"Scottish Isles and Norwegian Fjords"
We opted for the pre and post cruise options. Arriving in Edinburgh, we grabbed a cab to the luxurious Waldorf Astoria Caledonia which formerly house the Caledonian Railways terminal. When our cab stopped at the Waldorf, we planned to exchange currency (USD), however, a delightful gentleman who hailed a cab, graciously paid for our service.
From the moment we stepped into the lobby with their bell captain in full Scottish regalia, we knew we had chosen the right place.
Our spacious room had large windows, a sitting area, an amazing lavatory/bath/shower. The staff was gracious and able to offer suggestions on the area.
We opted for dinner across the street at Angel's Share hotel just across the street on the recommendation of the concierge. The Angels Share name itself refers to the small amount of alcohol that evaporates out of whisky barrels during maturation! A simple, clean menu, lots of whisky options, bright, airy with an old-world charm. Small bites as well as a full menu are offered.
Our tour guide met us in the lobby and off we went to Edinburgh Castle. It is an arduous climb for very little pay-off. I'd suggest unless you simply MUST see the Castle, walk the Royal Mile teeming with shops, restaurants and a few local attractions. I desperately wanted to visit "The Real Mary's Close" and purchased tickets prior to leaving the US. Unfortunately, in missing our flight connection, we arrived too late. When I asked if I could exchange the ticket for the next day, I was met with a very firm, "NO" and told I'd have to repurchase the ticket. So much for 'customer service' at the Real Mary's Close.
I did a self-walking tour from the castle heading down "Granny's Green Steps" through Grassmarket where I stumbled upon Greyfriars's Bobby, Auld Jock's and many, many pubs. Read up on Greyfriars's Bobby - discover that "Auld Jock" was the nickname of John Gray, the night watchman for the city.
The tour left for Glasgow stopping at (my favorite church) Glasgow Cathedral - also known as St. Mungo's. A delightful story of St. Mungo - a bonafide saint that the Glasgow children devised a poem to remember his good deeds and the miracles he experienced.
We lucked out and acquired one of only three cabins for physically disabled. The cabin lacked in closet space for two people, however, the lavatory and the desk accomodated our clothing needs.
Beginning at the Glasgow Cathedral, affectionately called " St. Mungo's" - look for the symbols of the children's poem about his miracles - the bird, the tree, the bell and the fish - on the ornamental lampposts throughout the street. Check out the "Clooty Tree" where you can find a piece of cloth to write a wish and hang it on the tree. Note the bird bath on the building - 'Keep the Pavement Dry and the amazing collection of religious art work encompassing all faiths.
Then off to the Kelvingrove Museum/ Art Gallery housing twenty-two (22) separate galleries covering Egyptian art, taxidermy, modern art, including Dali's masterpiece "‘Christ of St John of the Cross’. Read the story of the restoration of this piece after a heinous act of destruction; Paul Reed's "Return to Sender" - Elvis 'lives', Sophie Cave's 'Floating Heads'.