The last day.
I always get a strange combination of feelings when these excusions come to an end. Sadness at it having to end. Surprise that the time is nearly done. Joy at the new friendships forged and memories made. And a bit ready to come home.
Our final escapades began with a bus tour throughout New Town Edinburgh and Old Town Edinburgh. Our tour guide, Jenny, was quite knowledgeable and shared a lot of fascinating history about the area. One of my favorite moments was passing by the childhood home of Robert Louis Stevenson.
Most interesting was some trivia about Stevenson’s novel The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. While it is known that the plot of the novel arose from a nightmare, Stevenson actually based the characters of Jekyll and Hyde off two different people. One was his nanny who loved him dearly, but also loved the bottle and was not herself when she drank. The other was Edinburgh’s town counselor, Deacon Brodie. Brodie was also a furniture maker who had a severe gambling addiction. He often broke into homes of his customers to steal items in order to pay off his debts. Eventually he was arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced to death by hanging. Brodie smugly thought he would live as he had built the gallows used and didn’t think it would work. Unfortunately for him, his new gallows was a success.
When we finished exploring the city, we headed off to Edinburgh Castle to explore the royal home for many Scottish kings. This was an excellent attraction and one that I would highly recommend. The castle is actually made up of multiple museums and you will learn about military history, visit the castle dungeons, see the oldest building in Scotland with St Margaret’s Chapel, gaze upon the ominous Mons Meg, and see the Scottish Crown Jewels.
We were able to enjoy the castle for about 90 minutes before getting back on the bus for a few more tidbits about Edinburgh and getting dropped off at our hotel.
The afternoon was a free period for us. I made a stop at Marks & Spencer to switch my money back to dollars. This is indeed the place to stop as the lack of commission meant I got nearly market rate for my exchange. However, I did hold back ten pounds for lunch.
I stopped at Burger King and had a quick meal of an Angus Steakhouse combo while I read The Battered Badge, a Nero Wolfe novel by Robert Goldsborough. I then took a walk around town and did my good deed for the day when I helped an elderly couple from Shropshire find the Mercure.
I organized my photos thus far and then got back on the coach as we were off to viist the Royal Yacht Brittania, the final royal ship for the British royal family. This was another excellent attraction as it combined history with a taste of living the royal life.
I was blown away by the luxury and elegance of the yacht. Truly, it was like a floating mansion.
From there, it was off to our final group meal as we had a reservation for Cafe Tartine.
Another wonderful meal. This was almost as good as the previous night as I enjoyed smoked salmon, Escalope of Grilled Chicken with herb potatoes, green beans, and smoked bacon, and a thick mousse called Orange Scented Chocolate Panna Cotta.
And just like that, it was over. I made arrangements with my new friends, the Campbells, to have breakfast in the morning before I’m carted off to the airport. Another grand adventure has ended. And the next is being planned.
Until the next time. . .happy travels.