Thursday, August 27, 2009

St. Peter Port, Guernsey and Cobh, Ireland

The internet was down yesterday...what a hue and cry! You wonder what we did before internet. This is my first attempt at a blog on the ship. The internet is incredibly slow and expensive, so we'll see how it goes...

We arrived at Southampton to board the cruise on Monday at around 2 p.m. What a smooth and quick embarkation! By 2:15 we were in our cabin and our luggage arrived shortly after.

This is the Southampton marina…

Jim was impressed by this yacht with a wind turbine that appears to be providing power to move the boat.

Here is Jim on the tender that we took to shore in St. Peter Port, Guernsey. Because of the size of the ship, we often have to anchor off-shore and take the tenders into the port. We did have a tour planned, but we had to be at the meeting place at 7:00 a.m. When the alarm went off at 5:30, we thought “What were we thinking??” and decided to pass on it. We went into town later and just puttered around. (Note to selves…no more tours with early starts!)

St. Peter Port, Guernsey is part of the Channel Islands, which are a sort of cultural loop. In theory, they belong with Britain, but they are only eight miles from the coast of France. French is the official language, but local speech is a blend of the two.

They really do welcome the cruise ship passengers…

Excavations have shown that the islands were inhabited by at least 3000 B.C. and probably much earlier. They have been occupied by the Romans, and then became part of the Duchy of Normandy after 933 A.D. Because of their position between England and France, they have been involved in continuing conflict, from the Hundred Years War of the Middle Ages to 1815 when the British defeated the French.

They were the only part of the British Isles that were occupied by the Germans in World War II.

The local fishing boats…

We walked up the steep hill to the Candie Gardens and Guernsey Museum. I did briefly think there might be candy involved…

If you stopped to look at the fish for a second, they would stick their heads up and do the “fish mouth” looking for food. They are obviously used to tourists!

The statues leading up to the museum…

Statue of Queen Victoria…this statue was to commemorate her diamond jubilee, 60 years of reign.

The beautiful gardens…the climate in the Channel Islands is very conducive to a good growing season. They receive 2000 hours of sun annually, making them the sunniest spot in the British Isles and a favourite vacation place for the English and French.

Statue of Victor Hugo, the island’s most famous inhabitant. He wrote Les Miserables in the late 1800s.

These sculptures were absolutely precious…



The museum had a lot of great info in it. Unfortunately, we only had 30 minutes to cover it all.

Some of the early pottery…



Flags flying in the town square…

Lovely scene with Castle Cornet in the background...the castle was built in 1206. It is now used as three military museums and an art gallery.

Tenders waiting to take people back to the ship. There was a huge line-up but they moved the people through really quickly. Each tender can hold about 100-125 passengers.

Getting back to the ship…

First formal night…we sat with 3 other couples from the U.S. at dinner. This particular evening reminded us why we don’t do traditional dining where you sit with the same group each night…’nuff said…

The captain had warned that we might have a rough night as we would be feeling some of the effects of Hurricane Bill. It was a bit rough, but nothing for us seasoned cruisers (ha ha!!). I laugh because I went to bed with motion sickness wristbands on…Jim doesn’t feel a thing.

We woke up this morning to the beautiful town of Cobh (pronounced Cove). It is really the closest port to Cork, where most people are heading for tours and to visit Blarney Castle. Being as we have already done that part of Ireland, we are happy to get some laundry done and just walk into the town of Cobh.

All the buses lined up to take people on tours…a huge business!

We opted to go to the gym. This is the nicest and largest gym we have seen on any ship so far…

Gorgeous cathedral and all the differently painted houses make Cobh an inviting stop-off on its own…

Statue of Annie Moore and her brothers…they set off from Cobh in 1891 and Annie was the first person to be admitted to the United States through the new immigration centre at Ellis Island.

Lovely houses in Cobh…



The ship tends to dwarf its surroundings…

Titanic Memorial in Cobh…this was her last port of call on her maiden and final voyage in 1912.

Lots of tributes to the Titanic throughout the town…

One of the Irish dancers who came onboard to perform…the children learn traditional Irish dances at an early age.

So it was farewell to Cobh…as we were leaving there were many people on shore waving and Danny Boy playing. Talk about emotional!!


We're heading back to Dublin...

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