Monday, August 10, 2009

Edinburgh, Scotland

This morning we are in the North Sea on our way to Rotterdam,
Netherlands. That means for us packing! This has been a short cruise
for us, only two weeks and a few days. It has been enjoyable (as have
all of our cruises) but we are looking forward to the next phase of this
trip.

Yesterday we were in Queensferry, the port city for Edinburgh. During
the day we took a trip to see the Falkirk Wheel, a engineering marvel
shown in the photo. It is used to connect two canals at different
levels. In the past the two canals had been connected by a series of
about 10 locks to raise and lower boats between the two canals and it
took a few hours. The wheel, built in 2000 and opened in 2002, takes
boats and its canal water and raises (or lowers) the boats in about four
and a half minutes. It is quite a deal.

In the same area is remnants of the Antonine Wall that I was anxious to
see. In the past I had seen Offa's Dike, a dirt dike separating the
ancient kingdom of Mercia and Wales, and Hadrian's Wall, separating
Roman-Britain and Scotland so I wanted to see what was left of the
Antonine Wall. This wall was constructed about 124 AD and it is north
of Hadrian's Wall and, unlike Hadrian's Wall, it is a dirt wall rather
than a brick and stone wall. It was an attempt to extend the Roman
presence in Britain further north. Not much of the wall is left as it
passes through people's back yards but at least we were there to see
it. We were going to see the location of a Roman fort (the fort is long
gone) but Nancy couldn't keep up so we begged off. But it was a good walk.

Before dinner there was a Scottish show including pipers, drums, dancers
and the like. It was 'standing room only' in the Rembrandt Lounge
unlike some of the shows during the cruise. Then in the dining room
there was a ceremony to 'bring in the Haggis.' Haggis is a traditional
Scottish concoction of sheeps' parts and oatmeal (and other unknown
things) and people actually eat it. I have had it in the past and it is
one of those that it is only necessary to try it once!

As noted earlier today is packing day and tomorrow we will be leaving
the ship and will spend four days in Rotterdam. Our hotel in Rotterdam
- the Grand Tulip Centre - has wifi facilities so we can continue
documenting this trip.

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