We took a day of leisure in Edinburgh to see some of the local scene. With a day pass for the incredibly convenient local buses, we headed to the waterfront community of Leith. The shopping mall was strategically located on the pier where the HMS Britannica is moored.
We did not pay admission to go aboard because we just are not into paying admission to see really expensive furniture. It certainly looks comfy, and I am sure the Royal Family made do with the finest luxuries when they wished to go for a cruise. The Britannica is a fine ship, and she served her purpose in her time. However, after having seen some of the opulent yachts of the super-wealthy, I believe that now the Britannia is not in that class.
A short bus ride through town brought us to the Royal Botanical Garden. This has to be the most tranquil setting in the city. While we did not see many flowers in bloom, it reminded me of the Arboretum in Seattle or the Huntington Garden in Pasadena with its spacious grounds and great variety of plants and trees. Here people can take a book or sit on a park bench amid a thousand shades of green.
The gardens include glasshouses for the tropical palms collection. There are additional greenhouses for maintaining plants year round as well as botanical studies. For example, the Chinese Hillside garden symbolizes the mountain habitats where plants with medicinal properties are harvested in China. These ancient remedies are now being harvested 20% faster than they can regenerate. Due to increasing global demand, many of these medically beneficial plants will inevitably disappear without some effort to replenish them.
For our vegetarian/vegan readers, I will say that Florence has been diligent in following a plant-based diet ever since we left the states. While we were at the Ocean Terminal Shopping Center, we had lunch at a restaurant called Handmade Burger Company where Florence enjoyed a delicious vegetarian option. I have not been as good. My handmade burger was the UK version of a classic American cheeseburger, which was quite good. And I have enjoyed fish ‘n’ chips a couple of times because I just cannot imagine being in the UK and not eating fish ‘n’ chips.
We were lucky once again to have experienced perfect weather. That is not a given in Scotland. Frequently, when we have responded to local inquiries about where we are from, locals have responded with, “Thank you for bringing the nice weather with you.” It is not like we had anything to do with the weather. I think this is just one more example of the Scottish people demonstrating how friendly they are. And for that we are grateful.