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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

A rich man’s world

 

oneA friend of mine that I used to work with in BOAC in the 1970’s, heard that Maureen & I would be sailing in the Majestic Princess, and that she would be visiting Dubai for a day on the way to Singapore.
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He suggested that we should meet so as to catch up on the last thirty nine years. I jumped at the idea at seeing him again, and ‘catching up’.

He’d left BOAC in 1978 to work for an airline in the Persian Gulf.
boac                  For those who can remember BOAC  :-o)

Over the years his life had changed, and he now ran his own company in Dubai.

During our e-mail chats he asked what we would like to see while in Dubai, and as we had seen a number of the popular sights during our visit last year,  we asked if it was possible to see inside . . .

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without actually staying there?

My friend picked Maureen & I up from the cruise terminal in his chauffer driven car – he hates driving – and took us to the Dubai Museum.

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DSC09018r.jpgI was able to read more about Lawrence of Arabia. The museum was cool (as in climate) and very interesting. I took a number of photos of various items on display, but for some reason only the above picture registered on the camera. At least the outside pictures worked.

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Leo & I meet again after nearly forty years.

Next stop was the 321 meter high  Burj Al Arab Jumeirah hotel, voted as the world’s most luxurious hotel. Leo had fixed everything.

DSC09025rThe main reception area where Leo introduced himself to the receptionist and a young lady came over to meet us and show us various areas of the hotel.

On the left of the above picture is the start of the wow factor.

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Computer controlled mini-fountains pointing upwards.

Escalators on each side of the water feature, but so as not to get bored in your travels the management have put in an a fish pond.

DSC09024rThere is another escalator & aquarium on the other side of the of the mini-fountains.

There is a reception on each floor and check-in takes place in your suite.

DSC09023rDifferent colours for various floors.

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More fountains as we reached the top of the escalators.

DSC09030rMaureen & Leo walk quietly to the lift.

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Reception at the restaurant as we step out of the lift.

DSC09032rWalk through the tunnel to the restaurant. The colour gold is everywhere.

DSC09034r We are in the Al Mahara restaurant and the whole wall is an aquarium – not sure if we are supposed to pick our fish for eating as it swims passed or do we just admire the view.

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DSC09036rPrivate dining room – I am not sure if the aquarium at the end is part of the restaurant aquarium.

DSC09037r The private dining room – view taken with my back to the aquarium.

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Close-up of the wall of water.

DSC09040rView of outside from the reception area.

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Shopping ??

DSC09043rCorridor to where, I don’t know.

DSC09044rLooking down on to a tearoom come bar area and below the bar area is the main entrance.

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Design of the various floors.

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DSC09046rThe walk area towards ‘our’ suite.

DSC09047rEntrance area of the suite – two floors, dining room, sitting room two double bedrooms each en-suite.
This bedroom suite has a gold iPad – who doesn’t? A 21 inch iMac, floor to ceiling windows, wide screen HD TV and don’t forget the 24 hour butler service. Nothing has been left out.

DSC09048eLeo & our guide in the reception area of the suite.

DSC09067rLeo felt quite at home, with his gold computer . . .

DSC09049rSitting room

DSC09050rDining room.

DSC09054rGeneral view back towards the reception area.

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DSC09056rMain bedroom

DSC09057rEn-suite bathroom.

DSC09059rDressing room for main bedroom.

DSC09060rSecond bedroom

DSC09062rSecond bedroom en-suite (also with dressing room)

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Both bedrooms are upstairs, but as you climb the stairs you can check the time, which is an image that is cast on to the wall of the staircase so that it doesn’t intrude. As you see we were there around lunchtime –  the clock was accurate.

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Sitting room , small bar & large TV.

DSC09051rView from the sitting room window. A little hazy due to sand in the air.

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As we left the hotel I saw the ‘sister’ hotel across the beach area, and noticed that the Rolls Royce’s engine was still running even though the car was empty – one doesn’t wish to climb in to a hot car.

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If I start saving now, and live long enough, the suite that we saw is on ‘special’ for just over AUD $6,000 a night, but it does include a free breakfast.

It’s only money after all, and that’s what I want  if I plan staying at this hotel.

The hotel opened in 1999.

The smallest room is 169 sq mtrs – & I thought the E & O in Penang had large rooms at 53 sq mtrs. It costs about AUD $1300 a night for the smallest room.
The largest room is 780 sq meters – the Royal Suite costs about AUD $37,000 a night. It was listed as the 12th most expensive suit in the world in 2012.

There are only 28 double story floors, to create 202 bedroom suites. The shape of the hotel represents the sail of a dhow. The owners wanted an iconic design to show place Dubai in the way that the Opera House does for Sydney, Big Ben for London or the Eiffel Tower for Paris.

The idea of using hotels as symbols of a country seems to be growing with Dubai’s  Burj Al Arab Jumeirah hotel,

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and also Singapore with

sin  Mariner Bay Sands Hotel

There is still talk of converting QE2 in to a Dubai hotel, but will she ever make the grade.

DSC09017rAs the Majestic Princess docked I took the above picture of a grand old lady alongside in Dubai – she has been in Dubai since 2008.

 

 

 

 

Our last port of call

We docked in Dubai, UAE, the largest man made harbour in the world, our last port of call before we left the ship.
As we entered the harbour I could see a familiar sight ahead, the vessel with the red funnel, in the middle of the picture.

DSC06259rThe other white vessels along side belonged to various UAE dignitaries – more weekenders.

DSC06264rThe cruise terminal with the city in the background.

DSC06270rA closer view of the vessel with the red funnel – Queen Elizabeth 11. She was bought to convert in to a floating hotel similar to the Queen Mary in Los Angeles, as yet it hasn’t happened. I must admit she does look like a ship and not a box boat or a block of flats . . . . sign of age I suppose.

DSC06276rThe view from our room at the Pullman Hotel.

DSC06277rOur hotel is built on top of a shopping centre . . . .

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A short metro ride to the nearby Dubai Creek we found the ‘Old Souk’, which we thought was not as attractive as the souk in Muscat.

Tomorrow we will visit the largest shopping centre in the world, I don’t know if I am looking forward to the visit or not . . . . .