yaaaay, we made it!  Tuesday, August 11th, we arrived at the Southampton Port.

I got up at 4:20 and looked out to see land!  very exciting!


and in 20 short minutes, there we were!


luckily, i went back to sleep until a more civilized hour.  when i got up around seven, this big boat was attached to us.  were they the fuel tanker?  i feel that maybe they were.


this was our view of southampton.


we had a leisurely breakfast; the buffet was surprisingly uncrowded.  there’s a drug-sniffing dog, i’m pretty sure!


and i think this big boat was a ferry – we watched it pull in, then turn around and zoom away again.


here are the people boarding at the crew entrance – we had seen actual crew boarding before, but i’m pretty sure these were speakers and people like that.  the one guy is carrying a briefcase.  all the crew we’d seen were wearing jeans and sweatshirts or t-shirts.




the other times we’d taken the queen mary, we’d carried our own bags off the ship, and got to disembark very early, which wasn’t really that great because it was really early.  this time we were allotted a certain time; i think ours was 10:00? and our group assembled in the queen’s room and it was all orderly and civilized and we were on solid ground by about 10:30.  nice.

we took a cab to Hertz to get the rental car we’d reserved for the entire length of our trip.  i’d furiously researched and researched other ways to do it – renting a car after our hike in wales for a much shorter time, different things like that – but it was crazy cheap to rent it roundtrip from southampton, even though we’d need it until august 27th.

hertz was about 10 minutes away, and we got our nice little white car with the steering wheel on the right side, as they do over there, which meant you had to shift gears with the stick shift in your left hand.  luckily kevin was going to do all the driving, because that seemed kind of complicated to me.  people keep asking me, “why didn’t you get an automatic?” but they don’t have so many of them, and they’re ridiculously more expensive, and kevin had driven on the right side of the road in a stick shift car, so off we went.

and from there, the rest of the day was filled with misadventure and all kinds of unexpected craziness and stress.

but more on that later.

ok then,

mrs. on solid ground hughes.