Queen Elizabeth (II) - Short Break to Hamburg

The 8th January would have been my mum's 70th birthday so I was glad of the distraction, despite it being freezing.  We had breakfast in the Britannia since we wouldn't be meeting my friend Dirk Steffen until around 9am.  My full order didn't come so we popped up to the Lido for the rest and Oskar had another bite as well.  We took a stash of fruit back to the cabin then wrapped up very warm ready to meet Dirk.  You had to show your passport inside the terminal then headed outside to the snow, rain, slush and ice.  Keeping a firm grip on one arm of both, I made sure they knew if I went over so did they so they made sure I stayed upright.  We took the ferry to where you pick up the harbour tour from.  Dirk had got us tickets through his job.  Oskar was so cold he ended up looking like a terrorist, brandishing his Cunard umbrella.  There was nowhere open so we had to trudge through the snowy streets to find somewhere to grab a bite to eat and a hot drink.  There was a lovely little cafe serving delicious cakes and hot chocolate.  

Afterwards it was back in the danger zone to find out when the harbour tour started and was told 11am so we grabbed some more food since we'd missed the first one.  One place was finally open so we had some lunch there before dashing off to the boat.  Apparently, due to weather, it was a different one.  Lovely inside but we wanted photos without the reflections in so froze on deck.  We laughed when the man doing the commentary said about "Die Queen Elisabeth und der Victoria".  As we neared her he did correctly say Queen Victoria.  Before we disembarked, Dirk tried to find out from one of the crew about these fireworks at 9.45pm they'd been told about on Vicky but we hadn't to no avail.  He'd already tried searching the internet with the same result so none of us were any the wiser.  By now I'd well and truly had enough, mainly thanks to those leaky shoes so my foot was soaked and chilled so we went by bus back to the terminal while Oskar and Dirk returned to town to find Oskar a new suitcase.  Meanwhile, at security, something was going on with my bag but they just kept staring at the screen rather than search it, holding up the queue.  In the end, after several other people looked, they let me have it, smiling, and it was later I discovered I'd left my Betty fridge magnet inside.  I'd had the same trouble at Sydney airport with my Radiance of the Seas one except that time the bag was emptied.

After snoozing a couple of hours, I went to the Golden Lion to see Patrick and caught up with some stuff on the laptop.  It was so quiet as again, people buggered off.  Oskar arrived just in time for dinner having not long got back.  It was my first time in the Britannia and food was so so.  We killed some time then wrapped up to go on deck for the sailaway.  I spotted Patrick in the Lido on my way out so went to show him a photo of the bread in the Verandah the night before.  He couldn't believe his eyes anymore than we could.  He had no idea about any fireworks either.  After a chat I left him to it since we'd see each other later.  Captain Inger came on to say we'd be off soon and there'd be fireworks by the airbus factory as we and Vicky pass.  Then she came on to tell us there was a change of plan and Vicky was going first.  That was pretty obvious since she was already moving!  We followed around 9pm.  I heard Vicky's whistle around 10pm and the fireworks began!  We gave a blast at what was meant to be the end only for another to go off.  And that was that!  

Back into the warm and the Golden Lion for Patrick.  He let me buy him a drink, while his groupie bought him another.  He decided to finish his set with Waterloo only couldn't find his lyrics.  Oskar decided to record this one but gave up when words were fluffed, lines missed and the first fluffed verse repeated as the second.  It was quite embarrassing to watch and there were numerous puzzled faces in the room.  Afterwards, his groupie decided to monopolise him and pester about some song he'd never heard of.  Worse than that, he even sang it before rabbiting on about another he'd never heard of!  Patrick was clearly annoyed because he wanted to leave but humoured the daft old git.  Eventually he shut the hell up and sat back with his wife, leaving us alone to chat.  After a looooooong and freezing day it was time for bed but not before Oskar ordered 2am room service.

The last sea day and we were up for the noon whistle.  The weather was going to be really bad so they closed the decks - how annoying!  Vicky was nowhere to be seen despite us leaving together and would be arriving in Southampton the same way.  I had lunch in the Lido then Oskar went to the Britannia.  He also went to afternoon tea.  Some had ducked under the barrier to go onto the Prom deck so we did the same.  Air conditioning is bad for you and you need fresh air.  A security guard was quick to check after spotting some of us come back in.  Oskar went to the last Friends of Dorothy of the cruise while I headed to see Patrick.  At one point I was the only one left listening to him!  Poor old Patrick.  He does his best, though I have to admit I've always thought he was better without the keyboard.  When I met him on the QE2, it was piano only, even in the Golden Lion, and first saw him with a keyboard when he got me on Jewel of the Seas. The keyboard backing track distracts or drowns him out nine times out of ten.  Anyway, Oskar appeared before the end and decided to show him a revealing photo he'd sneaked of me using his selfie stick.  Patrick reckoned I knew about it, which I didn't since he'd been waving that selfie stick around at everything and was supposed to be asleep when he did it, but enjoyed the picture nonetheless.  

Dinner in the Britannia and for once Oskar sent something back.  His potted shrimps had grit in.  I wasn't impressed at all with my dinner.  We saw Denny and Stan and invited them to the quiz then back to the cabin to begin packing until it was time to see Patrick.  Denny and Stan arrived just before the quiz and we got 9/20 this time but so did several others.  Oskar went to meet some people for a few drinks so missed Patrick's final set while Patrick had a drink bought by me.  Denny and Stan decided to stay since Stan was enjoying it so much.  Unsurprisingly, Patrick didn't play that song his groupie wanted.  He said he couldn't find it.  Once Patrick finished there were goodbyes to some people from the Isle of Wight while I got a hug and a hope to see me on another cruise soon.  More than likely since this is the third time we've been on the same ship since we split.  His groupie was disappointed not being able to monopolise him.  Denny went to get a photo with him then we all said goodnight and went to bed.

And so the 10th had arrived and the last morning before boot off.  Despite no sleep thanks to the weather and aircon giving me a terrible cold, cough and my voice was going, so got up to get photos of the ship while it was quiet and thankfully most of the lights in the rooms were still on.


© Patricia Dempsey 6th-10th January 2016
Not to be reproduced without permission