Loading Map...

Edinburgh, freedom at last!

Written on: Saturday June 21st, 2008

A journal entry from: Exploring the Baltic Sea by Yacht

Our arrival in Edinburgh also meant the end of our first guest trip, so of course the whole crew was ecstatic! We were all very tired after ten long days of guests onboard, so our gracious captain gave us two days off to explore the city.

The first evening the captain and I wandered around the neighbourhood of Leith, and found a nice restaurant for some good food and a pint. As usual, most of the crew went out for a big night afterward, but I had an early night so I wouldn't sleep through my days off.

We started our first morning with a tour of the Royal Yacht Britannia, which was, coincidentally, docked right in front of us. The tour was really interesting to us, I think particularly because we work on a yacht as well. Britannia is much much bigger, of course, but it's very modest, as far as yachts go ? not quite what you'd expect for boat hauling British Royalty all over the world. We learned a lot of interesting facts about the yacht that I won't bore everyone with now, but there are some definite points of interest:
The yacht was crewed by about 300 men while the Queen was on board.
There is only ONE double bed on the whole yacht, and it's in the 'Honeymoon Suite? where Princess Di and Prince Charles spent their honeymoon.
It took three hours to set the tables in the dining room for dinner (and I thought my table decoration duties for my yacht were intense!) and they had to use a ruler to make sure EVERYTHING was perfectly aligned.
and of course, being the 'laundry bitch' aboard our yacht and having to do laundry for 11 crew members plus guests each day, including napkins and table cloths, I thought I had it bad. The laundry room aboard Britannia sometimes reached 45 degrees C because of all the dryers and the hot temperatures outside (I guess I can't complain anymore while I iron for 8 hours a day in my air conditioned room below sea level with a flat screen tv mounted on the wall, can I?)

Anyway, enough about boats. We're all a little sick of boats by now, aren't we? Four of us caught a bus (with hideous tartan upholstery ? overdoing the Scottish theme a little, don't you think?) to the center of town. As soon as we stepped off the bus I was immediately struck by how beautiful this city is! It's truly stunning. We walked around through the park near the center, and made our way up to the castle. By the end of a couple hours, everyone was feeling famished, and a little toured out, so we found a nice pub on a corner for some food, and of course, a pint or two. After a few hours we headed back to the boat to call it a night.

The next day I got up early to escape (I should explain: I prefer exploring new cities alone, that way I get to see exactly what I want, and have a break from the people I live and work with in a tiny tin can we like to call a boat). I began up near the castle, exploring the area near the 'Royal Mile' in the old town. The architecture in this city is amazing!!! Everything is so old, there is so much history here! It creates a really special atmosphere, and of course together with the sun shining, it certainly helped Edinburgh make a lasting impression on me. I had a lovely day of wandering down tiny alleys, winding staircases and into small, interesting shops. I did a bit of shopping as I went, searching for my piece of jewellery from Scotland or a special book. I found the latter, and decided to grab a bite to eat in a cafe nearby.

After lunch, I walked down the Royal Mile towards Holyrood Abbey and the park. I took a bunch of photos, enjoyed the scenery and decided to hit the main street for some shopping on my way home. To top off a perfect solo day, I went to the cinema and watched a film I had been trying to see several times before (with no luck until today). An excellent ? and well deserved - weekend!