Wednesday, June 13, 2012

United Kingdom / Edinburgh

The second city I visited in the United Kingdom was Edinburgh, Scotland. Below is a panorama view of the city, looking south from the top floor of the Scott Monument.
The train station was under construction, it was not clear how to exit the platform or if I had to pass through a wicket to get out to the city.  It turned out I just exited, no ticket checks and this, Waverley Steps turned out to be my exit from the station.
The city is really easy to get around.  Within 20 minutes of exiting the train, I found Bobby's Bar, the place I would have dinner later in the day.
This is Bobby, this dog watched over his masters grave for 14 years until his death in 1872... or so the story goes.
Southeast side of downtown is Holyrood Park which is mostly this small mountain hill.
I wanted to reach the summit but the trailhead of the path you see above starts to the left.  Then wraps around the side of the mountain about half way up to the summit.  After you turn around the back side the path returns back to ground level.  I think there is a way to get to the summit but I was to lazy to figure that out, I basically walked half way up the hill twice.
Below is Scott Monument, named after Sir Walter Scott.
Below is anther view looking out from Scott Monument, this is looking west.
It's about 300 steps to the top of Scott Monument.
You could tell this thing was really old.  Parts of the staircase was less wide than me.
The day I decided to visit Edinburgh Castle was the day the spring rain caught up with me.  Not much I could do about that.
It seems like every corner of the city was some large hill, staircase or combination of the two that after climbing up you can get a great view of the city. This is true for the castle too.
Above is a view of the main court yard.  I got to the castle around 9:30 and had to wait in line for about 20 minutes.  I thought that kind of sucked until the time when I left and the line was 4 times longer than when I got there.
Above is the great hall.
The hall is outlined with great stain glass windows.
Above is a small chapel of St. Margaret on the castle grounds. It is also the oldest building in Edinburgh. Dates back to 1124.
Across the city from the castle is Old Calton Cemetery.  In the center of the Cemetery is a statue of Abraham Lincoln, this was erected in 1893.
Above is the statue outside of St. Giles' Cathedral, seen in the background.
Unlike St. Paul's Cathedral in London which prohibits taking photos, St. Giles' is all for it.  All you have to do is purchase a two pound camera pass and you are free to go camera crazy.
It was nice not to be prosecuted by the catholic church for taking photo's inside the cathedral...
The church is beautiful too, some parts of the building dates back to the mid-1300's.
All over is really intricate stone, wood and glass work everywhere.
Also all over the church was royal flags, not sure which family each flag belonged too.
Near where I stayed in Edinburgh was a pub called Sandy Bell's.  Below is some music played by locals at the pub, recored with Ipod Touch.  This seemed very Irish too me, like pubs in Chicago.

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