Edinburgh, Scotland (overnight) was the next port of call for the Goldring Travel 2019 Culinary & Cultural Cruise on the Seabourn Ovation. We were greeted with fine Scottish summer weather: Pouring rain that the wind blew sideways!
In fact, the weather was so bad upon our arrival that we had to change from anchoring in nearby Newhaven to docking in Rosyth. I am not sure that made anything worse, as it was a pleasure being able to walk off the ship and onto a shuttle bus rather than dealing with a tender and then waiting for a shuttle to arrive (and visa versa). With traffic, though, it was a 45-60 minute ride to/from Edinburgh city center.
|The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo with Edinburgh Castle in the background|
While many guests stayed onboard and prayed the weather cleared for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tatoo that evening, I headed out on my own to find a proper Scottish pub for a proper Scottish lunch. I did limit myself to the “new” part of the city (it is only about 200 years old) rather than fight the crowds in the old city up the hill by the Edinburgh Castle. I do have to say that even there the crowds were unbelievable and, it seemed, that there were more tour buses than people! (With the Military Tattoo, The Fringe and Book Festival all happening at the same time…and during summer holidays…getting anywhere was a challenge.
I kept wandering, seeing how things have changed since my last visit here, and then came upon The Keniworth; the Scottish pub I had been looking for.
After enjoying a Tennant’s beer it was time to the to it! I started with a small Haggis, Neeps & Tatties with a whisky sauce. (Haggis, much-maligned -wrongly so in my opinion – is oatmeal and offal mixed together, stuffed into a sheep’s stomach and then blanched and then baked. Neeps are turnips and Tatties are potatoes.) Delicious!
|Haggis, Neeps & Tatties with Whisky sauce|
Next up was Toad in the Hole…only because they were out of steak pie. What is Toad in the Hole? Haggis and pork sausage in a Yorkshire pudding with potatoes, carrots, and greens with a rich brown sauce.
|Toad in the Hole|
Though more than full from this very heavy lunch dessert was a definite: Sticky Toffee Pudding with Ice Cream. It is simply the World’s Best dessert.
|Sticky Toffee Pudding|
After a quick stop to pick up some British chocolates, and with the rain coming to an end, it was time to head back to the Seabourn Ovation for one of the most exciting events on this cruise: The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
This was one time I opted for paying a premium and booking the experience through Seabourn, if not just to simplify the logistics. The transfer to an area near the Tattoo (with the world’s most painful and exhausting guide) left the ship at 7:00 p.m. and arrived, even with all the traffic, at 8:00 p.m. After walking quite a bit we arrived at the 8,800 seat stadium with plenty of time for the 90+ minute spectacle’s start at 9:00 p.m.
I opted for the Premium seats, mostly because they faced Edinburgh Castle, rather than a side view. The seats are also wider and cushioned…not that either is much of an incentive. I am glad I did!
There really are no words that adequately explain the Tattoo because it has a different effect on each person from national pride, to appreciation of the precision, to love of the multinational and multicultural experience, to just going “WOW”.
We luckily avoided any real rain during the Tattoo, but as soon as it was over the rains came. Combined with the crush of the crowds all trying to disperse using the same exit and road, it was good to get back on the bus (even with our annoying guide…who still would not stop her pretentious faux accent or give a short answer to anything) and back to the Seabourn Ovation at about 12:30 a.m. We were greeted by hot chocolate with Bailey’s, which I passed on and headed to the Colonnade for a late-night snack and a beer before heading off to bed.
The morning brought brilliant sunshine and Goldring Travel’s Private Shopping with Seabourn’s Executive Chef Bert Muhle. Focussed on purchasing items for the upcoming Culinary & Cultural Experience Finale, we first visited a local fish market. The woman who assisted us seemed a bit like my Scottish ex-wife: Despite the larger order and the interest of our group, she was sullen and disengaged. Oh well.
A marsh loving green
However, for all those that think my love of caviar and potato chips, one of my guests found this:
Unfortunately, they tasted more like krill (or shrimp shells) than caviar, but don’t tell anyone.
But then it was off to an interesting little farmer’s market with an incredible view as it sat just below Edinburgh Castle. Chef Bert picked up some interesting Scottish cheeses, honey, chocolates and more.
It was also a great opportunity to try two Scottish street food favorites: Sausage Rolls and Meat Pies. Goldring Travel’s guests were able to choose between Haggis & Black Pudding (my choice!), Chicken & Bacon or Traditional Pork rolls and excellent Mutton meat pies. (I was disappointed by the lack of HP Sauce, preventing the ultimate in Scottish street food culinary experiences!)
|Haggis & Blood Pudding Sausage Roll
Under Edinburgh Castle…Kinda cool!
|Serving up World Championship Winner
Mutton Meat Pies
With a whirlwind 24 hours behind me, it was time for a soak in the forward hot tub. Just as I settle in a bar waiter magically appeared and asked me if I wanted a drink. Don’t ask me why, but I said Caiparingha. It did the trick as I then had a great nap!
But my Edinburgh culinary experiences were not yet over. It was Chef’s Dinner and Chef Bert did a great job both in the menu and its execution. I was fortunate to be hosted by Hotel Director Kevin Huxham and a special, secret, person. It was a lovely evening.
We started Ahi Tuna Poke
followed by Seabourn’s famous White Tomato Soup and then a wonderful Crab Cake, a Cloudberry Sorbet with Champagne (Cloudberrys are only found in Northern Norway) and then I chose the Seared Sea Scallops
finishing up with a Lemon Meringue Pie
It was the definitely time to head back to the suite as tomorrow is Goldring Travel event that I have been waiting over a year for: A visit to Glenfiddich!
If you are interested in a Seabourn, or any other, cruise, give me a call, drop me an email or send me a Facebook message!
US: (877) 2GO-LUXURY (877-246-5898)
UK: 020 8133 3450
AUS: (07) 3102 4685
Everywhere Else: +1 530 562 9232