Thursday, March 11, 2010


Sean Connery, born in Edinburgh, Shcotland shpeaks funny. I went to Edinburgh, and it turns out that everyone up there shpeaks funny. But they are harder to understand than our favorite Bond hero...

An obligatory shot of Sean Connery, courtesy of wikipedia, looking funny.

But eventually, I moved on past the funny talk, helped in part by the fact that I was up here to visit Katy and Conor (stars of such previous adventures as South America and Antarctica about a year ago), and they have not so far picked up the Shcottish accent (and likely never will, as they are apparently moving to London soon):

They look reasonably serious and responsible after almost a full year wandering about South America - there's hope for me yet!

And then, of course, there's Edinburgh, Scottish capital, itself - it's a beautiful old city (much like everyone back in London had told me), and an immediate contrast to London, being almost intimately cozy, easy to get around, and filled with ancient buildings wherever you look - London, by contrast, is a bit schizophrenic with its constant mixture of old and new. There's also no Underground in Edinburgh... What there is in Edinburgh is a medieval architect's paradise:

Ok, maybe not actually medieval, but the buildings are either a few centuries old, or built to look like they are

The St. Giles Cathedral, in gathering dusk here, is from the Middle Ages - oldest parts of the building date back to the 12th century

My favorite site in the city though was the Sir Walter Scott Memorial - a towering and imposing Gothic structure in the middle of town

That's just me though (apparently) - certainly the most famous site in Edinburgh is the Edinburgh Castle, sitting resolutely above the city

Sunset over the Castle and the city

Snow-covered mountains encircle the city - also earning bonus points for the place!

This is the newly re-established Scottish Parliament (returning after a 300 year hiatus). It's clearly housed in a rather modern building - I don't know what to make of it, but I don't think it fits in with the surroundings!

Roaming around Edinburgh, I, at one point, ventured into the tourist information center. They had post cards, and here, I learned that a few miles North of Edinburgh lay another site to behold - the Forth Bridge. Completed in 1890, it is apparently often referred to as "the one internationally recognized Scottish landmark." Naturally, I had to go see, it's even lit up at night, so I recruited Katy and Conor to take a drive out there, see the bridge, and have a drink at a bar where Robert Louis Stevenson, of Treasure Island (the book) fame, apparently used to hang out some 130 years ago.

The bridge at night. I was intrigued

Intrigued enough in fact that I made my way back to South Queensferry the next afternoon to see the bridge during the day

To see and to photograph, of course

It is still an actively used railroad bridge - the train, presumably, does not hail from 1890.

And that, sadly, finished my two days in Scotland, so I hopped on an overnight bus to head back to London. The bus reminded me of bus journeys in Bolivia a bit (which is never a good thing!), but only a bit. To be fair, I had wanted to take the train, however...
bus ticket: £14.50
train ticket, advance purchase: £47.50
train ticket, same day, after the rail network website refused to accept my American credit card: £107.
Well, that made the decision in favor of the Megabus pretty easy, and no amount of Bolivia memories was going to make me regret that choice! And a few hours around London later, it was off to one last stop before coming back to Seattle: Iceland!

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