Monday, October 3
We started our 2nd day in Edinburgh by purchasing a 2 day pass on the Hop On/Hop Off city tour bus system. We have found that this is a great way to get around a large city & see all the sites. Then we can return to the sites that interest us most & spend more time exploring.
Our first stop was HMY Britannia. This beautiful ship served Queen Elizabeth from 1953 to 1997. It is now retired from service & is permanently berthed in Edinburgh as a floating museum accessible to the general public. I cheated a bit with the photo below (copied from Google) because I couldn’t access this particular view of the ship during the tour. All of the rest of the photos in this post were taken by Catherine and I.
The public charitable trust that now owns & cares for Britannia has done an excellent job setting it up for tours. We spent about 2 hours touring the ship & enjoyed every minute of it.
An interesting fact that I learned right away is that the helm for steering the ship is actually below decks. The navigator on the bridge calls steering commands down to the helmsman through a communications tube. This is done because the bridge is so visible & exposed to attack. The same goes for other British naval ships. You learn something new everyday!
The photo above is the lounge facing the stern. Apparently the Queen & Prince Phillip were quite involved in the design & the decoration of the entire ship. They wanted it to be well done but not ostentatious.
The dining room & adjacent receiving lounge are beautiful. It’s neat to imagine all of the history that has occurred on board this ship & all of the dignitaries & world leaders who have met the Queen & dined here with her.
Even the engine room is immaculate. We could not get right down into the works but the viewing windows gave lots of opportunities to see pretty much everything. Britannia traveled over 1 million nautical miles in her service to the Queen & the royal family. The ship also traveled to Canada at least 6 times.
After we finished our tour we went up to the tea room on the top deck & had a tea & a latte. Perhaps we were siting in a location where the Queen & the Prince had their tea occasionally.
My latte looked so nice that I didn’t want to drink it – but I eventually did.
If you ever get to Edinburgh, make sure that touring HMY Britannia is on your list of things to do.