Disney Cruise Line and Its Ports of Call LIVE! Guidebook
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Northern European Itineraries
Sturdy buildings of fieldstone or stucco flank the small port’s narrow streets. Kirkwall’s major sights—St. Magnus Cathedral, the Bishop’s and Earl’s Palaces, and the Orkney Museum, can be found cheek-by-jowl on Broad St. Highland Distillery, Scotland’s most northerly, is a mile to the south. Some of Europe’s best-preserved neolithic sites are here in a World Heritage Site that includes the Standing Stones of Stenness, the Ring of Brodgar, the chambered tomb Maeshowe, and the village of Skara Brae. Stromness, 15 miles from Kirkwall, is the Orkney’s second-largest town, with a winding, stone-paved main street that, if anything, is more charming than Kirkwall’s. Balfour Castle (more great house than fortress), a short ferry ride away on Shapinsay (“ay” is Old Norse for “island”) is open only to excursion groups. The Italian Chapel turns Scottish austerity on its head. Built by Italian prisoners during WWII, the ornate church is a popular tour stop.
The Orkneys have been inhabited for at least 8,500 years. The Norse settled and ruled from 875-1472. Then rule passed to King James III of Scotland, in lieu of his Norwegian bride’s dowery. Scapa Flow, just south of Kirkwall, was a famed naval base during both World Wars. The “Churchill Barriers” that restricted German submarine attack are now causeways linking The Mainland to other islands.
You are viewing page 466, which is section 48 of chapter 9 of PassPorter's Disney Cruise Line guidebook.
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