Sunday, September 8, 2013

Edinburgh, Scotland

Our cruise-ship Ocean Princess was beginning to feel a lot like home.  We were about to begin our 6th day sailing around from England, on around to Ireland, and on to Scotland.  Each busy day when we returned from our sight-seeing adventures it was nice to return to familiarity,  good food,  and the comfort of our surroundings.

Today we would not be on land at all.  We were beginning our first full day "at sea."  We would be sailing up through the Irish Sea all day, on around the top of Scotland, where we would then move into the North Sea.  We would sail around and down, where we would pull into the port of Rosyth, Scotland the following morning. 

Today my husband attended his continuing education class as we began our day "at sea."  It was so beautiful and peaceful to look out at the "Irish Sea"  as we traveled along.  It was a little chilly to sit out on the balcony, but it was nice to bundle-up and stand looking out over the peacefulness of the waters.

Irish Sea

As we were traveling along,  most of the time we had 
the coast of Scotland in sight.

The ship provides a TV channel where you can follow the progress of the ship by looking at the map.   At this point,  in the below photo,  you can see the ship is right there at the top of Scotland on the left,  just getting ready to round Cape Wrath.

Photo of  TV,  showing map of ship location.

In the below photo I went to the balcony and snapped a picture of the same spot we were seeing on the TV.  If you look carefully,  you can see the lighthouse at the top of Cape Wrath,  which was built in 1828.   That is a photo of the very top of Scotland.  I asked Mr. Google about Cape Wrath and he said the area is now almost unpopulated.

I was not able to get a closer photo of that lighthouse at the tip end of the Scottish coast,  so I checked with Mr. Google and found the below photo.

The below  photo is from the Internet.  The lighthouse at Cape Wrath, Scotland

We continued sailing into the night arriving at the port of Rosyth, the next morning.  Rosyth is known as the gateway to the city of Edinburgh.  We boarded the tour-bus for a 20 minute drive into Edinburgh where we began our tour.  I had heard of Scotland all my life and it was really exciting to actually be here.

Driving from the port of Rosyth into Edinburgh on the tour-bus.
See the "bus" lane on the left.  There were so many tour-buses in Edinburgh.
Again, it feels strange to drive on the left side of the highway.

 Crossing over on one bridge looking across at another bridge.

Seeing a little Scottish countryside in the below photo.

Driving into Edinburgh the buildings look similar to Ireland and England.

Edinburgh was full of tour-buses and tourists.

The tour-buses were lined up as far as the eye could see.

Below is a photo of the memorial to the Duke of Wellington for his victory over the French at the Battle of Waterloo in 1816.  This horse was a special favorite of the Duke's and was ridden throughout the whole Battle of Waterloo by the Duke.  The horse was unflinching during the battle even with all of the gunfire.

The horse, Copenhagen,  was 26 years old when he died,  and was buried with full military honors at the Duke's country estate at Stratfield Saye, England.

 Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland and is the second largest city in Scotland with Glasgow being the largest.  The population in Edinburgh is almost 500,000.

Our tour-bus drove up a mountain so we could look out over the city of Edinburgh.

We passed by this pretty lake when we drove up over the city.
There were beautiful swans swimming in that lake.

Edinburgh is considered to be one of the best places to live in Scotland and is successful in attracting over one-million overseas visitors a year.  I can surely believe those figures as we walked with the crowds along the historic Royal Mile on our way to visit Edinburgh Castle.

From our tour-bus I was unable to get a good distance photo of Edinburgh Castle.  
The next two photos are from the Internet,  showing the castle from a distance.

The castle stands upon the rocks of an extinct volcano which is estimated to have risen some 350 million years ago.  The castle itself was built around 1130 and is over 800 years old.  It is regarded as a world heritage site.  The castle has been home to the Kings and Queens of Scotland while they were in the city.

The castle is a very popular tourist attraction and shows an amazing glimpse into the past.

 Portcullis Gate

St. Margaret's Chapel
The oldest building in the castle and in Edinburgh.  Dates back to 1124-1153 during the reign of King David I, who built it as a private chapel for the royal family.

Yes, in the below photo is the part of the castle where the crown, sceptre and sword used in the coronation of Mary Queen of Scots are displayed.  As with most historic buildings there were no photos allowed inside the castle.

It was incredible to have visited the very rooms where Mary Queen of Scots lived,  and even see the room where her son James VI, the future King of Scotland, England and Ireland was born.

The Royal Palace

The "Great Hall" was the main place of state assembly in the castle.  The Great Hall is still sometimes used for ceremonial occasions.

The below building is called The Scottish National War Memorial 
and is housed within the walls of the castle.

Looking out over the city of Edinburgh from inside the walls of the castle.

Yes, they had a lot of steps to climb within the castle walls.
We got our exercise.

As we were leaving the castle we walked through the site where a series of performances known as the Edinburgh Military Tattoo would take place later in the evening.  The Tattoo is a huge event every August in Edinburgh, featuring performers from around the world.  The performance during the week attracts an audience of around 217,000 people and is broadcast around the world.

We were wondering why the city seemed unusually crowded and when we heard about the Tattoo performance we realized this was probably the reason.

Below is an Internet photo showing the Tattoo performance.  We wished we could have attended.

Leaving the area along The Royal Mile, walking back to our tour-bus.

What an amazing adventure we had just experienced visiting an area which has been the site of so much interesting history for hundreds of years.

In the below photo is the view we saw from the tour-bus window as we traveled back toward the ship.   It had been such a beautiful afternoon.

Tomorrow we will enjoy our second day "at sea" before arriving back in Dover, England and the end of our cruise-ship adventure.

I hope you come along with us next week as we sight-see in and around the beautiful, historic city of London, England.

Wishing you a wonderful beginning of the week with many blessings, wherever you may be.

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