Scotland August 2, 2022: The Royal Yacht Britannia
Our hotel had a free hot breakfast each morning from 7-10. Most mornings, we got there just about 9:59 or so. Today was no exception. The breakfast was pretty good – most days it had baked beans, scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, cereals, toast, juices. They may have had more offerings but not at the time we arrived.
The coffee machine was most impressive. In addition to black coffee, they had tea, latte, cappuccinos, mocha, hot chocolate, latte macchiato, espresso and some other drinks too numerous to mention. Out of curiosity, I tried the latte macchiato and found it wasn’t for me. Turns out, it’s mostly hot, steamed, frothy milk with a shot of espresso in it. Now I know!
Every breakfast the tv showed the Commonwealth Games Lawn Bowling. I’d never heard of Lawn Bowling before so I looked it up.
Bocce and Lawn Bowling are cousins but have some distinct differences. The Bocce Ball is round whereas the Lawn Bowl is round in only one direction and elliptical in the other, giving it a bias and causing it to curve. Second, the Bocce Ball is thrown underhand, like softball, and the Lawn Bowl is rolled.
This is a sample of what we saw every morning sans sound:
After breakfast we decided to walk across the street to the Ocean Terminal. It was a bit hard to remember that traffic was coming at us from the wrong direction and with the construction AND a roundabout right outside, crossing the street was taking our lives in our hands.
Although the map shows a 2 minute walk, it was a bit longer than that because of the construction, which turned out to be an extension of the tram.
The tram extension will be a good thing – eventually. I asked a few people and got varying estimates from 3 to 5 years. Right now, the tram goes from the airport to St. Andrews Square in Edinburgh but someday it will go all the way out to our hotel. How convenient that will be.
The Ocean Terminal Mall is pretty standard except that the stores and restaurants close pretty early – mostly by 8pm. One thing that I thought was pretty cool was that they had an “Indoor Beach” on the first level overlooking the water. When seen from above, it looked pretty much like a large sandbox in a mall. Kids seemed to be having fun, though. They also have a rollerskating rink and cinema. They also had a music and bookstore. We got 2 books for only £7 or $8.55. I got an interesting-looking book by David Attenborough (Adventures of a Young Naturalist: The Zoo Quest Expeditions) which currently sells on amazon for $13.74 and Tom got 1000 Years of Art which I haven’t found on amazon…yet. Tom was most unhappy with the music playing and we left the store quite quickly with Tom sharing his views with the sales clerk.
We looked at a bit of each of the three levels (lots of empty storefronts) until we got to the ticket office for the Royal Yacht Britannia.
A Royal residence for over 40 years, The Royal Yacht Britannia sailed over 1,000,000 nautical miles on 968 state visits with the Royal Family.
Britannia was launched from the John Brown & Company shipyard in Clydebank, Scotland, on 16 April, 1953. For over 44 years the Royal Yacht served the Royal Family, travelling more than a million nautical miles to become one of the most famous ships in the world. To Her Majesty The Queen, Britannia provided the perfect Royal residence for glittering state visits, official receptions, Royal honeymoons and relaxing family holidays. For Great Britain, she was a majestic symbol of the Commonwealth and a proud ambassador generating billions of pounds in trade deals. For the Royal Family and 220 dedicated crew of Royal Yachtsmen, she was home.
Some of our photos from the Britannia (we have hundreds more which will be shared in a giant album at the end of this trip)
After we left the ship, I was astounded to see that someone had used pianos as artwork.
We stopped for smoothies at a small restaurant (that was still open!) and sat on the open deck overlooking the water – a fine end to a great start to the vacation.
On the way out, we noticed a bus stop – including the blue line for Hop on/Hop off busses. Hmmm
After the smallest of naps (I’m still adjusting to this timezone which is 5 hours later than home (4pm in Fairfax is 9 pm in Scotland) we went to dinner. LIke breakfast, we just got in under the 9pm closure. if you noticed the menu from yesterday, some items like pizza and ice cream are available 24/7. I ended up having what they called a “chicken burger”. In reality, it’s 2 pieces of marinated, grilled chicken breast on leafy stuff with a sauce hamburg bun. Like the other meals here it came with fries.
The dinner tv each night was Commonwealth Games without the Lawn Bowling (HOORAY!)
Tomorrow will be an early day because we’re going to take a 12-hour bus tour to the Highlands and we need to be at 6 Waterloo Street by 7:45 am.
Costa Rica, Day Nine: August 23, 2014
This was another easy day.
When Tom was making reservations for Costa Rica, he set out searches on both RCI and Interval. We had one week here at Coco Bay Estates, then we were going to move to Flamingo Beach Resort. That was ok, sort of. Then a second week became available here but we kept the second week at Flamingo and gave it to friends, Bev and Pete.
We mostly spent the morning online checking Facebook, I worked some on a final exam that is due at 9:00 am Monday – UK time on a Coursera course – and trying to figure out how to get to Flamingo Beach Resort.
We had all kinds of maps, including the Google one at right. The trouble with all of them is the route numbers. None of the roads here have signs that say what the route number is, or the name of any street.
The little directions that come with that map were also no good since we were to go through the towns of Filadelfia, Belén and Huacas.
Luckily, we had been through Filadelfia before, when we went to Palo Verde but the other ones had no signs letting us know where the town limits were, “Welcome to Huacas” signs or anything. The maps would be better if they said turn right at the fruit stand or something.
We rented a GPS when we first got here but today it had trouble acquiring satellites and we would be driving along and it appeared to suddenly download new (or updated) software, then restart.
But, as always, we persevered.
We set out about 11:30 am. Before we even got to the little town, we saw an odd sight.
That boat, aptly named Fear Not, is being towed by that backhoe(?). The boat is taller than the electrical wires above so the guy on the left, in orange, is standing up, holding up the electrical wires with a piece of wood. The woman is holding a piece of aluminum or metal.
We retraced our steps towards the Liberia Airport but when we got to that fruit stand, we turned right instead of left. All new territory now. Between the in-and-out GPS and sporadic signs to Playa Flamingo, after only one wrong turn, we made it to our friends place about 12:45.
We met them in the lobby and then went and had a very nice lunch in the little outdoor restaurant.
We went out on their beach (white sand) and got a view of the buildings just up the coast.
I have to sat that their place is much nicer than ours on a whole – room is smaller – and more friendly/helpful people around.
Here, we’re kind of by ourselves on this mountain and have to drive to even get to the pool. Most of the “staff” here seem to work for another company which is selling timeshares/vacation clubs/something slimy. More on that later.
Our front light is still out and our elevator may or may not be working after nine days here. We still have our 15 issues since day one and some new ones have been added. Those will be in a summary after we get home.
But, I digress. We had a great time with our friends but had to head home at 4:30 or so since it gets dark at 6:00. On the way back we were stopped by police for a routine traffic stop. Tom said it was right around Costa Rican Mother’s Day when all the family gathers at home. That may involve drinking and/or fighting which may have triggered the traffic stop. In any event, they let us go after seeing Tom’s driver’s license.
Most of the drive went well except when we went around a corner and there was a kid skateboarding in the street.
We got back to our place just as a big storm was brewing.
And there was a huge thunderstorm. The power went out on one wall where modem, router and telephone is. Then the fridge went out but it came back fairly soon.
Someone came to our door to ask if we’d reported a fire. Uh, no. We wouldn’t be sitting around if the place was on fire. We don’t even have a phone to report a fire.
Finally, our modem, router and phone came back and all was well for another day…