We had to be up early this morning to disembark the Marco Polo. When we looked out of our window, we could see the ship making her way slowly into Leith, the cruise terminal which acts as the gateway to Edinburgh, capital of Scotland. We could see the Royal Yacht Britannia at her permanent mooring nearby.
We had to vacate our cabin by 7.30am and then wait around the ship to be called to disembark. Therefore it was not surprising that the self-service buffet on Deck 7 aft was absolutely crowded. There were no seats inside and very few outside. We got our breakfast and sat at a table which had a couple of empty seats, but we soon found out why – it was the smokers’ area. So we had to put up with inconsiderate people lighting up their fags and breathing their noxious fumes over us as we were trying to eat.
Once we’d had our breakfast we went up to the very top deck where they had put out some sun loungers, so we decided to make the most of our last couple of hours on board and enjoy the sunshine. I am currently reading The Girl Who Played with Fire by Steig Larsson, the second volume in the “Millennium” trilogy. I read a couple of chapters before we decided to go back inside, as the sun was quite hot and we didn’t have any suntan lotion.
At around 9.45am we were called to disembark. We walked down the gang-plank for the final time and boarded the bus for the short journey into Edinburgh city centre. We were due to spend the day here before the bus would leave, at 4.00pm, to take us back to Newcastle and our waiting car.
The bus slowly made its way through the busy streets of the Scottish capital before dropping us off in Waterloo Square, just off Princes Street. We had a look around, went into the shops and basically just spent the day at leisure. We could see Edinburgh Castle perched high up on its hill, along with the seating and scaffolding which was already being erected ready for the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in August.
We walked along and sat on a bench in the park, watching the world go by. Due to the unseasonably warm weather, many people were dressed in summer clothes and the ice cream kiosks were doing a roaring trade.
Last time we’d been here in Edinburgh (last August, for the Tattoo), we’d had lunch at a really nice Italian restaurant on Dublin Street, so we decided we’d go there. We looked all over for the restaurant and eventually found it, but it was under new management and was now a Scottish-themed restaurant rather than Italian. We decided, instead, to go to the “Conan Doyle” pub, where we’ve been once before, for some haggis, tatties and neeps. 🙂
We passed a pleasant hour in the pub then wandered around some more, just killing time until we could get the bus back home. Whilst it was nice to be in Edinburgh on such a fine day, part of us just wished we could have gone straight home, and got ourselves sorted out ready for work in the morning. 🙂
The bus arrived on time, then off we went back to Newcastle. We collected the car and were back in the house in time to watch Coronation Street at 7.30pm.
So ended a really unexpectedly-good mini cruise round the Highlands and Islands on a little old ship with a charm all of its own, with the weather having been incredibly kind to us. 🙂