Edinburgh to the Southampton Docks

Botanical Gardens Edinburgh

If cell phones truly cause brain tumors the fella at the next table must be nurturing a big one. He’s been talking non-stop for at least an hour. Dictation more than conversation. The victim on the other end has either buried his phone in the creases of the couch where coins go or sought the highest point of his residence and jumped. From where I sit he’s the lucky one. God have mercy on his soul.

From a gun mount in Edinburgh Castle

Of course who am I to talk, writing and dictating are similar. But I didn’t come here to write, I was looking for a travel guide on Puerto Rico. We have only two nights left in Edinburgh then we take the train to Southampton England and board the ship a couple days later. A stay in Southampton requires a visit to the SeaCity Museum and the Titanic exhibit. Crossing the Atlantic and leaving from the same port as the Titanic it’s hard not to reflect upon her disastrous maiden voyage.

However instead of heading north toward New York and iceberg country we are charting a thirteen day, southerly course to San Juan Puerto Rico. Granted, we are sailing through the tail end of hurricane season, November, but what’s the odds of a serious problem? (I’m sure that was said by passengers of the Titantic too.) But adventures by definition are spiced with some risk and this one should be suitable for the most delicate of palates. I am more worried about gaining back the weight I’ve lost over the last five months than meeting King Neptune.

Sue enjoying her rank aboard HMS Britannia

I began this journey the end of May as Iceland enjoyed the midnight sun and Scotland was embarking upon an unusually hot and dry summer. By comparison, today some of Scotland’s peaks have already received their first dusting of snow for the season and tonight the sun sets in Reykjavik at 17:10. So I guess it is a good time to sail west by southwest towards Puerto Rico then back to America and the Utah desert where I can review photos, reflect on experiences and work on my writing and photographic skills. But before doing those things I need to get one more peek at Edinburgh, travel to Southampton, sail to Puerto Rico, travel to Virginia, drive across America and find a place to stay in Utah. That means there is a lot more to see, do, photograph and write about. I better get up and find that guidebook.

Edinburgh Castle

…We slept at the foot of Edinburgh Castle last night in the Castle Rock Hostel. The hostel seemed like a castle itself with it’s catacomb of rooms, multiple levels and tall, tall ceilings. We had spent most of our time in Edinburgh at the West End Hostel but in hindsight I would have liked to have spent more time at Castle Rock due to it’s lively vibe and great location. We moved there to be closer to the center of the city and “Waverly”.

Sir Walter Scott Monument

Waverly is Edinburgh’s central train station and its name comes from the pages of a novel by the popular Scottish writer, Sir Walter Scott. If you are a Scott fan you’ll probably want to stop at the Writer’s Museum and the towering Sir Walter Scott Monument on Princes Street. It’s a bit of a climb to the top that begins on a single wide spiral staircase that becomes progressively more narrow as you ascend. The well worn, stone staircase is the only way up or down so if you meet someone coming from the other direction one of you needs to back up.

By the time I was climbing through the highest spire of the monument both my shoulders were scraping along the walls and in the final yards I thought I might become wedged between the unforgiving blocks of sandstone. But with a little twisting and bending and a strong desire to not become “the American tourist that became wedged in the Sir Walter Scott Monument” I managed to pop out onto the viewing platform where I was buffeted by strong winds and my hands quickly turned uncomfortably cold. Climbing to the top of the Scott monument is not for the claustrophobic or corpulent but the view of the city is excellent and from there I finally appreciated how close Edinburgh was to the “firth” or bay.

Holyrood Palace, the Queens summer place

…The SeaCity Museum gave a very interesting and comprehensive view of the Titanic disaster including the investigation and it’s conclusions as well as how severely the loss of life affected the people of Southampton. Most of the people that worked on the Titanic were residents of Southampton so hundreds of fathers, mothers, sons and daughters were lost. It was a perspective of the disaster that I never thought of or have seen portrayed in movies.

Well in one hour we will be heading to the Southampton docks ourselves for our Trans-Atlantic crossing. I trust the only hardship we will encounter is being without internet for two weeks. The truth is I am looking forward to it. I’ll will pick this up again somewhere on the other side of the Atlantic. Take care and thanks for following.

Aboard HMS Britannia

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Categories: Hiking, Travel

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

14 replies

  1. Beautiful pics, would love to go here someday

  2. Hi Tom and Sue! Hope you guys have a restful and enjoyable voyage across the Atlantic. I love living vicariously thru reading your blog about your adventuresome travels. ~~Flame

  3. Hi, Dont know if this will reach you before. Departure but have a great trip , Hope the Radar is working . L. H & H

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  4. Leaving? So soon. Look forward to the next chapter.

  5. Have a great trip by sea. Rest up and take life easy for awhile

  6. I know exactly where the Castle Rock hostel is as our son’s flat was just behind the castle. We climbed the Scott memorial one fine sunny day but like your experience, it was extremely gusty at the top. Did you manage to fit in a walk up Arthur’s Seat near Holyrood House?

    • We never did get around to hiking up Arthur’s Seat, which gives us a good excuse for another visit. I would gladly spend a few more nights at the Castle Rock hostel also. They were in a great location. Despite the rain, overcast, cold… Scotland and Edinburgh are at the top of my list of places I’ve visited and would like to see again. Growing up in Chicago and living in the American NW I guest I don’t mind a little wet and cold.

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