Sunday, 15 October 2017

Scotland - Saturday

Saturday 14 October, 2017

Well, today was most likely our last day out in Edinburgh.  Tomorrow is packing and cleaning day and on Monday morning we leave early, or rather in the middle of the night. :-)

As we hadn't been to Edinburgh's New Town yet it was a good place to explore.  We spent the best part of the day there, but still haven't seen half of it.

We got off the bus at Princes Street, which seems to be the hub of Edinburgh's public transport.  All buses and trams seem to stop there, which is quite handy once you know!  From Princes Street we walked along the far end towards Calton Hill.

One of Edinburgh's split level crossings

We followed the steps leading up and around and instantly enjoyed the view over New Town, and the River Forth in the distance.  The camera couldn't do it, but with the bare eyes we could actually see the new bridge from here.

St John's church in the foreground

Further up the hill we came across the National Monument, a Greek inspired building which was never finished.  It was supposed to become a copy of the Parthenon, but was never finished because of the lack of funds to do so.

The National Monument

The weather looks very bleak, but it was actually not unpleasant as usual.  Some rain was threatening now and then, but it never really happened.  It was so pleasant indeed, that we decided to have a cup of coffee out in the open and enjoy the views.

From there on the path led to the Nelson Monument:

the Nelson Monument

view across the old town

It was possible to climb the tower, but without asking how many steps it would be we decided that paying 5 pounds would be too much for the 'torture'. ;-)

Instead we walked on to admire the view upon the extinct vulcano of Arthur's Seat.

History of the vulcano

The tilted vulcano: Arthur's Seat

View towards the east

And from there on back to Princes Street. On our walk I took pictures of a church, a sculpture of a pair of giraffes, the Balmoral hotel and the department store Jenners with its beautiful old interior still intact. 

The Balmoral


On the way back to the buses we 'window-shopped' and also had a looksie inside here and there.  Patricia wanted to look for a winter jacket, but was not successful.  Instead she 'made me' enter the Sketchers shop, and that was a BIG mistake!  Of course I came out with a pair of my favorite shoes! ;-)

Money spent (nearly) we caught the bus back home and got some groceries at Aldi's to tie us over for the weekend.  Another well-spent day.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Scotland - Thursday and Friday

Thursday 12 October, 2017

High on our list 'to visit' was also Rosslyn Chapel, south of Edinburgh and still within easy reach by bus.  Actually, it was quite a pleasant trip as it showed us the outer suburbs of Edinburgh and a bit of the country.  We stepped off the bus at Roslin village.  It didn't take too long, but I am sure it would have been a lot shorter by car as the bus seems to stop every 100m or so.  Patricia commented: "We wouldn't even be allowed to place our geocaches so close!"  :-)  But, as I said, it was not unpleasant at all.

As usual I can't help but take a few pictures on the way:

In Edinburgh walking to the next bus stop

A new housing estate somewhere along the route

A crow on top of the bus stop next to my window

a restaurant in Roslin village

At the chapel we had a look around in the gift shop, as you do, and there I found my Scotland souvenir: a pin cushion embroidery kit with the stylised picture of a rose, the type that is carved in stone.

Next we walked over to the chapel, and if we weren't already blown over outside, we certainly were inside.  The carvings in stone were phenomenal and many.  As the chapel was built in the 15th century, at a time when many people couldn't read or write, the carvings told the stories.

We were not allowed to take pictures inside, but I have taken a few photographs of available information at the gift shop.

One more thing to be said about the chapel is, that not only has it been quite well-known for some time, but the filming of Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, has attracted more visitors than ever before, and another reason for a visit was, that Patricia is working on a paper model of the chapel as well.

painting of the chapel being built

example of the stone carvings

view onto the valley

pictures of the interior carvings

We had our picnic lunch on a bench in the grounds of the chapel and a cup of coffee at the coffee shop (part of the gift shop). On the way back, near the road signs, we found a cache as well:

#1759 - Lest we forget - Roslin

After that we walked back to the bus stop and chatted with a few other tourists, mainly from America, because the wait for the bus was a long one.  (The first one didn't turn up.)

The type of bus we travel on here

In town we had to change busses again in Princes Street and on our walk we felt like an icecream, so we sat down and enjoyed a quiet moment.  We didn't get fish and chips, but this was what the sign said:

However, the iceceam was excellent too, very creamy! Yummy.

When nearing our accommodation I finally got the change to take pictures of the unit again.  The first lot didn't happen, because of my camera problems.

The third balcony up on the right

If I remember I will take a few pictures of the interior later, but not too many, as it is not my own house...

Friday 13 October, 2017

As today was a rest day again we didn't do a lot.  Some reading and a few sudokus and that was about it.  In the afternoon we went out for a walk.  Patricia was going to check out the shops at Fountain Park, which appeared to be not shops but a gym.  I walked across to Gorgie road, walked quite a long bit of it, with the intention to walk all the way to the city and take the bus back, but it was quite warm and I wasn't dressed for it, nor did I have the right shoes for long distance walking, so I thought the better of it.  Walked to the canal instead, and nearly walked into Patricia who was on her way home.  We walked to the canal together and made our way home from there.  I definitely was not wearing the right clothes as the sleeves of my jacket were soaking wet inside!

the path along the canal

Scotland - Tuesday and Wednesday

Tuesday October 10, 2017

One moment I am up to date with my blog and the next we're 4 days down the track and I haven't even had time to look at it!

Will try and do a quick update.

On Tuesday we had our 'surprise' visit to Alva. Can't remember if I mentioned it earlier, but if so, skip the next bit. ;-)

A few months ago someone asked me a question on my Witch's Cottage blog and I had not been able to respond.  I did so just before we hopped on the plane in Denmark and I happened to mention that I was on my way to Edinburgh.  Now, we didn't know each other from a bar of soap, but.... I get a message back that says: "Edinburgh??? My husband worked there for 22 years and we live near Stirling.  We have to meet!"  So, we did!

Hazel and Gordon had arranged that they would pick us up for our visit as we don't have a car here.  They were lovely people.  Gordon took the road across the River Forth via the new bridge, so we could take pictures and next they showed a bit of the countryside and some interesting places.

The new bridge over the River Forth

I did not take in everything, because it was a lot and I am also hard of hearing, in particular in the back of a car, but I do remember we visited the ruins of the old Stein's distillery in Kennetpans (Clackmannan).  John Haig (Haig whiskey) apparently married a daughter of the Steins and their daughter married a Jameson and they started the Jameson Irish Whiskey company.

Ruins of the old distillery

I have taken things a bit out of order, because before the distillery we visit The Royal Burgh of Culross, a pictoresque cobble-stoned little village with yellow painted houses and a palace. There is this beautiful old building with a sign in front which is a real tease for me: it advertises the exhibition of Outlander photos.  You may not realise it, but I am a big fan of Outlander.  I have read all the books and watched the first two seasons.  And, it was not until I was writing this blog, that I found out the significance of Culross!  The palace was filmed as Cranesmuir where Geillis lived (in Outlander) and the gardens doubled as Claire's herb garden at Castle Leoch.  Oh, I would love to go back and visit the palace to have a look inside....

The Outland sign outside the building

Culross Palace

And before Culross we drove past the old limekilns at Dunfermline.  I could not take any pictures, but have pinched one of the internet (as you do!)

Our last stop before we were at Hazel and Gordon's home was Sauchie Tower. Follow the link if you want to find out more about it.  Scotland is steeped in history and I would love to spend more time here to see and do more.  Perhaps one day I will find another home exchange.  One can only live in hope...

Sauchie Tower
And then we arrive at Alva.  Of course the first thing we do is look at Hazel's dollshouses and miniatures.  I haven't taken pictures of everything, but did get one of her treehouse.  Unfortunately my camera has been playing up of late and I didn't have pictures on the memory card that I was sure I had taken.  Some you can't go back to do it again...

She is also in the process of building a copy of the limekilns we have seen earlier.  That photograph is missing too.  Such a shame.

Other pictures I do have is of Hazel and me and of Gordon's amazing brick collection.  Besides that he has a stamp collection with stamp albums filling every nook and cranny of the house and also registration plates of all the 50 States in the USA and a collection of model trucks.  The mind boggles. :-)

Hazel and Marion

Gorden and part of his brick collection
Gordon is the perfect host and makes coffee and lunch for us, and before we know it it's time to leave again.  We drive past, and drop in, a huge craft store, but I am able to keep my purse firmly closed (!) and then it's onwards to Edinburgh.  One more stop at Falkirk for The Kelpies though:

Going home is a bit slow because of peak hour traffic, but we get there eventually and have to say goodbye to our lovely hosts.  

For dinner we have a few frozen meals, so we don't have to go hungry for long.  I can dig into my, by now favorite, Haggis, with neeps and tatties.

Wednesday, 11 October, 2017

I can be short.  Wednesday was a day of rest, and besides, I can't remember if we did anything special.  I doubt it.... ;-)