Holland America Lines Cruise - Norse Legends & Northern Isles - 2018

August 6 - 8 - At Sea and South Queensferry (Edinburgh)

August 6 - At Sea - The Koningsdam continued our northwest on the North Sea. We pass our time on our sea days by reading, eating, swimming (Ann), walking the promenade deck, playing rummy tiles, and going to talks and lectures. Today's talks centered on our North Atlantic tours and discovering South Queensferry and Edinburgh. The usual dinner in the main dining room on sea days is with "Gala Attire". In past ages this was called formal dinner with women wearing formal gowns with lots of jewelry and men wearing tuxedos. A few passengers still dress up, but most wear nicer-than-usual clothes. The menus are enhanced with special selections such as steak and lobster or special cuts of meat. We decided to bypass the main dining room and eat in the Culinary Arts Center.

The Culinary Arts Center is designed so that you can watch chefs preparing your meal with a master chef explaining what's going on. Apparently that concept is for special evenings because we ordered several appetizers and entrees from a menu. All the food was excellent and very filling. The service was outstanding, too, and it was quiet. To get a better idea of this restaurant and others on the Koningsdam, click on this link.

August 7 - South Queensferry (Edinburgh) - We anchored at South Queensferry, Scotland on the Firth of Forth at 8:00. Our ship would not fit under the Forth Bridge so we had to use tenders to get to shore. Although shuttle busses were available to take passengers into Edinburgh, Ann and I decided to explore South Queensferry instead. We were scheduled to go to Edinburgh in the evening. It was a cool cloudy day with wet streets from a previous rain. We walked along the shore for about 1/4 mile past a dormant traveling carnival until we reached the edge of town. The commercial area was on the main street and was no more than 1/4 mile. There were bakeries, cafes, pubs, shops and very old buildings. I thought that we might stop in a pub for a pint and fish and chips, but it was way too early by the time we reached the end of town. I tried to walk slowly on the way back to the tender dock, but that didn't work either. So we went back to the ship and ate lunch there.

After an early in the Lido Market, we took a tender onto shore and were loaded onto busses for a drive into Edinburgh to go to the Military Tattoo. From our drop-off spot we were lead through the narrow winding streets up to the Royal Mile and onward to the the queue letting us into the stands below the Edinburgh Castle where we joined several hundred other ticket holders for the show. The queue was very long and moved slowly, but we got our our nosebleed seats in plenty of time. The show salutes the Scottish military and highlights several bagpipe ensembles. It also has an international flavor with groups from around the world performing. There was a lot of precision marching in formation and a lot of bagpipes playing. The finale had all of the bands marching together with fireworks exploding over the castle. It was very exciting and very worthwhile going to.

We got back to the ship after midnight.

August 9 - South Queensferry (Edinburgh)

I thought that I was smart by adding a walking tour app to my iPhone. With it in my pocket, Ann and I took the tender to shore and caught one of the shuttle busses into Edinburgh. Once that I turned on the app and started to follow it, I knew that we were in for a frustrating day. The window was too small to follow the dot on my screen. People were wondering why we were going in tight circles. We found the first two sights, but after that we were lost. I saw the castle ahead up the hill, so we climbed to it to get reoriented. This put us in the area where we were last night.

We started walking down the Royal Mile and immediately became swallowed by huge crowds of tourists who were there to see the sights and to watch the street performers who were on all of the corners. We found some respite at the old parliament buildings but then were swallowed up again when we got to the main street. The scenic walk was not working out well. We were getting hungry for lunch and I was determined to find a good pub for a pint and something authentic to eat. We used Google Maps to find Grassmarket and Maggie Dickson's Pub. This was after several wrong turns and misdirections. I can't remember what we ate, but the beer was tasty.

We made it back to our shuttle which drove us into Queensferry. The tender got us back to the ship. Dinner was in the main dining room.

© 2016 Robert N Lynn

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