My friends call me GG, I live in Basel, Switzerland where I moved from England in 2000. Before that I lived in France and Germany; and I spent considerable time in the USA and Israel. I have been working in the Logistics Industry for nearly 23 years with the same company which changed its name 4 times ever since I started. My work requires me to travel frequently which gives me the opportunity to visit many foreign countries and meet its people. Travel became a passion and through my work I became interested in cargo planes and container ships. Ocean Liners that offered a more stylish and convenient way of travel however were not on my radar until the mid 80s.
When I browse through the many websites, blogs and photo galleries available on the Internet I realise how much I missed out on an era bygone! I got first interested in the QE2 in the mid 80s when my aunt and uncle moved to the US taking the Transatlantic route on the QE2. Unfortunately my then earnings didn’t allow such extravagances so I remained confined to books and media footage for the next decade and I pretty much read everything I could find.
Some time in 2001 I discovered that my great grand parents emigrated to the States in 1911 taking a ship from Germany to New York. I was determined to retrace their route and find their immigration records on Ellis Island (which I did) and there was only one way to do it. At the same time a very good friend of my family joined Cunard as a Purser on the QE2.
My first Westbound Transat was in 2003 in her company, which added the benefit of many looks behind the scenes! It took less than the 6 days to fall in love with the ship.
In 2004 my friend transferred to the QM2 as part of the launch crew and we both travelled together on the Eastbound Maiden Voyage in tandem with the QE2. How I wished I’d been the QE2! To say the Maiden voyage was stressful, frustrating or even painful for both crew and passengers would be an understatement. Again, the looks behind the scenes were fascinating, though I was glad I was not one of those QE2 passengers whose suitcases were piled up in the pursers office of the QM2….After the QE2 experience, this was a disappointing trip and I swore never to go on the QM2 again, a vow that didn’t last long: In July 2004 I witnessed the reception of the QM2, in Hamburg which to date is for me the ultimate experience of a ship coming into port.. Since then I try to return to Hamburg every year when she comes in for her annual Transat .
I did another Westbound Transat on QE2 in 2005 and the Final Westbound Transat in October 08. It was during and following those voyages that I experienced what a friend of mine so aptly described in his introduction to his website: That the QE2 brought and is still bringing people together. I met wonderful people on all trips and forged some great relationships with other Cunardites. Ironically some of the best acquaintances I met after the trip on Facebook and other social networks.
I am still in touch with my table mates from the final WB crossing, and 2 of them joined me for the final farewell in Southampton in November 2008 when we spent a memorable day and had a great time on the boat escorting the QE2 out of the harbour. I was also able to witness her arrival in Dubai from one of the boats.
Apart from Cunard ships I have other hobbies that are important to me: Reading and collecting books, music, travel, dining, wining and writing about it. Writing is taking a lot of my time: I have been writing for my friends who do not have the possibilities to travel afar. When I travel for work I try to stay a few days extra for sightseeing, meeting locals and taking photos and entertain my friends with the travel reports. I would love to turn this into a profession.
My biggest passion however is wine: I am a wine collector (and drinker of course) and I take great pride in my wine cellar. I started writing reviews and tasting notes for a friend’s wine website and I am helping friends to build their own collection. My dream is to make a living from travel writing and to own a wine bar or store.
Following the Final QE2 Westbound Transatlantic Crossing in October 2008 I made friends with the owner of the www.cunardqueens.com websit and its sister websites and gradually I extended my support for his websites to a point where he decided I should start a blog for the Cunard Queens that ties into the websites. Before I knew it I was appointed ‘Lady-in-Waiting’ for the Cunard Queens. So here we go. It is a steep learning curve as I never blogged before. I am experimenting with layouts, styles and different ways of bringing my message across and I am expecting many changes in the first couple of months. As the Maitre D’ of the Mauretania restaurant said to me on the final Transat when he tried to convince me to give QM2 a 2nd chance: Every beginning is difficult and it takes some time to settle in – but after a while it is plain sailing!
Enough about me – the important message of my introduction is: This blog is not about me – it’s about the Cunard Queens and their people. It will live through the stories of those who travelled onboard the ships. If you have a story to tell, please get in touch with me and write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am looking forward to your feedback, comments, stories and hope to make new acquaintances through this blog!