Thursday, 19 September 2013

More of Scotland!

On Tuesday we all folded ourselves up into Murray's wee car - eventually.  We had planned to leave at 9.30am, but a car puncture meant it was more like 11am before we hit the road!  First stop was the Forth of Firth, which I always call the Forth of Fife cause I can never remember.  We had our photos taken by the worlds largest Suspension Bridge - the only one of its kind and pretty world famous.  It's a full time job year round just painting the large rail bridge!  AFTER informing us that the road bridge was about to have another one built as it is structurally unsound..THEN Murray drove us over it, cheerfully telling us how sometimes it moves in the wind.  Thanks Murray.  Great tour guide!  

Then it was a stop in Dunfermline, famous for being the resting place of 7 royals, the most well known being King Robert the Bruce.  Our ancestor, James Douglas, was best mates and warrior alongside King Robert, and upon the King's death, he had the important job of carrying his heart home to be buried.  He was killed doing it, but hey - that's our ancestors claim to fame: Famous by association!  It's a beautiful little town though, we had a lovely pub meal in the appropriately named "7 Kings".  

 We were a bit cheeky and manage d a quick sneek peek into the beautiful old Abby without coughing up money.  It was built around 1147 - just a wee bit old!  On the way back to the car, we wandered through the beautiful park gardens nearby, where we were delighted to find squirrels everywhere darting around.  They never fail to be cute, even if they are meant to be pests!

Next it was up to Stirling to see the Wallace Monument.  We didn't go inside, I had done it years ago and it's not the cheapest of places.  But we did do the hike up the mountain to the in my high heel shoes!!! American tourists coming down exclaimed at me " are you in HEELS?!" - it wasn't the most appropriate attire...but hey, I looked good right!  On the way down, I went barefoot on the road - numb toes but a lot easier!  

 Then it was off to Bannockburn, where a very famous battle between the English and the Scottish was won by the Scottish in their bid for freedom.  The Scottish had the high ground, and the English had to cross marshy swamp areas to get to them - the horses drowned and so did the soldiers.  Clever Scots!  They were actually closed due to upgrades being done....but we had come 12,500 miles to see this so they let us have a very quick snapshot by the monument!

Lastly we drove past Linlithgow Palace, a beautiful ruin in a lovely wee town.  It was closed by this time, otherwise we would have gone in - it is a lovely ruin to wander through and situated right on the edge of a beautiful lake. 

We finished the day off with a shared meal at the home where dad, Steph and Josh are staying - it was so yummy and 3 courses! whew!  I could get used to this...

me with Murray and his mum Jean

feeding the squirrals in Princes St Gardens

Scot Monument - its pretty awesome and we went up to the top

The Royal Mile and Old Town from Scot Monument

Carlton Hill and Princes St ( the main drag)

St Giles Cathedral - my fav spot on the Royal Mile

A typical close (close together st!) in Old Town
 The next day we visited the Museum of Edinburgh and had a good wander around.  Daniel and Danielle were with us for this trip, which was really fun, just hanging out and chatting as we checked it all out.

Josh makes a lovely masked woman?!

Then we headed over to catch our tour of Mary Kings Close, one of the famous buried streets under the Royal Mile and Old Town.  It is now completely underground and is very interesting to wander through and hear the history about.  They tell you lots of stories about the residents, the plague, the way of life and the different lifestyles of the rich and poor.  We heard about how the bucket (toilet) was only allowed to be emptied at 7am and 10pm, and would literally just be biffed out the window and the mess left to run down the hill on the street...straight into the lake at the bottom: Edinburgh's water source.  No wonder they didn't drink the water in those days!!! Now the lake is the lush Princes St wonder it looks so green!  Poor Stephanie did not cope well with the vivid descriptions of the plague symptoms, and ended up being escorted out of the tour.  Our  tour guide called for "a pickup from the plague room" which had us all giggling a little, but poor Steph. 
 Felt for her - she didn't come right for a long time, and ended up sitting outside Daniel's flat later on for fresh air, with a blanket over her knee.  She looked just like a squatter in the hall, so we all filed past her and dropped pennies in a cup, making her laugh despite her discomfort.  She did join us for dinner, we had a really nice chilled out meal at their flat, watching comedy and just chatting.  It was so nice to hang out with Daniel and Danielle.  I will miss them when I leave.  For now, that is me - I am off now to visit the Palace so more to blog later I am sure! 

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