Queen Mary 2

here’s the very last video!  i can’t believe it’s the final one…by this time, i think i’d shot enough video of the Queen Mary 2 interior on our crossing to Southampton, plus other videos of other trips, so these are exclusively shots of the sea from our balcony on Deck 11.


ok then,

mrs. winding up the trip after almost a year hughes.



Land ho! i staggered out onto our balcony at about 4:30 on friday morning to see us going back under the Verrazano Bridge, and this ship passed us.


here we are, getting closer and closer.







here’s a little bit about the history of the bridge, from a Smithsonian article.

The History of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, 50 Years After Its Construction
Built in 1964, the span still stands as Americas’ largest suspension bridge

(The Museum of The City of New York / Art Resource, NY)
By Jerry Adler
As long ago as 1910, when a steady parade of steamships bearing immigrants passed through the Narrows—the mile-wide channel at the entrance to New York Harbor—engineers envisioned a great bridge as a gateway to the New World. When it finally opened, 50 years ago this month, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge—honoring the 16th-century Florentine explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano, though not to the extent of spelling his name correctly—boasted the longest suspended span in the world: 4,260 feet, or four-fifths of a mile. Even after the great era of steamships had passed, the bridge held sway, dictating the design of the Cunard liner Queen Mary 2, once the world’s largest passenger ship, which first sailed in 2003, so that at high tide its funnel would pass beneath the roadway with 13 feet to spare.

Connecting Brooklyn with Staten Island, it is still the longest suspension bridge in the Americas, 11th in the world. The crowning achievement of the structural engineer Othmar Ammann and of New York’s imperious master planner Robert Moses, it was built for $320 million (about $2.5 billion in today’s currency), more or less on budget, a standard of frugality that present-day New York can only dream of. Ten thousand men worked to build the bridge, from “punks” lugging heavy bolts to foremen dubbed “pushers” to John Murphy, the superintendent, whose temper and sun-and-wind-hardened face led his charges to call him Hard Nose behind his back. Three men died. The bridge’s construction was vividly chronicled by Gay Talese, then a cub re=orter for the New York Times, whose book, The Bridge, is now being reissued in an expanded edition by Bloomsbury. It tells of Mohawk Indian ironworkers who made a specialty of walking the high steel and of James J. Braddock, once a world heavyweight boxing champion (Joe Louis took his title), by then a welding machine operator. “The anonymous hard-hatted men who put the bridge together, who took risks and sometimes fell to their deaths in the sky, over the sea—they did it in such a way that it would last,” Talese recalls in an interview
Toward the end of 1964, the Verrazano Narrows Bridge-linking the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Staten Island-was completed. Fifty years later, it remains an engineering marvel.
When it was finished, a ride across cost drivers 50 cents, or the equivalent of less than $4. But we should be so lucky: Today the cash toll is $15. Old-timers still mourn the sundered neighborhoods of Brooklyn, where hundreds of homes were destroyed to make way for the approach, and the sleepy, almost rural character of Staten Island when it was linked to the rest of New York City only by ferryboat.
To Talese, the Verrazano is about more than transportation. “A bridge, in its ultimate form, is a work of art,” he says, and one can see his point. Sunlight glints off the pair of monumental steel towers, 70 stories tall, carrying the curvature of the earth into the sky, where their tops are exactly 15⁄8 inches farther apart than at their base. At night, lights pick out the graceful curve of the four great cables, each three feet in diameter, spun from enough steel wire to reach more than halfway to the moon. The bridge thrums with the traffic of a million and a half vehicles weekly, its passengers “suspended,” as the poet Stephen Dunn wrote, in 2012, “out over the Narrows by a logic linked / to faith.”

i went back to bed for a little bit, but got up again before six to see this magnificent view.


it was great that our cabin was on the right side to see this; whenever we go back, we’ll somehow have to remember which side we were on.


we got breakfast and took it out on the deck, the only people to do so, just like we were the only ones eating out there before we set sail from southampton.

this bee thoroughly enjoyed my marmalade.




we were excited to disembark – we were going to board the train back to springfield later that afternoon.

soooo close to the end of the trip now…i have one final video, a few random shots i took during our voyage across the atlantic, then a few photos from the very final leg of our journey!  i may actually complete these posts before August 1st, one year to the day when we left.

ok then,

mrs. not travelling right at this moment hughes, but already planning another trip.



Wednesday was one more day of feeling crummy, but at least we were sick on the way home, not during the hiking and sightseeing part of our trip.

it was the day of the talent show, and i’m sorry i missed it, because you just never know what kind of stuff you’ll see at the talent show.

we did go to the buffet for dinner, but that’s about it.

thursday we both felt better, whew.  we walked six times around the deck, and it was good weather.  Lots of packing.

we did see one last lecture; charles barclay talked about meteors and asteroids.  i guess i felt so alarmed about the possibility of an asteroid hitting earth some time in our lifetime, that i took photos of these tree slides he had.




hmm.  since i can’t remember what was so alarming about all this, i won’t worry about it right now.

we had a nice dinner back in the dining room with our original dinner companions.

during the voyage, we’d spotted the Romanian girl classical pianist with a pretty blonde girl – i think we saw them together at the buffet sometimes when we went there.  the blonde had very big blonde hair, but the Romanian was wearing her fancy performing dress at the buffet.  but then, there was a picture of the blonde in the day’s program, and she was a singer.  our plan was to see her perform, but it just didn’t happen.

so, it was a rather anti-climactic last day at sea, but we were eager to get back home.

ok then,

mrs. last full day on the QM2 hughes.


amy’s birthday!  i tried to call her a couple of times, but couldn’t reach her.

even though i still wasn’t feeling so great, we got tickets to the planetarium show in the afternoon.

we attended the morning lecture “secrets of the titanic,” which was interesting, but i can’t remember one single secret about her.

after lunch i started getting really sick, so we skipped the planetarium and didn’t do anything else.

more TV – we did watch new episodes of the “Lucia” series.  Lucia is a series of books written by E.F. Benson, which i loved and have read multiple times.  they made a series of it in 1985, and my mom had the series on VHS.  they were OK, but in 2014 they re-made a three-part series called “Mapp & Lucia” in the town of Rye, where Benson lived, and which we visited while were in the UK in 2011.  The series was great, and fun to see the place we’d been.  i don’t think they ever ran it here; you can buy the region-2 version only on amazon.

kevin started feeling bad, and instead of going anywhere to get food, we ordered room service.  we ordered caprese salad, turkey burgers and cheesecake, and they brought us a huge heap of covered dishes on trays. I mean, it took two guys to bring in all the piles of trays!

here’s the delicious cheesecake.


here’s one of the many trays, complete with coffee and tea.


the caprese salad, which we ate right there on the bed.


it was a very early night.

ok then,

mrs. almost back to the states hughes.




Crossing the Atlantic on the QM2 – Monday, August 31st, 2015

July 23, 2016

Ok, here’s the crazy thing – i have no photos of all of this day!  that’s because i started getting sick.  no fun. we did manage to do some stuff anyway. we went to an interesting talk by a gentleman named Michael Dispezio, which was called “Whales, Dolphins and other Marine Mammals.”  this must be […]

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Sailing home from Wales on the QM2 – Sunday Aug 30th, 2015

July 22, 2016

sunday morning we got up early again and started watching a fascinating documentary about Roger Ebert.  It was still chilly outside, about 57 or so. one great thing about making the transatlantic crossing on the QM2 is that we gradually set the clocks forward, or back, like we did on the way home. We walked […]

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Wales – on the QM2, Saturday Aug. 29th, 2015

July 21, 2016

We got up early, and kevin brought me tea in bed.  Nice!  We went to the breakfast buffet at about 7:30, and because it was so early it wasn’t crowded at all.   also nice.  i loved that they had fresh figs. nobody was out walking, either. it was a cold and windy morning, and […]

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Wales trip – on the Queen Mary 2, Friday, Aug. 28th, 2015

July 17, 2016

first full day of sailing!  i got tickets for the planetarium show, and kevin and i decided to go to the astronomy lecture. at a little after ten in the morning, when i was going down in the elevator to get us another round of tea/coffee in the little area near the planetarium were the […]

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Wales Trip – Wed. Aug 26th & Thurs. Aug 27th – a video

July 15, 2016

here’s a bit of video of the path in the New Forest, as well as setting sail from Southampton on the Queen Mary 2.

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Wales – setting sail on Thursday Aug. 27th, 2015

July 14, 2016

well, now it’s not wales at all anymore.  we started out at the lovely Willows B&B in Ashurst, and enjoyed a delicious breakfast. it was a lovely dining room, and i wish i’d taken a wide shot of it.   they do have a couple willows on the property. and we loaded up all our bags and took […]

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