.


The view from the rear of the house towards the sea.

The Australian style landscape is a huge contrast to England’s green and pleasant land, that we would normally expect.


The rear of Osborne House


I took a large number of photographs in and around the house – the above is the rear again.


 A stroll in the hot sun made it feel like home (Australia) – we were on our way to the beach. The walk is about fifteen minutes from the house.


I do like to be beside the seaside.

The above recording was made in 1908  or if you like trains . . .


The British do like their deckchairs.

The above is a quote from Queen Victoria’s letter to Lord Melbourne in 1845. Lord Melbourne was Prime Minister twice, and a close political adviser and friend of Queen Victoria.


Queen Victoria’s bathing machine.She would get in it and it would be pushed in to the water so that nobody could see her swimming. This is the original machine.




How times have changed . . .I wonder if Queen Victoria would have allowed nude bathing on her beach.


Queen Victoria died in Osborne House on the 22nd January 1901, Prince Albert died 14th December 1861 at Windsor Castle.


I found this picture of the Queen’s deathbed on the internet. My own pictures were blurred due to the crush of the crowd.

DSC02252r  A twenty minute walk back to the bus stop in front of Osborne House and we were soon at the harbour waiting for the ‘floating bridge’ to take us over to West Cowes. You can see the chains on both sides of the ‘vessel’ as she hauled herself across the harbour.


West Cowes – nautical shops, old pubs and a pleasant walking area.



Homeward Bound how many sailors have sung this after a beer or three.


The weekend sailors . . .

A beautiful day out that allowed us to view the old Queen’s house and absorb history without realising  that we were doing so . . .

In the footsteps of ghosts



SS Shieldhall, used to be a Clyde ‘sludge boat’. 1972 GT, built in 1954 and now saved as a piece of history and maintained by volunteers.
In 2012 she was repainted in the colours of R.M.S Titanic to mark the centenary of the sinking. She operates over the weekend as a pleasure steamer taking tourists up and down the Solent and she now ‘lives’ at Southampton.

DSC02082rcAs we sailed down the Solent in the Celebrity Silhouette for the start of our cruise to the Baltic, SS Shieldhall was returning to Southampton (top picture), and as the two ship passed each other they used their sirens to signal bon voyage.

1200px-Celebrity_Silhouette_San_JuanWe were a little larger than the ‘sludge boat’ at 122,210 gt

DSC03787r  London Hotel on the junction of Oxford Street and Terminus Terrace, in Southampton.


DSC03808rHad to sample a local ale . . .

DSC03809rAs I drank the face disappeared, thankfully.

The pub was built in 1907 on the same spot as an early building, which is shown on a map dated 1846, and that building was called The Railway Hotel. Across the road is the old railway station, now a casino.

DSC03789rThis building was the Terminus Station, and the families of the survivors off the Titanic waited here for word of their loved ones.

DSC03790rThe hotel on the right was South Western House, and passengers could alight from the train and walk from the platform in to the hotel. It was ‘the’ place to stay while waiting for your trans Atlantic liner.

DSC03794rThe rear area of all our yesterdays. . .

DSC03802rThe front of South Western House today.

DSC03803rNo longer a hotel, because the rooms were converted in to 77 apartments in 1998.

DSC03806rAcross the road from South Western House I found a tailor that I used (only once) in Liverpool during my time at sea. The sign was the only indication that the derelict building had once been famous.

It was in 1907 that the White Star Line moved its trans Atlantic passenger services from Liverpool to Southampton. By 1912 Southampton had become the home of 23 shipping companies.

DSC03792r Union Castle Line

Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, this building used to be the Radley Hotel in the 1840’s when George Radley was the owner. It closed in 1907 and Royal Mail Steam Packet Company bought the building.

DSC03813rBack to Oxford Street and across the road from the London Hotel we found The Grapes. Unfortunately we never did manage a drink in the Grapes.
DSC03813c Over the top of the main door I’ve blown up the picture of the Titanic.

This pub was a favourite drink hole for engine room firemen and coal trimmers because it was one of the closest to the docks. On the day that the Titanic sailed six Titanic crew members left the pub at 11.50 am to join the Titanic as she was sailing at Noon.
As they all entered the dock area a boat train was arriving and two of the six crossed in front of the train, and the other four waited for the train to pass. When the remaining four reached the dock they saw ‘Titanic’ and realised that they had missed the sailing.
Of the four who missed the sailing three were brothers and the fourth was their lodger. The two who crossed the railway lines in front of the train didn’t return.


Further up the road from the Grapes we came across the Sailors Home, built in 1909 for merchant seamen and orphans who would be trained to go to sea.


Note the name of the building – it was politically correct in 1909, well before PC had been invented.

Twenty-seven crew members who sailed in the Titanic gave the address of the Sailors Home as their home. Eighteen died when the Titanic sank.
Reginald Robinson Lee, one of the survivors of the sinking, was the lookout man who first saw the iceberg. Lee died at this home in 1913 from heart failure after having pneumonia and pleurisy – he was forty three.

11464741_112299817041 He survived because he had been ordered to be a rower in one of the lifeboats –
it was lifeboat 13.


James Moody 1887 – 1912

James Paul Moody was the sixth officer, and the only Junior officer to die during the sinking. He helped load lifeboats 9, 12, 13, 14 & 16. The fifth officer, who was with Moody, commented that the lifeboats should have an officer aboard to take control, and as the junior, Moody should go in the boats. Moody differed to the fifth officer that he should go and he (Moody) would follow.
The fifth officer boarded the lifeboat and Moody crossed to the starboard side of the vessel to help with the evacuation until the water came across the deck. He was last seen trying to launch a collapsible lifeboat while standing on the top of the officer’s quarters just before the ship sank. He was twenty four when he died.

James Moody was a Conway cadet (1902- 3) and after his death his family donated a trophy to the Conway, which was called The Moody Cup to be competed for annual in a sailing race.

Moody-CupMoody Cup

The cup is now on display at the Liverpool Maritime Museum. His memory is kept alive today when each year the cup is loaned to the Conway Club Sailing Association where it is awarded for the best sailing log of the year.
During my time on the Conway, we used to race sailing boats on the Menai Straits and it was a great honour to win the cup for your ‘top’. (Top is equivalent to ‘House’ in other schools – I was a member of Maintop.)

There is a link between Reginald Robinson Lee and James Moody. Reginald Lee was the masthead lookout and James Moody was the junior officer of the watch on the bridge when Lee saw the iceberg.

The Sailors Home building is no longer a Sailor’s Home. but a Salvation Army Hostel. In  2007 the inside was gutted to update the hostel. The only remains of the original building is the outside front façade.

The land around the area of Oxford St used to be owned by a rich French Norman,  Gervase Ia Riche.

When he died he left the land to Richard the Lion Heart, who in turn left it to his brother King John.

Edward III gave it to his wife Queen Phillipa to start a new school in Oxford, which became Queens College Oxford. This is why Oxford St, College Street, John Street and Queens Park in Southampton are so named, and the college still owns much of the land.

Queens College Oxford sold the site of the Sailors Home for £1500 in 1907 to build a Sailors Home.


RMS Titanic

If you ever  visit Southampton I recommend a visit to the Titanic Museum , which is well worth seeing. The Titanic section is within the Seacity Museum

R M S TITANIC Celine Dion


Living history

DSC02057rWhere ever we went in Southampton we came a cross history, whether from a few years ago to over a thousand years ago.

DSC02056rHe still guards Bargate, and watches over the peace of the town.

 The town has been in existences from the Stone age, through the Bronze and the Iron age.
It was called Clausentum by the Romans from 43 to 410 AD.
When the Romans left the Anglo Saxons came, and referred to the town as Hamwic or Hamtun, both names referred to the same area. Excavations have revealed a street plan of Hamwic, and further excavation found one of the best collections of Anglo Saxon artefacts in Europe.
In the 11th century the Anglo-Saxon chroniclers referred to the town as South Hamtun.
England was split due to warfare, and the Viking king, Canute, was crowned in this town, (the other part of the country chose Eadmund, who ruled in London). It is thought that it was in Southampton waters that Canute ordered the sea to halt.
His action was to prove to his courtiers that he was not divine, but only human. Over the years he has been portrayed as arrogant to think that he could stop the tide, when in fact he was proving that he wasn’t divine, and that only God had the power to still the waters.

quotebykingcanuteshaftesburyabbeymuseumshaftesburyKing Canute’s name was also spelt as Cnut, but I don’t know where the ‘Knut’ originated. He was crowned King of England in the old St Pauls cathedral, London, in 1017. He was also the King of Denmark and Norway.

DSC02058rA short walk further on from Bargate we came across the Dolphin Hotel where it is said that Jane Austen celebrated her 18th birthday on the 16th December 1793. Later she lived in Southampton from 1808 to 1809. The home in which she lived has gone and on the empty plot a pub was built.

DSC02266rIt looks Tudor and older than it is, I think it was built around 1870.

DSC02265rA view inside the current pub, the flags were for the football competition in Russia.

DSC02063rNot too far from the pub is an old church dedicated to the members of the Merchant Navy. It is called Holyrood church and is known to be in existence during the reign of Henry II in 1160. It was originally built at another location, but in 1320 it was demolished and rebuilt at its present location. It has been a place of worship for the Crusaders, soldiers heading to Agincourt, and Phillip II of Spain in 1554 when he was travelling to Winchester to marry Queen Mary.

After being refurbished in 1851 it could seat 974 people and regularly Sunday services had 462 in the morning and 405 in the evening.

It was during the night of the 30th November 1940 that Southampton was bombed by the German air force. The following morning Holyrood was in ruins.

DSC02064rIt is now a memorial church to Merchant Seamen, because it has always been linked to sailors. Southampton lost 538 of her seaman when the R.M.S Titanic sank. Of approximately 900 crew on the Titanic, 685 were from Southampton.


DSC02065cThe plaque on the wall near the anchor.

DSC02067rcA later memorial.

DSC02062r   On the pavement at the front of the church is this anchor from QE2, she is still afloat and has been converted to being a hotel on the waterfront in Dubai.

DSC02061rDuring the bombing the lectern from Holyrood was rescued as the church burned.

DSC02092cIt is the oldest brass eagle lectern in the country dating back to around 1420. It took two men all their strength to carry the lectern to safety, and is now used in St Michael’s church. The jewels are missing from its eyes, and there is some damage on its wings. During the English civil war it was painted brown to look like wood so that it wouldn’t be melted down.

DSC02089rSt Michael’s church, a block away from Holyrood, St Michael’s is the oldest building still  in use in Southampton.
The church was founded in 1070 AD and still has Sunday services today

DSC02091rThe view inside St Michael’s

DSC02090rI saw this model of the ‘Mayflower‘ in St Michael’s church.

The link is that the Pilgrim Fathers sailed from Southampton. In 1620 the Mayflower  anchored in Southampton water waiting for her consort Speedwell, which had sailed from Holland with more Puritans.
The two vessels set sail for America in August, but shortly after, the Speedwell sprung a leak and the two ships put in to Dartmouth for repairs.
Repairs completed and they sailed again for the Americas. When they had sailed about 200 miles from Lands End the Speedwell sprung another leak. Both ships returned to Plymouth.
Some of the passengers off the Speedwell moved to the Mayflower and others returned to Holland. On the 6th September the Mayflower sailed for America, later Speedwell was sold.
On the 9th November 1620 they sighted what we now know is Cape Cod. The rest is history.

DSC02081rThis was our destination close to the waterfront.


The brightest part of the day is that this Maritime Museum had changed in to something else. It has become a micro brewery called the Dancing Man.

The Dancing Man brewery began in 2011 and in 2015 they moved in to this building.

DSC02078rRestaurant upstairs – bar downstairs, or outside in the sun.

DSC03831rThey have seven different beers, all brewed on the premises, so I thought I’d have a drop of Jesus’, the taste was another miracle. Jesus turned water in to wine, and the Dancing Man turned water in to beer.

DSC02267rWe were never far from a touch of history. The above shows the original walls of the old town. On the right the modern building is a shopping centre.

DSC02052rEven inside a shopping centre they had created a feeling of yester-year. I took the photograph and behind me were very modern shops.

It was school holidays so what did we used to do – we went to the seaside.

DSC03827rcBeach Rules but where is the beach?

DSC03826rcIs it only the British who sit in deckchairs row after row?

This beach was on the main road in Southampton, miles away from the water and the ships.


Sand had been spread across what I think was a small square in front of the building with the white roof that can be seen. The large deckchair on the left was part of a competition of about eighteen large deckchairs spread throughout the main old town area and one had to track them down and tick them off a list – we didn’t get involved.

The weather was very kind to us during our stay in Southampton – two days, three nights before the cruise and three days three nights after the cruise – well worth the visit as neither of us had visited Southampton before.




Onwards to the Sceptred Isle


DSC03891rPicture taken of the Cross of St George the English flag, above Bargate, Southampton.

DSC02055rBargate – Southampton . . .
but before we reached the Sceptered Isle, we had to leave Singapore
DSC02010rWe walked out of our hotel in to a very quiet terminus at 6.00 am, to check-in for our flight to London.

Emigration & security didn’t open until 6.30 am so we had time to find our check-in counter. Flying business class did not require us to do self check-in and self labeling of our bags, a growing cancer of modern day flying and self checkout at super markets.
Remember me, I used to be called the customer, not the DIY wizard to save you money.
jetstar-self-check-in-1When was the last time that you saw empty self-check-in machines?
Changi-Airport-Kiosks                  Photographs must have been taken during the night – nicely posed.

Whinge over, we’ve been checked in by a real person, and we’ve been invited to the lounge.
DSC02012rA light breakfast perhaps – not too much as to ruin the appetite for brunch on the plane .
DSC02013rThe lounge was not all that far from the boarding area so we had plenty of time for breakfast and to watch the airport traffic.
DSC02018rOne must admit that Singapore airport authority have created a relaxing environment for those travelling in tubes of metal across the world. The above is an advert with a fountain (the white circle), which didn’t come out as planned. More fountains below
DSC02026rAs we sped down the runway the Singapore Airlines planes were everywhere, so is it any wonder that in the near future they will be flying an ultra long range aircraft A350-900ULR none stop to New York. It’ll take nineteen hours, and only carry business and premium economy seats. Our flight from Singapore to London would take us about thirteen hours, which is long enough for me.


All my yesterdays – ships at anchor off Singapore, but I have a feeling that they are not waiting to go alongside or to work cargo from junks, but to die on a beach in India or Bangladesh.


Nothing new – in 1838 HMS Temeraire, immortalised in William Turner’s painting as she was towed to the breakers. Sold by the Admiralty for scrap for £5,530, her copper reclaimed and sold back to the Admiralty, and her timbers sold for housebuilding and hand carved furniture – where there’s muck there’s money.

DSC02037rOn a happier note it was time for brunch.

DSC02038rThe lighting had been dulled a little for those who wished to sleep, hence the coloured reflection. Prawns and scallops, and of course a glass of white wine, it was 5.00 pm somewhere in the world!

DSC02040rMore fish – Maureen was proud of me considering fish is my least favourite food.
DSC02041rI think this was called a Tarrufo Limoncello – what ever it was called it was very nice.
DSC02043rand of course cheese to finish – this meal was a very pleasant way of spending an hour or so . . . .
DSC02046rEngland below – the picture is not as clear as I’d hoped, and as we descended, I was hoping that we would pass near Windsor Castle for a photograph – we didn’t. If we did I didn’t see the castle.

Once through customs and immigration we were met by a driver to take us to Southampton – the traffic was nose to tail most of the way and took us two hours.

We arrived at the Premier Inn, Cumberland Place in time for a quick shower and down for a drink before dinner. The hotel is not a ‘flash’ hotel but new (opened February 2018), clean, with friendly efficient staff. We’d booked in for three nights before joining the cruise ship.


Small bar area, which was part of the dinning room.

DSC02051rDining room.

They served the best ‘Continental’ breakfast that I’ve had in a long time – choice of juices, cereals, fruit, various breads and as much coffee as you could drink. A hot breakfast was about £3.00 extra, but after the ‘Continental’ I couldn’t face bacon & eggs.

Early to bed as our inner clocks where out of wack with the local time . . .








DSC01712rI asked this lady’s permission to take her photograph. It was during a ‘formal’ evening on the Diamond Princess when a number of Japanese ladies dressed in the national dress of Japan.

Our next port of call was Akita, which would be the last for Maureen & I, because we would leave the ship in Yokohama.

DSC01714r Wind farms as we entered Akita harbour area, I suppose to supply the dock area with power.

DSC01719rThe local people seemed pleased to see us – I was quite surprised as we normally see more people farewelling than greeting us.

DSC01725rThe inevitable manga showed up. He gets around.

I had arranged for a walker guide in Akita, and he was waiting for us in the terminal. His name is Toru, and as soon as he met us we were ushered quickly to the bus, which would take us to the local railway station. He told us that the city had placed a special train at Diamond Princess’ disposal and the first one hundred passengers would travel free. That word ‘free’ always gets my attention!

DSC01755rWhile we waited on the train we were entertained by a display of Japanese kanto lantern skills. Akita is well known for its rice, from which they make award winning Sake, and over the years this has grown in to a celebration of rice.

DSC01733rThe kanto (or pole lantern) comes in different sizes with the largest measuring 12 meters, and weighing 50 kilograms (about 100 lbs) and carrying as many as 46 paper lanterns, which are lit by real candles at night. To the sound of drums & flutes onlookers chant “dokkoisho, dokkoisho”, (a loose translation is ‘heavy ho, heave ho’), when each kanto is hoisted up by a single performer who balances the kanto on end using various techniques. The performers change every few minutes and gradually add extensions to the pole until the kanto is at its maximum height.
The above shows lanterns, which represents the rice grains on a stalk of the main plant. The individual holding the pole shows his skill and ability to control the kanto from balancing it in his hand to placing the end of the pole on his chin and letting go of the pole. As he balanced the pole we were surrounded by drum beats.

DSC01734rOne handed


DSC01746rcWhen the wind blows  . . . but he managed to save it.

DSC01738rcIf he’d been a ‘chinless wonder’, (a British thing), he couldn’t have managed this feat.
In August Akita has a lantern festival and teams compete, and in the evening march through the town.

lgPicture of the night scene taken from the internet.

DSC01726rAs we stepped on to the train we were greeted by Geishas – the more experienced Geisha is called geiko and the student or apprentice is called maiko – for those who are wondering, sex doesn’t come in to being a real geisha. They are entertainers, and the geisha is often skilled in classical music, dance, conversation etc and the word Geisha in English means ‘performing artist’.

In the old days the geiko was called okiya by the maiko, which means that the geiko would supply the food and clothes for the maiko, so once the maiko became a geisha she would repay her okiya for her training, clothes & food etc. I don’t think this ‘bonded’ system works today. Perhaps I’ll ask questions at the end . . . .

DSC01745rMaureen and the welcome party, they joined us on the train to the city centre.


DSC01748rAs the train pulled out of the station we were farewelled by a group of well dressed males. Not sure if they were from the town council, rail company or port authority.

DSC01757rOn arrival in the main city station we were greeted by a couple of longhaired old friends on the platform.


As well as inside the main building.

Akita-InuAkita inu (Akita dog),

The Japanese Akita inu used to be a hunting dog to find and fight bears, deer etc. The dogs came from the northern part of Japan and the surrounding areas of Akita, hence its name.

Hachikō was the most famous of these dogs, and he lived from 1923 to 1935.

In 1924, Hidesaburō Ueno, a professor in the agriculture department at the Tokyo Imperial University, took Hachikō as a pet and brought him to live in Shibuya, Tokyo. Ueno would commute daily to work, and Hachikō would leave the house to greet him at the end of each day at the nearby Shibuya Station. The pair continued the daily routine until May 21, 1925, when Ueno did not return. The professor had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage, while he was giving a lecture, and died without ever returning to the train station in which Hachikō waited.
Each day, for the next nine years, nine months and fifteen days, Hachikō awaited Ueno’s return, appearing precisely when the train was due at the station.
During his lifetime, the dog was held up in Japanese culture as an example of loyalty and fidelity. (The above information is thanks to Wikipedia).

DSC01766rSo of course you can buy a stuffed Akita dog at the railway station . . .

DSC01768rOnce again, every where was spotless and graffiti free. I took the above from the escalator as we went down to street level.

DSC01769rToru, our guide, steered us towards an area similar to a public square, where we saw smaller kanto close up.

DSC01770rMaureen was given the smallest one that we could find, and it was still heavier than it looked, and awkward to handle. Unfortunately I don’t have a copy of the photograph of Maureen balancing the kanto on her chin.

DSC01775rWe walked up the hill to the old ‘castle’s’ front gate. We saw inside the castle guard house, and the surrounding area. Main gate shown below.


DSC01786rWe walked up further from the gate to the Kubata Castle at the top.

Toru wanted to show us the views of the town, from the highest point, which was very good, even though is was a little overcast. On leaving the castle area we came across . . .


something different, red torii gates leading to Hachiman Shinto Shrine, Akita.

The day was drawing to a close and we had to cut short our visit to the castle hill and make our way to the meeting place for the coach to take us back to the ship. The train was only one way. As we got closer to the meeting place it started to rain and quite a few other passengers had the same idea and the queue was quite long.

When the bus arrived I didn’t think that we would all get on, but once all the normal seats were filled the driver dropped down aisle seats. I’m glad we didn’t have an accident because I don’t have any idea how we would have all escaped.

DSC01790rI was on one of the centre aisle seats, and the head in front (black hair) is Toru our guide. At least the centre passengers were first off when we reached the ship.







DSC01619rA quiet town with a very unusual historical link.

We took a ship’s cruise, because I was unable to find a ‘walker’ guide.

DSC01625rAnother temple – Kehi Jingu Shrine, or as the locals call it “Kei-san,” I took the above photo, but as usual you couldn’t get a clear shot for the tourists :- o)

kehijingu_mainThis shot is from the Tsuruga Tourists Association site.
It is said to have been built in 702 AD. The 11-meter-tall torii gate is known as one of Japan’s three greatest wooden torii gates.

DSC01626rAs we crossed the bridge to enter we came across a bride & groom.

DSC01627rcCouldn’t get a clear shot of her because the lady in blue kept getting in the way, perhaps she was the bride’s mother making sure all was well with the dress. She did look lovely, and everyone wanted a photograph of her.

DSC01636rPart of the temple.

DSC01637rThe prayer board was not far away.

DSC01638rIt appears that as well as selling prayer boards and good luck charms, she also fixed radios & told jokes, because her customer was laughing his head off.

DSC01640rOnce again after the faithful had purchased a fortune slip, and it wasn’t what they wanted,  they would tie the slip to the line and walked away, leaving their bad luck behind.

DSC01641rThese ladies seemed to be working for the temple on a tea stall, and they were quite happy to have their photograph taken with Maureen & I. Perhaps they were the Japanese version of Mother’s Union.


Maureen & I escaped because we wanted to see how the locals lived and we had visited quite a number of temples over the years. The above shows the local high street, which had Saturday stalls on the pavement – they were just setting up for the day.

DSC01647rThese ladies were trying to encourage us to visit their tea shop – if we’d have had more time perhaps we would have sampled their tea, but our time was limited, because we didn’t want to miss the coach.

DSC01650rPort of Humanity Tsuruga Museum

This is a museum – one that I’d never heard of, but a must for any visitor to Tsuruga.
We were not allowed to take photographs inside, so I have used the internet for those who are interested.

p_e-1-1-2sChiune Sugihara was a most unusual diplomat.

He was born on January 1, 1900 in Yaotsu-cho, Kamo-gun, Gifu Prefecture. His father wanted his high-achieving son to become a doctor, but the young Chiune desired a field in which he could use foreign languages, and at the age of eighteen, entered Waseda University’s Faculty of Education, Department of English Literature. He later passed the stringent exams for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His choosing to learn the Russian language, as recommended by an examiner during an interview, would determine his destiny.

Humanity Museum – 763 Polish orphans rescued between 1920 and 1922.

On September 1, 1939, the German forces invaded Poland and two weeks later on the 17th, Soviet forces stormed in from the east. Poland was divided and occupied according to the secret clause in the Nonaggression Pact concluded by Germany and the Soviet Union.
The Polish Jews were stranded without means to obtain approval to flee the country.  Their only escape route was Japan via Siberia.
They escaped to Lithuania but, Russian troops invaded Lithuania, and stopped the refugees from leaving.
They were now facing deportation to Siberia, so they contacted the Japanese Consul, Chiune Sugihara, to obtain a Transit Visa. The Consul contacted Tokyo for permission to issue so many transit visas – he was denied permission.
Sugihara, in an act of defiance, ignored the orders, and commenced granting visas.

The refugees who obtained the visas were then at the mercy of extreme hardship. While traveling to Vladivostok on the Siberian Railway, Russian Secret Police boarded the train and confiscated the refugees’ jewelry and watches. Many youths were arrested without reason and led away to forced labour in Siberia. By the time they reached Vladivostok and the ship to Japan, most of them had lost almost all of their money and valuables. From Vladivostok they took ship to Tsuruga.

The Jewish Escape Route lasted until 22nd June 1941 when Germany attacked Russia and the Siberian railways was closed to the refugees.

Hundreds escaped thanks to Chiune Sugihara.
From Tsuruga the refugees would make their way to Kobe, and then to China, Australia, US, Canada & S. America.
Read the links for more detail.

Across the road from the museum we were shown a diorama of Tsuruga – every boy’s Christmas wish.


DSC01660rThe trains never stopped, the lights dimmed to simulate night and the ships came alongside, with their navigation lights lit. The ships also sailed during ‘daylight’.

DSC01664rNote the ship at sea near what looks like a lighter coloured part of the sea – this is a viewing hole. From where I took the picture one could crawl underneath the ‘town’ and pop up to take photos of the town from the sea. The images on the top right hand side are, I think, reflections of a photograph of railway workers that was behind me when I took the picture. I didn’t know of this until I arrived home and transferred the images from the camera to the computer.

DSC01665rEven the buses and the general traffic moved around and stopped at lights.

All the men from our coach were clicking like mad and admiring the whole project, but our wives went to the souvenir shop after a couple of minutes looking at the display. Obviously the politically correct unisex concept was not in anyone’s mind, so please don’t report us to the PC police.

For some reason were taken to a ‘forest’ of pine trees . . . I’ve no idea why,

DSC01671rat the same time we were shown a beach –

DSC01668rNothing like an Aussie beach as the sand was very gritty.

DSC01670rcAs you can see it was not beach weather, even for an optimist like me in my shorts . . . the top for the day was 15 c (59F), not sitting out weather.

DSC01685rOf course we had to go round another market – not too bad, because they had plenty of samples, mainly fish and various seaweed etc.

DSC01687rThis stall holder was shaving seaweed in to very thin strip from a large piece of seaweed. It was interesting to watch his skill at getting slices that you could nearly see through.

DSC01691rThey had various restaurants & cafes. Some of the tour group had lunch others just made do with the samples.

DSC01684rI didn’t receive any free samples of crab at $81.50 for one crab . . .

DSC01693rVarious types of fish mixed with herbs and  . . . can’t remember, but it smelt ok.

DSC01695rThe smaller towns do make an effort to turn out for a ‘sail away’ & wave goodbye,

DSC01696rand the band with the Manga figures as well.

The one thing that sticks in my mind is that everywhere in Tsuruga was clean – we didn’t see any litter or graffiti. Tsuruga’s zebra crossings were different – once you had permission to cross, birds tweeted as you walked and stopped as soon as the light changed.