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Monday, January 2, 2012

Exploring Edinburgh

We allotted 4 days to “base camp” in Edinburgh.  We stayed in The Sherwood Guest House near downtown.  It was the perfect location for us.  The bus stop was just steps from the front door and for about a $1.50 we could go directly to the heart of city center.  

The plan was 3 days of sight-seeing and one day trip out of town.  But we ended up sleeping most of the first day! 

The Sherwood has a nice dining room with a computer available to use free after breakfast is finished. 

And they service a true continental breakfast with cold meats, cheese, pastries, fresh fruit and cereal.  It was a welcome break from the albeit delicious but heavy ‘cooked breakfasts’ served in all the B&Bs. 

On my ‘life list’ was “ride a double decker bus”.  Checked that one off in Edinburgh.  There are multiple companies offering on-off tours and they all have to queue up in the same place.  The offered tours are slightly different with slightly different prices… so check out the brochures before you chose your bus.  We picked Mac Tours. 

Up the tiny spiral stairway to the top of the bus…with a polite reminder not to bash your head as you did so!

And away we went with a tour guide telling us about the places we were passing. 

Some of the streets were ordinary streets.

And others held a piece of history.  This was the home of Sir Walter Scott (author of “Ivanhoe”, “Rob Roy”, and many others).

Close by is the Scott Monument, finished in 1844.  Himself climbed the 287 steps to the top.  He said the view was fantastic from there.  I waited and people-watched at the base. 

There was this statue of medical missionary Dr. David Livingston (he of the “Dr. Livingston, I presume?” quote). 
We passed by many interesting buildings…

This is the National Monument (the columns) and the (Vice Admiral Horatio) Nelson Monument on the hill and in the foreground is the train station.

This is Arthur’s Seat; an 822 foot rocky crag only a mile from downtown Edinburgh.  People like to hike up to the top for the fantastic views. 

We visited the lovely St. Giles cathedral.  It’s about 900 years old and is the main place of worship in Edinburgh for the Church of Scotland.  It is a beautiful church and I wish I hadn’t been in a snit and refused to pay a fee (that I thought too high) to photograph the interior. 

High Street… shopping overload!!! 

Blocks and blocks of shops with anything you can think of to buy – and a few things you would have NEVER thought of…

I was able to finish up my Christmas shopping on this street.  Came out of this store with a pretty good sized bag… 

Besides the shops, there were vendors set up on the street.  This is what I really enjoy; the local artist.  This man did incredible watercolors as he sat with his paintings.

Of course I came home with one…

We were worn out after our day of exploring.  Since another thing on my ‘life list’ was to take a ride on one of those cute little British black cabs, we caught one at the bus drop-off.  Fun and so much easier than trying to figure out just which city bus went BACK to our guest house while wrestling with the shopping bags (yes Dave… I hit the tourist shops!  LOL). 

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