Thursday, June 12, 2008

Edinburgh

7/2012 Update:  a series of blog entries from a Norway cruise I was fortunate enough to take in the Summer of 2008. Although it feels funny to have relayed trip updates via a blog, it was a pre-Facebook way of telling friends/family about my travels.

I'm writing this as we head back out to sea after spending the day in Edinburgh.  I'll spare you (and the ship's bandwidth-challenged satellite Internet) another day-of-the-week floor mat.  The ship rolled more last night as we sailed.  Nothing I couldn't sleep through, but I was reminded once again that we're still on a massive ocean-going vessel.

This morning, we got aboard a smaller boat to go ashore for our scheduled excursions for the day.  Once again, we boarded a tour bus and had a good 45 minute drive to the first of the three castles we'd be visiting today.  The first one was Linlithgow Palace.  This castle, parts of which go back 6-700 years, is now basically a ruin, but enough of it is intact that we could see how it might have looked in the medieval days.  The castle is also known due to it being the birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots.  The tour of the castle was fascinating and the small village that surrounds it very nice.  Here's a shot of my folks and me in the interior of the castle.


From there, it was back to the bus for the trip to Rosslyn Chapel.  This place gets loads of visitors every year due to it being a setting for The DaVinci Code.  The place was simply amazing and has a very interesting history.  Though the guy who spoke about the place was very good, I could have used some more time to really look at all the detail.  I didn't really get any good pictures from here because they forbid photography in the chapel.  So instead, I'll share this photo of a dog near Linlithgow.  Hey, I could have taken a picture of the Costco I saw on the way back (hmm, bulk quantities of haggis!).


From there, we headed back to Edinburgh to meet up with Bruce, Carol, and the boys to tour Edinburgh Castle, which sits atop an extinct volcano in the city.  I didn't get a good picture of the whole place (it's very large), but got some inside.



After that, we had some Scottish food at a pub near the very touristy area of the city, which was good.  I resisted the urge to buy some expensive Scotch whiskey, although there were a number of malts I've never seen before.  The, it was back to the ship to hang out before bed, which involved watching a bad movie in one of the theaters, which reminded me of a classroom on the U of M campus.  Nicer seats, worse projection...  One of the things I've noticed here is how this ship has the main officers/management and the rest of the staff.  The officers/management are Dutch and the rest of the staff, including all the food service workers and other behind-the-scenes staff, are from Indonesia.  Indonesia is a former Dutch colony, so this makes sense.  Still, it's interesting how something like this has managed to hold on today.  The dividing line between the Dutch and the Indonesians is quite clear. 

Tomorrow, we're at sea on our way to Norway.  I head there's a rip-roaring game of Bingo going on in one of the lounges...

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