The second port of call for my British Isles cruise on the Royal Princess was Edinburgh, Scotland. (The first port of call was Le Havre, France, but since we opted for the Normandy shore excursion, I’m saving that port for Veteran’s Day week.)
Edinburgh was one of our two tender ports, so we anchored at South Queensferry, then got on the ship’s tenders or a local boat for a short ride to and from shore. That day, the crew members who saw us off and took photos were dressed in Hogwarts-style robes. (They often dressed up in costumes appropriate to the port of call.) Our motorcoach awaited for the tour of Edinburgh and a stop at majestic Edinburgh Castle. First we drove through Edinburgh’s Georgian New Town, built in the 18th century. I love the clean symmetry of Georgian architecture.
Then we came to Edinburgh’s Old Town and drove as far up the hill as possible toward the castle. Then it was time to get out and hoof it on up to the entrance. Some of the people on the bus were unable to go any further, and there was little help for the disabled. (From what I can tell, the UK doesn’t have a law requiring access for disabled people like we do in the States.) I’ll admit that it was quite a hike up to the castle. The Medieval Scots believed in holding the high ground.
The tour guide told a story of how the castle was once taken, thanks to a young soldier who had once been stationed there and new a back way down the cliffs which he had used to visit his girlfriend in town. He showed the attackers the way up the cliff and they surprised the garrison and captured it. Love stories like that.
The city was crowded with tourists so it was slow going through the castle. However, the line to see the Crown Jewels moved pretty quickly, so we got to see the crown and sceptre. The views from the castle are amazing.
My favorite part of the castle is probably the dog cemetery. Yep, for reals, they set aside a spot where the residents of the castle can bury their loyal canine companions.
The Scots love their dogs, and all of Edinburgh loved Greyfriars Bobby, a little Skye terrier who remained loyal to his master after death. For fourteen years he slept by his owner’s grave in Greyfriars Kirkyard every night until his own death in 1872 and became something of a mascot for the people of the city. There’s a statue of him in front of a pub of the same name. I saw the Disney film years ago and loved it.
I was on the wrong side of the bus to get a good picture, so here’s a closeup of the statue, courtesy of BigStockPhoto.com.
After the tour we had lunch at the Hawes Inn in South Queenferry before taking the tender back to the Royal Princess.
Next stop: Inverness.