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Come sail with me on a virtual cruise on Majestic Princess to Fiji!


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HI Ellie and thanks for the invitation to travel along with you. I just started reading this today and obviously I missed the flight from Heathrow! LOL.

We will just board here in Canada and catch up. I look forward to joining you in Singapore -- one of my favourite cities. It has been 4 years since our last stop there and I am looking forward to seeing all the changes as well as familiar place.

Hope you have a good sleep before we head out to site see!

Gail

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This is a delightful and informative virtual adventure! Loved hearing the history of your cruising years ago.

The flight details were so well described, I felt like I was there with you.

We have not traveled to Singapore so are so interested in your observations.
You have done an incredible job and I look forward to following your adventure.

Thank you for taking time to post this virtual event.

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I'm really enjoying reading along.  I was on Majestic's last cruise before the Corona shutdown.  We were supposed to cruise from Melbourne Australia (where i live) to Singapore, via Malaysia, but they ended the cruise early and we all had to disembark in Perth Australia.  While onboard, we used our compensation FCC to book on Majestic again to Fiji (on this exact itinerary) in September, but alas, that has also been cancelled now.  I am looking forward to following along and interested to see the Fiji stops, some of which we've cruised to before, but others are new to me.  I will enjoy your report on Singapore, it is my favourite city in the world!  I am normally there at least once per year, it was supposed to be twice this year, but Corona put a stop to that, I hope I get back there soon after this pandemic is over.  Until then, I will live in my imagination, through your posts.  

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Like you, I am a fanatic about following a plane’s path on long flights and take great pleasure in seeing the names of places I never imagined I’d be anywhere near. I remember flying from Venice to Dubai...our flight went right along the border between Iran and Iraq, just inside Iraq but never in Iran. I’m sure there was a reason for that and I was comforted by that precision. 

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8 hours ago, MarcsSharon said:

Love following along...thank you so so much!!!

 

It’s great to have you along MarcsSharon!

 

As I said, this is my first time and its very scary - not to mention a bit traumatic trying to upload photos, some of which are on my iPad and some on my laptop.☺️ 

 

It’s really nice to know that I’m not talking to myself, too! So if you have time, chip in!

 

It gets.a bit lonely here.........

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7 hours ago, Loucat said:

This is a delightful and informative virtual adventure! Loved hearing the history of your cruising years ago.

The flight details were so well described, I felt like I was there with you.

We have not traveled to Singapore so are so interested in your observations.
You have done an incredible job and I look forward to following your adventure.

Thank you for taking time to post this virtual event.

 

Good morning, Loucat, lovely to have you join us on this virtual (and very long!) adventure.

 

I think you will enjoy Singapore, we love it more every time we return. And as I will tell you later, there is a special reason why it is close to both our hearts.......

 

I hope one day you will have the pleasure of visiting this lovely city.

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6 hours ago, mtn_couple said:

I'm really enjoying reading along.  I was on Majestic's last cruise before the Corona shutdown.  We were supposed to cruise from Melbourne Australia (where i live) to Singapore, via Malaysia, but they ended the cruise early and we all had to disembark in Perth Australia.  While onboard, we used our compensation FCC to book on Majestic again to Fiji (on this exact itinerary) in September, but alas, that has also been cancelled now.  I am looking forward to following along and interested to see the Fiji stops, some of which we've cruised to before, but others are new to me.  I will enjoy your report on Singapore, it is my favourite city in the world!  I am normally there at least once per year, it was supposed to be twice this year, but Corona put a stop to that, I hope I get back there soon after this pandemic is over.  Until then, I will live in my imagination, through your posts.  

 

Welcome, mtn_couple!

 

Glad you could make it!  We have yet to discover the delights of Melbourne, having only visited Sydney twice, but I hope that when this pandemic is over we might visit this beautiful city. I live in hopes.

 

I am so sorry to hear of the premature end to your Majestic Princess cruise, and the cancellation of your Fiji cruise. Thank goodness you got home safely.

 

She’s a lovely ship, I think one of my favourites. We have been looking at the February ‘21 Fiji cruise, but in the end felt that there is too much uncertainty, and at the moment we cannot guess whether Singapore or Sydney will want us ‘Brits’ landing, or what the islands will be like, or even if they will want us there. It’s a very sad situation for them and I feel very sorry for all those lovely friendly people who have had their main source of income pulled from under them.

 

Do please chip in if you feel able to. I hope that this report will help anyone planning to visit Singapore, Sydney or Fiji. I know how much I’ve appreciated all the tips I’ve gleaned from CC.

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8 hours ago, cnd crsr said:

HI Ellie and thanks for the invitation to travel along with you. I just started reading this today and obviously I missed the flight from Heathrow! LOL.

We will just board here in Canada and catch up. I look forward to joining you in Singapore -- one of my favourite cities. It has been 4 years since our last stop there and I am looking forward to seeing all the changes as well as familiar place.

Hope you have a good sleep before we head out to site see!

Gail

 

Morning Gail!

 

You made it! Hooray! Better late than never! 👏 

 

Hope your flight was smooth and uneventful. It’s good to have you with us.

 

Hope you aren’t too jet lagged as we’ve a busy day ahead of us!

 

Do chip in if you feel like it. Glad you, like us, have fallen in love with this city. Hope you enjoy our whistle stop tour today. 

 

 

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7 hours ago, PescadoAmarillo said:

Like you, I am a fanatic about following a plane’s path on long flights and take great pleasure in seeing the names of places I never imagined I’d be anywhere near. I remember flying from Venice to Dubai...our flight went right along the border between Iran and Iraq, just inside Iraq but never in Iran. I’m sure there was a reason for that and I was comforted by that precision. 

 

Glad to hear that I’m not the only one who watches the plane’s journey on the screens. It really is fascinating, isn’t it? 

 

This time we flew close to a lot of the Russian border, a first for us. Seeing names like Ekaterinburg was really spooky. 

 

On our previous Fiji cruise we also flew over near Iraq and Afghanistan and I have to say a shiver went down my spine as we passed near to Baghdad and Kabul. We also flew near Ukraine (though not through it) soon after the ‘plane was shot down by the Russians. I have to admit to a moment of anxiety. 

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Thank you to all those who are following. It is really good to know that someone else is out there! Do please chip in whenever you feel like it. 

 

This pandemic has meant a drastic change to all our lives and writing this account (and baking lots of cakes) has been my saviour.  Like many others, we have been self isolating since the beginning of March, and with everything I hold dear being taken away from me I have had to find a purpose in life. Once the garden was pristine, and the house gone through with a dose of salts, writing this has truly saved my sanity.

 

Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for my waistline. Sitting writing and making lots of cakes (which in my defence I have given away a fair proportion of) has, unfortunately meant a slow creep of pounds, which I must get under control. 🥴

 

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THE SINGAPORE EXPLORER PASS

 

Here is some information about the Singapore Explorer Pass which may help anyone visiting Singapore in the future. 

 

The Singapore Airlines Explorer Pass is something we learned about courtesy of Cruise Critic. I can’t remember the name of the lady, but she posted about her trip to Singapore, which I followed avidly. I really enjoyed reading her account and it gave me lots of ideas.

 

She mentioned that, if you flew with Singapore Airlines, you could purchase a special ticket which would allow you free access to several attractions. That’s one of the best tips we've ever seen. We used this ticket the last time we were in Singapore and visited the Zoo, the Jurong Bird Park, the Flyer, the Gardens and a River Cruise. This time we have more things to see.

 

These are some of the other attractions that are included in the Explorer Pass - Gardens by the Bay, National Orchid Garden, Sentosa Island of Adventure, Adventure Cove Water Park, S.E.A. Aquarium, Ola Beach Club, Segway, Madame Tussaud’s, Singapore Cable Car, Night Tour by Big Bus, Museums, plus a selection of food outlets.

 

We paid £60 each for a 2 Day Pass, but if you time it right you can squeeze in something on day 3 if you get to the attraction before the time runs out, for example, if you start using it at 10.00 am on Day 1 you could visit an attraction on Day 3 provided you are there before 10.00 am. This is because it runs for 48 hours from the time you start using it. 

 

It was a real bargain and if you should ever fly with Singapore Airlines it’s well worth doing. However, a word of caution, it’s a real mission to purchase it! It has to be done by ‘phone, and we called the airline from the UK, so I don't know if its any easier from the USA, but the call took about an hour,  all told. They are really helpful, but language can be a slight difficulty, and it’s a complicated purchase, but eventually we were successful, and we are so glad we persevered.

 

You can opt for a variety of different days but you do have to specify your start and end dates. Our receipt was a bit disconcerting as it came as a Hotel Accommodation Coupon, but all was well when we picked up the actual Passes.

 

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Day 2. Wednesday, October 10th

National Museum, Battle Box and a River Cruise

 

Good morning all you intrepid cruise adventurers. Glad to see you have all arrived safely. 

 

Now it’s time to ‘gird up your loins’ and join us for an important part of the day........ breakfast! Hope you’re feeling hungry!

 

 

DH didn't sleep well, but I did. We’re bright eyed and bushy tailed though, and eager to be out exploring. We have the days planned out and we’ve lots to do so let’s start with breakfast.

 

We step into the glass elevators and drop down to the fourth floor where the restaurant is. I never stop loving to watch from the elevator as we glide up and down this amazing atrium. 

 

The restaurant is huge, and circles the enormous atrium.

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We are greeted politely and shown to a table. It’s a self service buffet and the range of foods available, we think, is outstanding.

 

There is a lot of Asian food, of course, but also an omelette station where you can get fried eggs and pancakes.

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You can order porridge (oatmeal) which we really enjoy, but the one thing I really miss this time is that now there is no real bacon, just turkey bacon which is highly coloured bright pink, and gross.

 

But even worse are the sausages which remind me of those little cocaine filled condoms which they extract from drug traffickers on that programme called ‘Border Force.‘ I’m afraid I can’t bear to even look at them! Apparently, since the last time we were here the kitchen has gone completely Halal so no pork sausages or real bacon.

 

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The pink turkey bacon, yuk!

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The ‘Border Force’ sausages....

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79658F48-3A01-4FE8-AC18-7D05634D722D.thumb.jpeg.3e7498a20a8e9ea017b8ec235471256b.jpegBut there are plenty of other delicious things, and the fruit is amazing. They also have little Danish pastries and a range of cold meat etc. including smoked salmon.

 

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MORE BREAKFAST PHOTOS

 

BD6247BC-6C33-41F7-81A8-63452B38DBB3.thumb.jpeg.a5a9b1bf95cab192e16fdd67fc1fd5f5.jpeg

Juices

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Coffee and tea

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Cereals101A19DC-20CD-4056-A253-F30733DF8CB2.thumb.jpeg.5a476a85a927b427c5199b78b92463d8.jpeg

Warm croissants

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Many different types of bread and rolls

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Butter, spreads, marmalade and jams (jelly)

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Wonderful fresh fruit

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AND THERE’S MORE.....6ED82FD2-959A-4FC2-A3E6-1F502CC31536.thumb.jpeg.37e2e46cade881fb8fc18255f44b8a44.jpeg

Muffins

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Cold meats and smoked salmon

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Salads

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Here is a station where you can drop noodles into hot and water to heat them up

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Rice dishes

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Toppings such as nuts, seeds and dried fruits

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FINALLY.......

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Scrambled eggs and baked beans

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A huge range of hot Asian food316007DE-12AA-4ACD-AF00-1E459E1284D6.thumb.jpeg.42d1d67458ac0e5a0c90cbfdb7f8dfeb.jpeg

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Well, I hope that now you are fully replete and have managed to find something to sustain you through the morning.

 

We will meet you in the Atrium in 15 minutes ready for our day. Don’t forget sun cream, comfortable shoes, water, a hat if you have one, and of course, your camera!

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WHY SINGAPORE MEANS SO MUCH TO US


Before we start our visit to the museum I must explain why Singapore has a special place in our hearts, and hopefully, that will explain our choice of places to visit.

 

The reason we first came to Singapore, several years ago was that during the Second World War my father-in-law was stationed there at RAF Changi. He was captured by the Japanese when Singapore fell, and spent several years in prisoner of war camps, along the infamous Burma railway, where he was one of the few survivors.

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He was a courageous man who talked little about his experiences, but we know he witnessed the brutality of what man can do to man on a daily basis, and he battled malaria over 20 times. 

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He rarely spoke about his time on the Burma Railway, but whilst a prisoner, he kept a secret list of all of his comrades who died, and we know that he was deeply affected by what he saw and experienced.

 

A fragment of one of the lists of men who died in his camp, which my FIL hid in a piece of bamboo, at great danger to himself. Had it been discovered he would have been subjected to brutal punishment, or even death.

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One of the Camp Guards

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The men kept up morale by organising concerts, and this is one of the ‘programmes’ they produced, under difficult circumstances.

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My FIL was away from home for 6 and a half years, and of those, more than 3 years were in Japanese captivity. His wife spent long periods not knowing where or how her husband was. They were allowed to occasionally send one of these pre-printed postcards to her.8E507EE6-D2E7-4835-A710-DAC7D0971801.thumb.jpeg.f91f23c54cce367fc8555ee669083d8d.jpeg

Just before the camp was liberated by the Americans, he fell ill with the cerebral form of Malaria which could have finished him off, but thanks to the Americans, who dropped antibiotics and malaria treatment, he survived. He always spoke highly of the part the Americans played in ending the war in the Far East.

 

Unlike many, he was very grateful for the dropping of the atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as he understood that without it, the war would have lurched on, with thousands more casualties, as the Japanese were not going to give up without a fight to the bitter end. It is likely that he, too, would have become a casualty of war.

 

We also thank the Americans for saving his life and the life of many of his comrades. In fact he lived until he was 93, an extraordinary achievement for someone who had experienced the brutality meted out on the Burma railway.

 

We had always wanted to visit the place where FIL was captured and to visit the museum, which we did twice but at the moment its closed for refurbishment. So this time we book the Battle Box Tour to give us a greater understanding of the fall of Singapore. I know that there were many brave Australians who also suffered at the hands of the Japanese, and I hope that the museum etc will be of interest to you, too. 

 

We have also visited Pearl Harbour in Hawaii, and stood on the decks of the Big Mo, the Battleship Missouri, in the self-same spot where the Japanese surrendered, so we came full circle.

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Thank you for posting this heartfelt story. Very moving and in some respect it’s the forgotten war in the UK.

We celebrate VE Day but little of VJ Day.

 

BTW yourself and DH still managed to walk after all that breakfast?😂

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26 minutes ago, Foggyzx9r said:

Thank you for posting this heartfelt story. Very moving and in some respect it’s the forgotten war in the UK.

We celebrate VE Day but little of VJ Day.

 

BTW yourself and DH still managed to walk after all that breakfast?😂

 

Thank you Foggy (I hope I may call you that 😏)
 

You are so right. They were the forgotten. FIL eventually opted to fly home, and over India one of the engines developed an oil leak and the windscreen was covered in oil. At that point the Indian captain panicked, but FIL told him I’ve not come through all this to end up in the Indian Ocean so pull yourself together, which thankfully he did.

 

He was a brave man who had, as a young teenager, been shipwrecked off the coast of Africa whilst in the Merchant Navy on the ‘butter run’ from NZ. So he was definitely a survivor!

 

Yes, it was a struggle but we managed it, and even filled a doggy bag (to go box) to sustain us on the long journey back to our room....🤣

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Singapore Museum

 

Glad to see you are all assembled in the Atrium. Hope you all slept well and enjoyed breakfast. 😀

 

Today we are going to the National Museum of Singapore. We have downloaded a taxi app called ‘Grab’ (like Uber) and when we are ready at the door DH calls for a taxi which arrives within a couple of minutes. It’s incredibly cheap and efficient and is now our preferred method of transport round the city. The drive costs just $6 S.

 

The museum is set in the most wonderful glistening white building in the colonial style, but inside it has a huge modern extension.

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We enter through the main doors into a circular hall which has a soaring ceiling topped by a dome.

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We show our passes and we’re on our way to the exhibits. The one we really want to see is about the history of Singapore.

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One of the exhibits in the entrance way which shows some of the things Singapore traded.

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The National Museum is simply wonderful. It has rooms with different exhibitions in them which are interactive and really informative. We had no idea how the Singaporeans suffered at the hands of the Japanese. They were treated cruelly, and starved of food. It’s fascinating to see how Singaporeans lived in kampungs, where different cultures mixed and lived amicably side by side. There are exhibitions which show how children played, where they went to school, what they ate, what they wore.

 

When the Japanese invaded the island they tried to eradicate all evidence of Singapore’s past. It was renamed ‘Syonan‘ or ‘Brilliant South.’ The Union Jack was replaced by the Japanese flag and buildings such as hospitals and cinemas were given Japanese names. They even adjusted the clocks forward an hour and a half to coincide with Tokyo time. But despite the occupation the Singaporeans showed wonderful courage, resilience, and resourcefulness.

 

We make our way up a flight of stairs and onto a landing leading to the first exhibits.

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3 hours ago, PescadoAmarillo said:

Reading your poignant story about your FIL and Changi, I was reminded of Rosamunde Pilcher’s Coming Home, which is one of my favorite books.  Have you read it?  With your interest in Singapore and WW2, you might very much enjoy it. 

 

Thank you for that suggestion. I will certainly take a look at the book. It sounds interesting.👍

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Our first exhibition is all about life in Singapore in the 1950s. 

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Before the 1960s, when the high-rise Housing and Development Board flats were people lived in kampungs. Living conditions in these kampungs was generally poor, lacking both proper sanitation and water and electricity. Toilets were shared and water came from wells and standpipes located a distance from the village. FDC5D5C0-E566-44CF-A68D-914278B37FEC.thumb.jpeg.a62730937b8d0a78c21830cdaea4df92.jpeg 

Life in these kampungs was uncertain and often unsafe as floods and fires were common. Houses were often made of attap or wood and were highly inflammable, so whole kampungs could be razed to the ground.

 

However, the people of the kampungs helped and looked out for each other, and there was a strong sense of community amongst the different ethnicities.

 

This uniform belonged to a young  man whose mother encouraged him to spend more time on his studies in order to become a postman, which was considered ‘a decent job.’

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Typical snacks and sweet treats

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School Uniforms

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Games children played in the kampongs

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Bicycles were an essential means of transport250365BD-0D69-4B40-BDF2-7B23478F8805.thumb.jpeg.06aa8fe4db9ca683116a57f406b6a24e.jpeg

 

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Life as an amah and the fall of Singapore   

We move on to a room which explains about the life of an amah. These women, mainly from the Pearl River Delta of China, were hired by rich families. They not only looked after the children, but they also cooked, did the laundry and acted as chaperones when required. Many arrived in Singapore after the collapse of the silk industry, seeking employment. They often stayed with the family for decades.

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They had few possessions, just the hair oil they used every day, a ceramic pillow and an enamel wash basin. Most underwent a ceremony, sor hei, where they took an oath to remain unmarried and celibate. 

Fashion of the period - for the rich, only of course!

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We move on to a room which describes Singapore after the fall. I have to admit that we had no idea that the general population of the island were so badly treated, nor that they underwent such hardships.

 

During the occupation there were severe food and medicine shortages which led to widespread malnutrition and disease. In 1944 there were nearly 48,000 deaths. Common ailments were malaria, dysentery, fever and diarrhoea. Their diet consisted mainly of tapioca and sweet potatoes but these were low in protein and fat but high in starch. Beri beri was rife due to Vitamin B deficiency.

 

The room is very atmospheric and contains quotes from people at the time, which are very moving.

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We have enjoyed our visit, but now its time for something to eat. We walk through the new part of the museum, and find a place for lunch.

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We walk across this bridge to the newer part of the museum.70FAE176-926A-485F-9C7D-86D3F69DF0A6.thumb.jpeg.7709efdb034231ee69f926c58482dde3.jpeg

Here, old meets new in a stunning vaulted hall.

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Below us we spy what looks like a cafe so we make our way down the escalator to investigate.

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We pass this on the way. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Time for lunch!

I’m sure all you intrepid cruise adventurers are feeling peckish, so let’s stop for lunch at this cafeteria at the centre of the building. It’s a lovely place to eat, with soaring glass windows and freshly cooked food at reasonable prices. There’s even chocolate lava cake.....

 

So find a seat, sit down, and peruse the menu. You deserve a break after all that history.

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Now, if none of that takes your fancy there is a ‘posher’ restaurant downstairs called ‘Flutes.’  But don’t be too long as the Battle Box Tour is waiting!

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