Colorful Tobermory, Scotland was a fun spot to explore after our failed bird watching expedition to the countryside. The photo above captures about one-third of the town. The arrival of our ship doubled the population of this quaint town for the day. We went into the Mishnish Hotel, the yellow building above, and had some local beverages and a half dozen oysters as part of our shore excursion. Then we ventured a few doors down for some Indian cuisine.
Local Port Exploration
In this blog, I’m just giving you an overview of what some ship sponsored shore excursions were like. We generally gravitate to simple exploration on our own, not taking part in too many of the port excursions offered by the ship. In tiny town like Tobermory, Scotland, it does not take much more than an hour to explore the entire town.
They tell me the Mishnish Bar is recently remodeled. In true Scottish tradition, this bar had Gaelic sayings on the wall, offered haggis bites with whisky mustard mayo and lots of seafood offerings. I had a half dozen oysters and some local beer. Upon paying my bill, I bought those two chaps at the left end of the bar a round of drinks, thanking them for letting our cruise ship invade their tiny town. Talking to these two working Scotchmen reminded me of the saying “The English and Americans are two peoples divided by a common language.”
Cruise Port Excursions
By now it should be obvious this is not a travel blog, packed with travel advice and suggestions for your next holiday adventure. A cruise is not even a good way to explore the world in depth. However, cruise ships do offer excursions at each port of call. The Seabourn Quest offered kayaking to glaciers, island coves and Zodiac trips for longer expeditions. Others excursions were just bus rides to the country for some exploration. Afterwords, they drop you off in the city for further exploration on your own.
Since we had previously visited the Normandy American Cemetery at Omaha Beach , we opted for an excursion to an apple orchard and cider distillery 25 miles outside of Cherbourg. It rained all day. They were a bit stingy with their samples, or maybe they just got tired of seeing me in the freebie line….
Despite checking at numerous restaurants, there is no Dover sole fish to be found in Dover, England.
I’m sure there are better views of the white cliffs of Dover, but this was our view upon leaving. I did my best to wait for the sunlight to peak through the clouds to highlight them.
Belfast Titanic Museum
In the 1850s Belfast suffered greatly and went through dramatic changes. The potato famine killed countless people and migration from the countryside quadrupled the population of Belfast. These changes helped propel the city workforce toward becoming the most prominent shipbuilder in the world. The Titanic was built in Belfast in 1911. The popular saying in Belfast is “She was alright when she left Belfast. ” The major tourist attraction in Belfast is the Titanic Museum. We took a bus to the middle of Belfast and walked several miles to the museum.
The points of the building can be seen to symbolize the bow of the Titanic. The jagged edges may represent the Titanic’s hull being ripped by the iceberg.
Being a seaside town, and commemorating cleaning up the river, a bright blue ceramic salmon sculpture is a favorite spot with tourists.
Throughout Europe, it seems to me the quality of local talent playing for free in the streets or in bars is a cut above. Like this street musician in York, England. Guitar Player (scroll to bottom)
This musical duo in a tavern near the Titanic Museum was no exception. The violinist was much more serious about his music than his hairdo.
Had time allowed, I wanted to ask these two gentlemen who their barber was so I could make sure to never go there.
Back to our Home Away from Home…
So goodbye to quaint and colorful Tobermory…
Hello Seabourn Cruise ship.
Better travel photos are coming, really…