Sunday, September 16, 2012

Thursday, September 13

When we wake and check to weather, it looks pretty wet and cold. The Captain said he thought it might improve during the day. We have a car rented for today and had planned to drive first up to the lake area and then over to Stirling Castle. During breakfast we decide to do Sterling first as the rain has let up, and the lake drive won’t be very nice as long as it is so fogy.

This is the easiest rental car we have done. The agent is right in the terminal and the car is right out side in the parking lot. There is also a tourist board in the terminal and they give Carolyn maps and driving info while Dick does the paper work for the car. We are on the road in no time.

Scotland is so much easier to drive in than what we found in England earlier. The drive to Sterling is pleasure. By the time we get there the clouds have lifted and there is a little of sun. Sterling is a cute little village that is a bit touristy in the newer part. We see the sign up to the Castle and make our way up a hill lined with building going back centuries. The castle itself is perched on top a hill with a great view out over the surrounding countryside.
No wonder that it make such a good fortress and fought over for so much of its history. The original fortress and newer castle (1400's on) played an important part in the lives of the kings and Queens of Scotland.
We easily find parking which is right at the castle and buy our tickets which include the self guiding audio tour. We visit a nicely done museum that tells the history then tour the Great hall,
the Chapel

and the Royal apartments. These include the Kings ante room
and bed chamber
and the Queen’s ante room
and bed chamber.
We also see the dinning hall.
After leaving Sterling since the sun seems to peaking through the clouds, we decide to do the drive up into the Trossachs. Maybe we can see the lakes. Outside if the village of Callander, we stop at a pub and have lunch.
By the time we leave it is pouring rain, but we are now committed. The countryside is charming...rolling hill and hidden lakes, like Loch Venacher.
There are some beautiful old hotels also.
This is area area you need to get out and walk to really see. Not today so we head back to the ship.

We get cleaned up, have a cocktail while watching the sail away and decide tonight will be salad and pizza in the room. The service is prompt, with nothing left off our order, something the Mariner staff never accomplished in 72 days last year. We have a regular dinning table in the suite and the waiter sets it up just like in the main dinning room including the butter and bread sticks, which we forgot to ask for. Later they come back and clear the service and bring a pot of hot tea to finish the day. So far Seabourn service is every thing that we remember from 2009 and way ahead of the quality of service we received on the Regent Mariner last year. The ship is the perfect size, very comfortable and pure luxury to be on.

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