Let's be honest, today made me a little nervous. Upon the advice of other Semester at Sea faculty we bought a VERY reasonable ticket to Southampton. We each both traveled for a total of 16 pounds. The site is called Megabus…but guess what...it is a train not a bus. So when we found that out of course it made me nervous because there isn't any room on the train for luggage. So we did our regular "nervous Nancy" thing and arrive way to early and asked around until we figured out how and where we needed to be. We got to the appropriate platform and came into the second car where we piled our luggage on seats and in the middle of a section built to seat six. Luckily the train wasn't full. Whew! My sweet Geno deserves major props for being patient with me. He is really sweet to me, he has had to deal with this for 11 years…wow!
We arrived in Southampton around 3:15pm and made it to the hotel in no time. We are staying at the Grand Harbour Hotel which is very close to the where our ship will be docked. It looks like we will be able to walk over to it when we embark on Sunday. We found out that this where the Titanic set sail…we won't think about how that turned out J (don't worry Mom). The hotel is lovely and quiet which is very appealing right now.
We had a meet and greet reception in the hotel tonight and had a chance to speak to several faculty and staff we had sailed with before and several that are new to us. Everyone seems lovely and I am sure we are going to have a fantastic voyage, but that doesn't surprise me.
After the meet and greet we walked towards the downtown area of Southampton and went to a Spanish tapas restaurant. We were so fortunate to be dinning with our Academic Dean for the Voyage, Dean David Gies! Why are we so lucky?….so many reasons. Dean David is an expert in Spanish culture, he speaks fluent Spanish and, get this, he is a KNIGHT!!!! Dean David was selected to receive one of Spain's highest honors, the Order of Isabella the Catholic. The honor celebrates his academic achievements and devotion to promoting Spanish culture. He is fantastic in so many ways and tonight he made our dining experience superb. He helped translate the menu for us and advised on what to order. The food was absolutely fantastic, it was close your eyes and taste it, good!
I forgot to tell you about our laundry. We have a lot of dirty laundry after 10 days of traveling. We wish we could do it at the hotel but they charge an exorbitant fee, for example 4 pounds ($6.80) per shirt. We probably would have spent $100 on laundry. So we called a laundry service we found online and they came to pick up our laundry tonight at 9:45 and tomorrow they will deliver it around 8am and the total will be around $30. Awesome! Sometimes things work out.