Sunday, November 10, 2013


My apologies for not posting about my Scottish adventures earlier, but I've spent most of a month mollifying William of Yarmouth because he didn't go on this trip.  English bears, it seems, are not altogether welcome north of Hadrian's Wall.  That had something to do with Bonnie Prince Charlie and a little difference of opinion back in 1745. 

So back in September, Caro, Karl and I headed off to Edinburgh via first rate flights connecting through Houston and Newark.  Here I am enjoying a sip of Champagne before heading "across the pond" as they say.  I must say seating is much improved since the day we spent so much time flying to Vienna and such. 

We arrived in the Land of the Picts early in the morning, British Summer Time or seven hours off our internal clocks.  Since the hotel room wasn't yet available, we dropped off luggage, had a breakfast, and then set out for a stroll in the Scottish sunshine.  In the end we toured a lovely old graveyard and hiked up Calton Hill with its excellent views out over the city -- a wonderful way to get oriented to the city's features.  Here we are with the Edinburgh Castle in the background.  The prominent steeple is St. Gile's Cathedral.

When we returned from our walkabout, the room was ready and we found that the view from the sixth floor looked straight out at the hill we had just climbed.  The tall structure is the Nelson Monument, which has a peculiar ball on top of it that drops precisely at the stroke of 1:00 pm.  It was designed to let ships in the harbor know what time it was and they could set their chronometers. 

Our first dinner in Scotland was after a late afternoon stroll up High Street.  Caro ordered the ham and mushy peas appetizer.  Yumm!

The next day we climbed up to Edinburgh Castle and toured around inside and up on the battlements.  Here I am on the largest canon, Mons Meg. 

And here I am atop the battlements.  

We had a lovely luncheon at the castle's cafeteria and then strolled back to the Balmoral Hotel for a lie-down followed by dinner and then a wee dram of whisky. 

More to come as we explore the Royal Botanic Gardens in our next installment.