Archive for November, 2016

Scotland Post #8

After our visit to the museum, it was onwards toward the castle!

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Our guide gave us a brief introduction to the castle, we heard the one o’clock gun, and then we were on our own for the rest of the day. We toured all of the buildings on the castle property. This is the entrance to the crown jewels (no photos of the jewels were allowed):

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And this is in the royal apartments. Mary, Queen of Scots gave birth here. Her son James was the king of both Scotland and England, which is a big deal in Scottish history.

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Scotland Post #7

The next stop on our tour Thursday morning was the National Museum of Scotland. Big, fun, and free! Our time was limited, so we did a little in the history of Scotland section…

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…check out all those tartans!

And check out these airplanes in the technology section!

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Scotland Post #6

When we were finished in the Princes Street Gardens, we headed into Old Town Edinburgh (Remember that New Town means 18th century; I think Old Town means 15th century)

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In Edinburgh the streets and alleys are called wynds and closes. We paused in the Writers’ Close, where we learned about the most famous writers of Scotland–Robert Louis Stevenson, Robert Burns, and Sir Walter Scott.

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Day 1 ended with a group dinner.  We left with immediately after dessert, with the other 2 people also flew in that day.  Rick Steves recommends that you arrive in Europe a few days before your tour starts, but Marjorie’s work schedule typically does not allow that.  So we were exhausted at the end of day 1 and slept like a log.

Day 2 began with another walking tour; we were on our way to Edinburgh Castle.

IMG_4362 Edinburgh Castle//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

In Edinburgh there are statues for everything. I don’t even remember what this one is for:


But this one is my favorite. I’m kind of partial to bears.

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It’s a monument to Polish soldiers who have fought for The Crown. The bear’s name is Wojtek, and our guide (confirmed by Wikipedia) told us that Wojtek served with Polish armed forces in WWII before retiring to the Edinburgh zoo.

Wojtek sits adjacent to the Princes Street Gardens, where our tour will continue…

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Scotland Post #4

Naptime on Wednesday was just under 2 hours.  And then it was time to meet the tour group!  We had a little intro meeting in the B+B.  Rick Steves tours use the buddy system; you pick a buddy that you’ve never met before, and then we do a buddy check before moving on to the next destination.  My buddy was the lady sitting next to me, and she ended up being a pharmacy technician at the pharmacy closest to Marjorie’s first apartment, about a mile from the house she grew up in.  Small world.

Then we set off on a walking tour of Edinburgh’s new town.  It’s called new town, but “new” refers to 1740.  A Georgian planned community with gridded blocks and row homes.

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Here’s our tour group. Travel tip: whilst on walking tours, sit down at every opportunity, because there won’t be a lot of chances.

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Scotland Post #3

After falling asleep on a park bench, we headed to a pair of museums that would not be visited by our tour group.

First was the National Gallery of Scotland:


It was a nice little collection, but nowhere near as impressive as London’s National Gallery. Glad it was free.

Then we went to the National Portrait Gallery. It seemed disrespectful to take photos, so they’re aren’t any. But the museum visit provided a nice overview of Scottish history. A great way to put a face to some of the names our guide would mention later in the tour.

And after the two art galleries, it was almost time for our room to be ready!  A nap is coming!  Did I mention that jetlag stinks?


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Scotland Post #2

When we got to Edinburgh, we took an affordable bus from the airport to our B&B.  As expected, our room was not ready this early in the morning, so we dropped off our luggage and set out on foot to explore Edinburgh.  Sightseeing priorities are attractions that will not be included as part of the tour.  Our first stop was an “urban hike” described in the Rick Steves guidebook in Holyrood Park.

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We didn’t make it to the top of the peak because we were way too sleepy! Jetlag stinks. So we sat on a rock to ponder this for a while:


That’s St Anthony’s chapel. It’s at least 600 years old (there’s a record from 1426 of the Pope donating money for repairs)!

There’s a point when resting on a rock becomes sleeping like a vagabond in the park. We moved on when we reached that point.

See you later!

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I’m back! Again! I’ve been absent for a while because my house has been lacking a high-speed internet connection. But that changed today! So, in celebration, you get a photo.

IMG_4333 Edinburgh Airport

Hi! I’m Merida. In a previous life, I went on a grand adventure with my mother, fighting bears and stuff. Disney/Pixar made a movie about it. You should watch it. But now I am made of plastic and spend most of my life inside Marjorie’s pocket. But on the 20th of September, Marjorie took me on a grand adventure to Scotland on a Rick Steves tour. And now she is letting me tell you about it. This is the first photo; it’s me at the Edinburgh airport. We flew from Seattle via JFK and arrived at 9am on Wednesday, September 21st.

Stay tuned for more…

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