Norway (Day 16, Part 1)

July 3

Edinburgh, Scotland

Scotland, like Norway, was a country of first impression (meaning, I ain’t never been there before).  And because it was a matter of concern among the curious minds of the Fat Boys Walking Club:  “Phonetically, Edinburgh is pronounced ed-in-bruh.  We’ll often hear tourists adopting slight variations of this, sometimes with an emphasis in the ‘gh’ – somewhat similar to how you would pronounce Pittsburgh. Others will be aware of the silent ‘gh’ but overcompensate to Edinboro – I expect this is down to people hearing the word pronounced by Scottish people who roll their Rs” (from the Google machine).

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[There it is – our first sighting of mainland Great Britain since a visit to London, well, over 20 years ago (I’m just a small town person of modest means).  Ahead, the Forth Bridge, a cantilever railway bridge across the Firth of Forth in the east of Scotland 9 miles (14 kilometres) west of central Edinburgh.  It is considered as a symbol of Scotland (having been voted Scotland’s greatest man-made wonder in 2016), and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Construction of the bridge began in 1882 and it was opened on 4 March 1890.  The bridge spans the Forth between the villages of South Queensferry and North Queensferry and has a total length of 8,094 feet (2,467 m).  When it opened it had the longest single cantilever bridge span in the world, until 1919 when the Quebec Bridge in Canada was completed.  It continues to be the world’s second-longest single cantilever span, with a span of 1,709 feet (521 m) (Wikipedia).]

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[Ed-in-bruh ahead . . . ]

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[A little history before going ashore.  The gist of which it’s always good to be king . . . ]

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[But one would not want to become a peasant or a serf on the flip side . . . ]

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[We tendered in from what seemed to be an incredibly long way offshore . . . ]

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[I’d hate to have to swim there . . . ]

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[But we eventually made it . . . ]

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[As usual, be ready to be assaulted by the usual tourist stuff . . . ]

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[The Super may have thought about it, but no she didn’t ask . . . ]

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[And, of course, other things one should know about Scotland . . . ]

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[Our Viking host made sure everyone was on the right bus for the right tour . . . ]

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[We were on the “Royal Yacht Britannia and Ultimate Edinburgh” tour, an all-dayer from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm . . . ]

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[We’re busing through Edinburgh to the port of Leith, home of the Royal Yacht . . . ]

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[Something about “Purves” being the one for your final send away . . . ]

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[This is Fettes College . . . ]

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[I know that because that’s what it says on this out of focus sign.  Fettes College is a private co-educational independent boarding and day school with over two-thirds of its pupils in residence on campus (forested 300-acre grounds).  The school was originally a boarding school for boys only and became co-ed in 1983.  Fettes is sometimes referred to as a public school although the term is traditionally used in Scotland for state schools.  The school was founded with a bequest of Sir Willliam Fettes in 1870 (Wikipedia).]

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[Oh, why not?  Established in 1944, we specialise in home and commercial newspaper deliveries from our shop in Comely Bank, Edinburgh. We also now offer milk delivery.  We are a traditional independent newsagents based one mile north-west of Edinburgh city centre. For full details of our delivery services, please click on the appropriate link left. We also have a well stocked shop, and can obtain a wide range of newspapers and magazines from Scotland, UK, and the world (www.jamesborthwick.co.uk/).]

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[A suspicion this may be the St. Columbas Free Church, but don’t hold me to it . . . ]

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[Holy Trinity Episcopal Church . . . ]

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[Old Edinburgh . . . ]

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[The Rutland Hotel, including The Huxley, a self-proclaimed one of the best bars and pubs in Edinburgh . . . ]

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[Edinburgh Castle on the hill beyond Holy Trinity . . . ]

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[Charlotte Square . . . ]

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[Prince Albert on a horse in the center of Charlotte Square.  Albert was Queen Victoria’s husband.  He died age 41 in 1861.  The statue dates from 1876 . . .]

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[An old building on an old street . . . ]

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[William Pitt the Younger, Britain’s youngest prime minister from 1783 to 1801 during the reign of King George III.  He was famous for wearing live gulls on his head . . . ]

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[Taking at face value, The Royal Society of Edinburgh . . . ]

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[Who’da thunk?  The Dome is a building on George Street in New Town.  It currently functions as a bar, restaurant and nightclub, although it was first built as the headquarters of the Commercial Bank of Scotland in 1847.  It stands on the site of the Physicians’ Hall, the offices of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburth, which was constructed in the 18th century to designs by James Craig, the planner of the New Town. The Dome is a category A listed building (Wikipedia).]

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[Always be aware of pizzerias in your vicinity . . . ]

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[Melville Monument (commemorating Henry Dundas, the first Viscount Melville) in St. Andrew Square . . . ]

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[Erected in 1823, it is 150 feet high . . . ]

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[The Oor Wullie Bucket Trail – 61 of these statues, located across the city, were ultimately auctioned to raise money for children’s hospitals . . . ]

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[Just in case you missed the first three photos of this same guy.  The locals seem immune to his presence . . . ]

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[And we have indeed been traveling in occasional circles for here is Melville Monument again . . . ]

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[Circling its square (is that possible?) . . . ]

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[And again from another side . . . ]

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[Another Oor Wullie spotted . . . ]

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[Rooftop cranes . . . ]

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[A unique pub named for some sort of famous guy . . . ]

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[The Omni Center is located at the top of Leith Walk and the end of Princes Street, handy for the center of town and very easy to access from all over Edinburgh.  There is a fitness center including a pool, over one hundred fitness machines and a wide array of classes. You can then undo all of that hard work by treating yourself to a tasty snack or a three course meal in one of the many cafes, bistro bars and restaurants located within the center.  Perhaps follow your repast with a trip to the cinema to watch the latest blockbuster or relax and enjoy a drink in one of the two bars (www.10best.com/destinations/uk-scotland/edinburgh/new-town-city-center/shopping/omni-center/).]

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[Fanfare guys on building . . . ]

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[And we’ve made it to Leith . . . ]

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[The place was loaded with Oor Wullies . . . ]

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[So the Super had to join them . . . ]

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[But I still have no interest in Downton Abbey . . . ]

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[And the yacht model, easily seen through the glare off the glass case . . . ]

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[Her Majesty’s Yacht ‘Britannia’, also known as the Royal Yacht ‘Britannia’, is the former royal yacht of the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, in service from 1954 until 1997. She was the 83rd such vessel since King Charles II acceded to the throne in 1660, and is the second royal yacht to bear the name, the first being the racing cutter built for the Prince of Wales in 1893.  During her 43-year career, the yacht travelled more than a million nautical miles around the globe.  Now retired from royal service, ‘Britannia’ is permanently berthed at Ocean Terminal, Leith in Edinburgh.  It is a popular visitor attraction with over 300,000 visits each year (Wikipedia).]

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[OK, better view from this side . . . ]

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[The tour of the Royal Yacht begins . . . ]

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[The view from the walkway to the yacht’s top level . . . ]

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[And we’re aboard – appears to be a lovely day for a cruise . . . ]

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[The Super gave the command to start the engines . . . ]

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[Because Ole is of royalty himself, he will be featured often during the tour . . . ]

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[Ole in the captain’s meeting or dining room . . . ]

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[Or the above and the office below may have been for the royals . . . ]

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[Never go out in your boat without your safari vehicle . . . ]

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[Looking back from the yacht’s bow . . . ]

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[The Super’s still trying raise the engine room.  It was hard to understand the prompts.  I think you had to press ‘8’ for engine room . . . ]

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[Royalty paraphernalia and accoutrements . . . ]

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[Ole rang the royal bell . . . ]

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[“The porch” . . . ]

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[Ole partook of royal porchness . . . ]

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[The royal sleep quarters . . . ]

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[I don’t care what people say, I’m still a fan of Charlie . . . ]

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[We have the lead on the ‘U-turn’ route of our group . . . ]

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[What royal bar would be complete without fine crystal that must be hastily secured in rough seas.  Ole said pour me a tall one, with a little color in it . . . ]

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[Now this was nice.  An area of the yacht that would stand up to modern design standards . . . ]

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[We broke away from the group here to have a ‘spot o’ tea and a biscuit’ . . . ]

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[Note the appropriate pinky point . . . ]

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[This is the summer of my content . . . ]

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[Hi!  We’re Americans on a royal yacht!]

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[Of course Ole was comfortable in his royalness . . . ]

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[I’ll have to commend the queen.  The flowers were a nice touch . . . ]

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[Pour you a tall one at room temperature?]

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[And never go out in your boat without your Rolls . . . ]

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[Social area . . . ]

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[Crew quarters . . . ]

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[I don’t remember the dog?]

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[Crew quarters . . . ]

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[A closet.  We were advised that officers had to change uniforms like double digit times a day depending on events . . . ]

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[Never go out on your boat without your band . . . ]

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[I think the Super was checking to see if you signed in from Minnesota you’d win a cookie or biscuit . . . ]

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[It’s really great when the tour and toilet signs point in the same direction . . . ]

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[The captain’s quarters . . . ]

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[If you’re changing uniforms several times a day, you’d better have a big, full-time, laundry . . . ]

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[Hail, Britannia!]

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[Never go out on your boat without your speedboat . . . ]

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[Bidding ta-ta to the Britannia and the Rolls . . . ]

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[HMY ‘Britannia’ was built at the shipyard in Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire.  She was launched by Queen Elizabeth II on 16 April 1953, and commissioned on 11 January 1954. The ship was designed with three masts: a 133-foot (41 m) foremast, a 139-foot (42 m) mainmast, and a 118-foot (36 m) mizzenmast. The top aerial on the foremast and the top 20 feet (6.1 m) of the mainmast were hinged to allow the ship to pass under bridges.  Britannia was designed to be converted into a hopital ship in time of war, although this capability was never used.  In the event of nuclear war, it was intended for the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh to take refuge aboard ‘Britannia’ off the north-west coast of Scotland (Wikipedia).]

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[My turn to be shot on the way out . . . ]

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[And with the Oor Wullies . . . ]

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[Ole says we’re next on our way to Edinburgh Castle, see you next blog post.]

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Perversity and obstinacy are integral tae the Scottish character.  ~  Irvine Welsh

Up Next:  Edinburgh

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