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Published: August 6th 2019
Woke up this morning, after a fitful night’s sleep, threw open the drapes and realized I was looking at my old “neighborhood” off in the distance. We are anchored in the middle of the Firth of Forth half the way between Edinburgh and Dalgety Bay. I could tell immediately by what we used to call the “field” a WWII runway which was just behind (well, NOT JUST but up the hill a way) our house.
From our bay window looking south we had an unobstructed view of Arthur’s Seat. I used to sit on the window seat (at age 9 I fit perfectly) read and stare out over the Firth (Bay) and daydream. I’m so VERY Happy to be back. I just wish Phillip, Myles & Betty (Phillips parents) were around to drop by and say hi. Phillip was my best buddy (now lives in Manchester with his family) and Betty was lost to Breast Cancer many years ago. Myles, I presume, has also gone off to his reward. After Mom passed, letters were returned.
Edinburgh holds a VERY special place in my heart. We were fortunate when Varian sent Dad here to open the Silicon Valley of the UK all those years ago. He was responsible for the manufacture of the silicon wafers (Thin Film Technology Division or as he used to say TFTD). We spent every weekend exploring Scotland. Dad could make friends with anyone, and did, so we had a wide circle of friends back then. We always kept in touch with the Vance Family. They came to visit a few times, but I don’t think Mom & Dad ever had the opportunity to come back to see them here in Scotland. I visited in 1997- that was the last time. So many feelings bubbling up at the moment. Missing Mom and Dad and wishing we were all together here to experience how Edinburgh, that ancient city, has entered the 21st
century. Oh, how she has changed.
Jenner’s is still there on Princess Street where Mom purchased her Edinburgh Crystal, which she handed down to me and I cherish. The Scott Memorial, still covered in soot, still standing – but the Ferris Wheel is something new (part of the Fringe Festival?? Uncertain). Trams?! TRAMS?! This is SO COOL. And SO NEW!! The Harvey Nichols, Louis Vuitton and Burberry stores are all new…as is the Mall where they now stand. We can’t stop progress. Edinburgh and landed square in the 21st
Century and doesn’t look a day over 200 (it could look younger if they cleaned the soot…but then the buildings might collapse)!
We had breakfast in the Grand Dining room. Christopher was overjoyed when he saw Avocado Toast on the menu. YES….he’s a toasty! So, when I mentioned they also offer poached eggs on Avocado Toast I thought he’d jump from his chair. We each ordered the Poached Eggs and Avocado Toast for breakfast – excellent. A new Menu feature which started today on Marina. In fact, the Executive Chef (not Jacques) is on board to monitor and see how everything is going. The new menu features “plant based” options. I guess Vegans have discovered cruising. Room for everyone!!
We tendered off the ship and while on the tender met 2 wonderful couples: Mark & Melanie from Richmond, VA and another couple from Florida, via NYC (no names offered). We caught the 50X bus from the dock to Prince Andrew Square in New Town, Edinburgh. Mark & Melanie were kind enough to purchase our tickets for us – we had LENGHTY conversations on the tender, and Christopher and I provided them with a lot of information. We had a lovely time chatting with them both. They are part of the 150 person group (ALL expenses paid - they only had to pay for Melanie’s air fare) – NICE GIG! Upon arrival downtown, we went our separate ways.
SO….we just left Jenner’s (it has changed over the years….BUT….the glass ceiling is still in place) – and WHO di we run into?? Jim & Linda, from the Norway portion of our cruise…they are now on Nautica, which was also in port with us today. They were docked!! Small world.
OK….The Fringe Festival IS WILD AND CRAZY! Buskers EVERYWHERE! There’s a new Musical called TRUMP, The Musical (OH…how I wanted to see that) and another one about Brexit (which is NOT popular amongst the Scotts)! The Royal Mile was IMPASSABLE! At least 90%!o(MISSING)f the street is closed to traffic and busses for the “festival”. What a spectacle. I remember fondly the Royal Tattoo which I saw YEARS ago (like 51 years ago) but don’t recall the Fringe Festival…..perhaps it isn’t as old…not certain and the internet is WAY too slow for me to look it up. NO PATIENCE!
We walked the entire Royal Mile. Actually, we did a fair amount of walking. By the time we were approaching Hollyrood House, we were famished (close to 2pm). So – we decided upon the Toll Booth Inn (1884) – we each had wonderful Fish & Chips. A lovely filet of haddock with “sauces” on the side (tartar & ketchup). The peas were NOT mushy, but firm and so very, VERY fresh and sweet. No frozen peas here!!! We washed it all down with a Guinness.
After lunch we walked to the new Parliament House. Ultra Modern design in contrast to Hollyrood, which is across the street. One either likes it or not. Me….I like it!
So, we were worried about rain, because it was supposed to “storm” today. I brought along an umbrella, which pretty much GUARANTEED there would be no rain. True to form, NO RAIN all day!!
We walked back up the hill towards the Castle, but diverted around the Train Station (Waverly). From there, we walked back to Jenner’s to use the facilities and then walked along Rose St., and George St. Then back to the square to catch the bus back to the ship. Who should we run into, but Mark & Melanie!! They spent the day drifting from café to café – and why not?? We arrived back on board the ship sometime after 4pm exhausted.
Christopher had his data on today – good thing – because the bank made an error and transferred a significant amount of money from one account into an incorrect account (to cover a rather large AMEX bill). I did it thought the app…to the correct account – according to the app, but evidently, it went to the wrong account. NIGHTMARE! They are going to fix it – first world problems. THEN….dealing with our accountant (for another situation) has been a NIGHTMARE for Christopher & His brother. SO…the phone bill is going to be ASTRONIMICAL. And, sometimes that’s just the way things are. I can’t tolerate incompetence.
The calls took a while – so it’s now time for dinner. We have earned our dinner tonight! Grand Dining Room, a bottle of Lambert Bridge Petite Verdot and away we go!!! We each split a Steak au Poivre (the waiter said it was too small to split…neither of us finished the SPLIT portion), a baked potato – which by the way was a mutant potato….HUGE, and ratatouille. All wonderful and married perfectly with the Petite Verdot. We finished the bottle. Dessert was Apple Strudel with a crème anglaise – OH. SO. GOOD!
Starting to grow dark. Nautica has left port and we are still anchored somewhere in the Firth of Forth. Dinner done, we head up to Horizons (noticing a pattern here?). Christopher FINALLY hears from the Accountant….so a few more calls and done. WE HOPE! I really, REALLY don’t want to see the phone bill. But – hey…it could be so much worse.
We are in Scotland….dammit….we haven’t had any Scotch yet….because of the festival and the crowds of people, all tastings are by reservation via some app….SO…didn’t happen here! I ordered a MacAllan, while Christopher ripped the Accountant a new one. And wouldn’t you know it…it started to rain. Well, more like POUR! And here we are watching it rain from the comfort of Horizons.
We are SO DAMNED FORTUNATE!!!
We set sail tonight at 11pm – which is soon…so I had better get this posted before WiFi goes wonky (which is pretty much all the time)!
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