Our last port was Rosyth on a very windy and cool day, a day which convinced us not to brave the Scotland of Edinburgh, with its Festival, Fringe Festival, Tattoo and school holiday crowds. After all, been there, seen that, and frankly, thoughts of packing and organising for our stopover in Dubai, followed by our long flight home to New Zealand began to creep into my psyche. Sure, we could have jumped on the train to wave at Waverly Station, but after 35 days of some of the most exciting cruising we’ve ever done, both Terry and I were feeling a wee cruised-out. So, instead, we opted to take the shuttle and the shuttle into Dumferline, a wee town nearby. No, I did not make a mistake in the previous sentence. First, the port shuttle for the 3 minute ride from the ship to the cruise terminal (well, cruise lounge as they call it) and then the shuttle for Dumferline, about a 20 minute ride. The ride took longer than expected, and I must praise the volunteers who rode the buses, were available in the lounge and were extremely helpful and friendly.
We finally made it to this relatively charming town near Edinburgh with its very friendly people, but I was sad to see the town which has seen better days, at least since I last saw it 25 or so years ago. Thankfully, it still (and will always have) the distinction and tourism draw of being Andrew Carnegie’s birthplace, but as we walked through the High Street, there were more empty shops than there should be, more two dollar-type shops than there should be, and more types of shops missing than there should be. For example, when I asked if there were was a luggage shop in town, the answer was “no” – it closed down years ago. However, if you wanted a good deal on shampoo or cheap hardware from China, there was a PoundStretcher and a PoundSaver in the High Street, and at least one such outlet in the mall. Always the mall. In fact, Boots had also left the High Street for the mall, and I would think that many other shops had as well.
Yes, the mall has a Marks & Spencers and a Debenhams, and is quite a large mall, not particularly inviting or full of inviting goods to buy. However, what it lacked in physical charm, it more than made up with extremely helpful and chatty sales people, so that made our mall-stop very worthwhile.
By time we had a good wander, it was time for lunch – so what better place to have lunch than a pub. Not your average-charming-timbered-type pub, but a large, vacuous pub establishment with TVs on the walls showing the local football matches, a long bar towards the middle of the pub, leant on by blokes, a section clearly marked for the “Under 18s,” and a legion of tables of varying sizes. And yet again, extremely friendly people who I think are most happy to see visitors to their town.
I knew what I wanted and I wanted it pub style – battered scampi, chips and a pint. After all, we’ve been eating far too much wonderful food, and sometimes….sometimes….a girl just wants a pub style lunch. The scampi was predictably ‘ordinary’ – but absolutely PERFECT, the chips were great, and the pint? Oh my!! £3.30! “SINCE WHEN??,” I asked our waiter. “For quite a while,” was his reply. More than three times the 98p we were all cringing about when I lived in England 18.5 years ago, and never that much when I have been back several times since then. Absolutely extraorindary. But lunch was good and it was fun and we were ready to meander back to the ship.
Another saga. Decided on a taxi, and that was a very good idea. But – once again an epic fail to the Port of Rosyth. Our taxi driver was great, and had recently been to New Zealand so was most happy to have a pair of Kiwis in his car. He has been driving a cab in the area for a very long time, but this was his first trip out to the port this season. The shortcut across the industrial land no longer exists, so he had to pick his way over the new flyover, round the round-about and hope he got off at the right exit — no signage to guide him. We did get there without any drama, but then which road to choose to get to the cruise lounge? He picked the right one, only to find another security checkpoint. Finally, the cruise lounge, and we bid our farewells.
Alas. We were happy to be onboard by about 3pm, waiting for our fellow passengers to return from the Tattoo in Edinburgh at midnight, and others to straggle home during the evening.
Not the best port call ever, but certainly an ok one before setting sail for the saddest port of all, Amsterdam – to disembark, and to say Tot Ziens to my much-beloved Amsterdam, where I reckon I will once again return to live one day.
But I will not say goodbye to you, my readers, not yet – I have one more blog post to write, and that is about the Prinsendam itself. The best destination of all.