A light drizzle greeted us as we moored in Greenock, Scotland, around 7 am. Joining the line handlers on the quay was a person wearing a giant inflatable Scot costume dancing behind a lone bagpiper playing familiar Scottish music. Observing the local welcoming ceremonies at the various cruise ports across the world is something I look forward to and they vary from nothing but line handlers and longshoremen to elaborate marching bands and everything in between. A giant dancing Scotsman was a first and he was fun to watch.
Our group chartered two busses that would take us to New Lanark World Heritage Site, George Square in Glasgow and finally a yarn shop called the Yarn Cake in Glasgow’s west end.
There is a warehouse type building on the quay that functions as a cruise terminal and is used by the tourist information bureau and a few vendors. There are also provisions for security, but it wasn’t in use and the Zuiderdam provided security on our return. After passing thru the terminal there is a large parking area filled with the Holland America chartered tours. Private tours meet outside the gate, which isn’t all that much further than the some of the HAL tour busses. Taxis are allowed inside near the cruise terminal. Here is a map of the Greenock area followed by a zoomed in area of the port.
After assembling in the Ocean Bar, we made our way off the ship, thru the terminal and onto our waiting busses just outside the gate. We have been to Greenock twice, but always used it as a starting point for other tours or taking the train to Glasgow or Edinburgh.
New Lanark is about 55 miles away and takes about 1 hour 20 minutes. The last 10 miles cover some very narrow and winding roads and our busses couldn’t do much more than 20 mph. New Lanark is one of 6 UNESCO’s World Heritage sites in Scotland and is home to the former 18th century cotton spinning mill.
We arrived a few minutes after they opened and after we checked in we were split into two groups for our guided tours. The tour lasted about 45 minutes and we covered 3 of the large machinery areas that were idle since this was a Sunday. If you plan your visit during a working day, you should be able to see parts of the mill in operation.
Our tour ended in the gift shop which had a nice selection of locally crafted items ranging from clothing to home decorations to souvenirs to yarn.
After our lunch, we were back on the buses and on our way to George Square in Glasgow. We had about 45 minutes to stretch our legs and check out a few shops. Near George Square we noticed an Equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington with a traffic cone on his head. Apparently, this has been going on for some time and the Glasgow government appears to have given up trying to stop this after considering various options to discourage people from putting a cone on the statue such as raising the height of the pedestal.
A light rain during our visit discouraged walking around the park so we stayed inside a few shops until it was time to head back to the bus.
The “Yarn Cake” yarn shop was our final stop, about 15 minutes away from George Square. Antje and her husband are the owners and they made us feel very welcome. The shop is quite small but had a wonderful selection of local and hand dyed yarns. We all enjoyed a special treat as we watched a small girl probably around 8 years old, accompanied by her father and mother, step into the shop so she could make her very first yarn purchases. Her grandmother is teaching her how to knit and she needed to pick up her first skeins of yarn and needles.
We left the Yarn Cake at 3PM and had a 27 mile drive back to the ship. All aboard was 4:30 with departure scheduled for 5 pm. 45 minutes later we were back in Greenock and had some time to check out a few of the vendors in the cruise terminal.
Tonight’s show was an encore performance of Comedian Paul Adams and Jesse Kazemek’s ‘A Tribute to the Beatles’ along with his wife Coleen. Each performer had about twenty minutes to present some new material. Paul was hilarious once again with his edgy humor on full display. Jesse and Coleen were magnificent and performed a wonderful 11 song medley of some of the Beatles greatest hits. Both of these guest entertainers are frequent performers on Holland America Ships and their shows are both must sees.
Tomorrow will be a sea day which will give us a chance to relax and enjoy some of the ships many activities.
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