impulsereader: (Edinburgh map)
Trip Report Edinburgh - April 2012 - Coda to Holyrood Palace

So, for those of you just joining me, it actually isn’t that much of an adjustment if you’ve browsed my photos of Chicago. Set loose with a camera I do the same thing in any city.

I hadn’t meant to visit Holyrood, it was only on the maybe list. Circumstances made it a good choice. It was one of the few places I had to pay admission for. It was worth it.

The audio guide was included in the admission, so it was a slightly surreal experience which morphed slightly once I emerged into the ruins of the Abbey and the Gardens.

Pictures happened. Lots and lots of pictures...
On with the trip )
impulsereader: (Edinburgh map)
Trip Report Edinburgh - April 2012 - Coda to Holyrood Palace

So, for those of you just joining me, it actually isn’t that much of an adjustment if you’ve browsed my photos of Chicago. Set loose with a camera I do the same thing in any city.

I hadn’t meant to visit Holyrood, it was only on the maybe list. Circumstances made it a good choice. It was one of the few places I had to pay admission for. It was worth it.

The audio guide was included in the admission, so it was a slightly surreal experience which morphed slightly once I emerged into the ruins of the Abbey and the Gardens.

Pictures happened. Lots and lots of pictures...
On with the trip )
impulsereader: (Edinburgh map)
For those of you just joining me recently this will be completely out of the blue as well as stupidly out of order. Please forgive. I owe myself a finished trip report...

Edinburgh trip report - early April 2012 - Day 3 - Edinburgh Castle

What a gorgeous day this turned out to be. I really should have gone into the Pentlands, which I had scheduled for Day 4, but Day 2 dawned sunny as well and quickly clouded over so how was I to know?

So, the Castle. It looms over the city on this massive mountain of rock. I keep taking pictures of it, hoping to show how epic it is but it just doesn’t manage to translate onto the comparatively miniscule screen on the back of my camera. Similarly, the views from the Castle are unbelievable and difficult to translate to screen.

One of the interesting things is that the buildings up there don’t look very - castley - to me, and this is hilarious because there was an exhibit which I absolutely could not get any pics of because it was in a closed in, dark room that simply defied my camera - but it was all about remodeling the castle buildings - and a couple of the proposed ideas were quite epically castley. In the end none of the plans were adopted. As they stand, the buildings are fairly square and practical, barracks-like. I approached the Castle through Princes’ Street Gardens and part of the cemetery attached to St. John’s.
On with the Castle )
impulsereader: (Edinburgh map)
For those of you just joining me recently this will be completely out of the blue as well as stupidly out of order. Please forgive. I owe myself a finished trip report...

Edinburgh trip report - early April 2012 - Day 3 - Edinburgh Castle

What a gorgeous day this turned out to be. I really should have gone into the Pentlands, which I had scheduled for Day 4, but Day 2 dawned sunny as well and quickly clouded over so how was I to know?

So, the Castle. It looms over the city on this massive mountain of rock. I keep taking pictures of it, hoping to show how epic it is but it just doesn’t manage to translate onto the comparatively miniscule screen on the back of my camera. Similarly, the views from the Castle are unbelievable and difficult to translate to screen.

One of the interesting things is that the buildings up there don’t look very - castley - to me, and this is hilarious because there was an exhibit which I absolutely could not get any pics of because it was in a closed in, dark room that simply defied my camera - but it was all about remodeling the castle buildings - and a couple of the proposed ideas were quite epically castley. In the end none of the plans were adopted. As they stand, the buildings are fairly square and practical, barracks-like. I approached the Castle through Princes’ Street Gardens and part of the cemetery attached to St. John’s.
On with the Castle )
impulsereader: (Default)
On the plane to Edinburgh they came around with newspapers, and I took a Scotsman for atmosphere. I learned that we – americans - think Scotland wants to nuke us.

Seriously. A Carnegie-financed think-tank is spouting nonsense about an independent Scotland being dangerous because the UK’s nuclear weapons are all contained within submarines based out of Scotland. Andrew Carnegie, by the way, was born in Scotland.

A quote from the article: “A veteran US Congressional defence analyst recently suggested that an "aggressively neutral" independent Scotland "might not be too good" for American defence.”

What the heck is wrong with these people? We are the only ones who have ever nuked anybody. We are so not allowed to accuse Scotland, of all places, of contemplating nuclear shenanigans. And what does ‘aggresively neutral’ mean? How can you be aggressively neutral? I mean, you could drape the entire country in beige canvas I suppose, but that seems a little impractical as well as aggressive.

Just - the impression that the fact that Scotland is currently part of Great Britain is the only thing keeping them from going rogue and bombing us is so completely bizarre. I got this mental image of a couple politicians just rubbing their hands together over the fact that once they are free to govern themselves the first thing they're going to do is break out the nuclear subs and take out america; the only decision left to be made is which state to aim at first.

The Carnegie Natural History Museum in Pittsburgh is a fantastic museum. Though there is absolutely nothing else to do in Pittsburgh, the trip is worth it for this museum alone. The Carnegie think-tank for international peace (or similar, I can’t be bothered to google it again) is completely cracked.

My favorite part of all of this, though, is the fact that at the end of the article there’s some sentiment akin to – Guys, getting rid of those submarines and nuclear weapons off our shores is just another really good reason to seek independence, chill.

So these think-tank people have clearly never, ever actually been in Scotland; a country where every place serving breakfast has papers out for patrons to peruse while they eat, simply everyone has a happy, muddy dog with them everywhere they go, and all the best museums and galleries offer free admission. I propose that anyone advising anything related to world peace should have actually traveled to some foreign countries before anyone takes them seriously.
impulsereader: (Default)
On the plane to Edinburgh they came around with newspapers, and I took a Scotsman for atmosphere. I learned that we – americans - think Scotland wants to nuke us.

Seriously. A Carnegie-financed think-tank is spouting nonsense about an independent Scotland being dangerous because the UK’s nuclear weapons are all contained within submarines based out of Scotland. Andrew Carnegie, by the way, was born in Scotland.

A quote from the article: “A veteran US Congressional defence analyst recently suggested that an "aggressively neutral" independent Scotland "might not be too good" for American defence.”

What the heck is wrong with these people? We are the only ones who have ever nuked anybody. We are so not allowed to accuse Scotland, of all places, of contemplating nuclear shenanigans. And what does ‘aggresively neutral’ mean? How can you be aggressively neutral? I mean, you could drape the entire country in beige canvas I suppose, but that seems a little impractical as well as aggressive.

Just - the impression that the fact that Scotland is currently part of Great Britain is the only thing keeping them from going rogue and bombing us is so completely bizarre. I got this mental image of a couple politicians just rubbing their hands together over the fact that once they are free to govern themselves the first thing they're going to do is break out the nuclear subs and take out america; the only decision left to be made is which state to aim at first.

The Carnegie Natural History Museum in Pittsburgh is a fantastic museum. Though there is absolutely nothing else to do in Pittsburgh, the trip is worth it for this museum alone. The Carnegie think-tank for international peace (or similar, I can’t be bothered to google it again) is completely cracked.

My favorite part of all of this, though, is the fact that at the end of the article there’s some sentiment akin to – Guys, getting rid of those submarines and nuclear weapons off our shores is just another really good reason to seek independence, chill.

So these think-tank people have clearly never, ever actually been in Scotland; a country where every place serving breakfast has papers out for patrons to peruse while they eat, simply everyone has a happy, muddy dog with them everywhere they go, and all the best museums and galleries offer free admission. I propose that anyone advising anything related to world peace should have actually traveled to some foreign countries before anyone takes them seriously.
impulsereader: (Edinburgh map)
This morning I walked to the port of Leith in the pouring rain, ended up at the shopping mall - at the Costa no less - to dry out over a pot of tea (and the help of a blow dryer) and wished I had more bags to take things home because the Ness store here had lots of lovely things on sale. I then took a flying tour of Cramond by virtue of my hostess; who, despite having three single women staying in her three apartments, seemed to think I must be a bit bereft on my own. But in the end it worked out because I contrived to be dropped off around Holyrood Palace, which hadn’t appeared on my must-do list but turned out to be unmissable.

Read more )
impulsereader: (Edinburgh map)
This morning I walked to the port of Leith in the pouring rain, ended up at the shopping mall - at the Costa no less - to dry out over a pot of tea (and the help of a blow dryer) and wished I had more bags to take things home because the Ness store here had lots of lovely things on sale. I then took a flying tour of Cramond by virtue of my hostess; who, despite having three single women staying in her three apartments, seemed to think I must be a bit bereft on my own. But in the end it worked out because I contrived to be dropped off around Holyrood Palace, which hadn’t appeared on my must-do list but turned out to be unmissable.

Read more )
impulsereader: (Edinburgh map)
To blow away my facade, here are my hilarious efforts to begin this trip report compliments of google docs.


I am in Scotland, spectacularly jet lagged, and typing on a keyboard with a wonky left shift and - wait for it - Enter key. This is going to be very, very bad for a few days.

I really so prefer traveling to \j - see? that’s going to just keep happening - Japan because you arrive just in time for dinner which you don’t need because you’re stuffed full of airplane food which is just adequate enough that you’ve given in and eaten it, and then you can go to bed. Yes, the flight is ridiculously long, but you are allowed to collapse at the end of it. Here, I walked much too far, was shown around, have sat in a hot bath, raided the guide books and dvds, begun this - and it isn’t even noon. I’ve been awake long enough that \i don’t want to find out exactly how long it’s been and \i could crash at any point. Annoying that shift thing, isn’t it?

So I walked too far because - as usual - I got a bit turned around the first couple of tries, but luckily at least …

One nap and 13,865 steps later, I’m back, to start at the beginning.



Another delightful false start. Now it’s nearly 2am local time and I’ve napped and am up again. Maybe it’s hard to start the proper trip report because I’ve walked about ten miles today but not actually seen anything as other than a drive-by.


Flying sucks. Stupid necessary evil!

mummies
conan doyle
impulsereader: (Edinburgh map)
To blow away my facade, here are my hilarious efforts to begin this trip report compliments of google docs.


I am in Scotland, spectacularly jet lagged, and typing on a keyboard with a wonky left shift and - wait for it - Enter key. This is going to be very, very bad for a few days.

I really so prefer traveling to \j - see? that’s going to just keep happening - Japan because you arrive just in time for dinner which you don’t need because you’re stuffed full of airplane food which is just adequate enough that you’ve given in and eaten it, and then you can go to bed. Yes, the flight is ridiculously long, but you are allowed to collapse at the end of it. Here, I walked much too far, was shown around, have sat in a hot bath, raided the guide books and dvds, begun this - and it isn’t even noon. I’ve been awake long enough that \i don’t want to find out exactly how long it’s been and \i could crash at any point. Annoying that shift thing, isn’t it?

So I walked too far because - as usual - I got a bit turned around the first couple of tries, but luckily at least …

One nap and 13,865 steps later, I’m back, to start at the beginning.



Another delightful false start. Now it’s nearly 2am local time and I’ve napped and am up again. Maybe it’s hard to start the proper trip report because I’ve walked about ten miles today but not actually seen anything as other than a drive-by.


Flying sucks. Stupid necessary evil!

mummies
conan doyle
impulsereader: (Edinburgh map)
Right - first, breakfast was yummy.



On Monday I visited the Scottish National Gallery and the Scottish National Museum, neither of which I thought allowed pictures, but now I think the Museum actually does. I really wish places would put the little pictogram for either ‘no photography’ or ‘no flash photography’ on the map that most people pick up on their way into places. I was absolutely sure the Portrait Gallery couldn’t possibly allow photography, but the only way I could confirm it was to find the one sign at the entrance which stated that. I also hit the Museum on the Mound on this day and the cemetery across the way from Pilrig Park.

Read more )
impulsereader: (Edinburgh map)
Right - first, breakfast was yummy.



On Monday I visited the Scottish National Gallery and the Scottish National Museum, neither of which I thought allowed pictures, but now I think the Museum actually does. I really wish places would put the little pictogram for either ‘no photography’ or ‘no flash photography’ on the map that most people pick up on their way into places. I was absolutely sure the Portrait Gallery couldn’t possibly allow photography, but the only way I could confirm it was to find the one sign at the entrance which stated that. I also hit the Museum on the Mound on this day and the cemetery across the way from Pilrig Park.

Read more )
impulsereader: (Edinburgh map)
Though it was Easter Sunday, the internet assured me the Stockbridge Farmers’ Market was taking place as scheduled, so – after making the belated realization that there was no bus until Noon-ish – I walked into Stockbridge.

On the way I encountered some picturesque sorts of things.

Lots of pictures under the cut, Stockbridge to the Royal Botanic Gardens )
impulsereader: (Edinburgh map)
Though it was Easter Sunday, the internet assured me the Stockbridge Farmers’ Market was taking place as scheduled, so – after making the belated realization that there was no bus until Noon-ish – I walked into Stockbridge.

On the way I encountered some picturesque sorts of things.

Lots of pictures under the cut, Stockbridge to the Royal Botanic Gardens )
impulsereader: (Edinburgh map)
As [livejournal.com profile] chloris perfectly pointed out, no one but I will know that any of this is out of order. Still, for my own sanity I’ll have a go at continuing. I must still have a look over my Castle entry as there’s something in there causing an error. I’ll plough ahead now though. When last I left you, I’d visited the Farmers’ Market, then had a good book-buying interlude followed by a leisurely, rather posh, and consequently overpriced ‘afternoon tea’ in the Tower Restaurant at the Scottish National Museum, causing me to be kicked out rather unceremoniously at five – closing time – and necessitating an additional museum added to my list of – go back later. Both the Portrait Gallery and the National Museum feature free admission, making this a viable option. Right across from the museum is Greyfriar’s Kirkyard. Perfect. As you will notice soon if you haven’t already, cemeteries are a draw for me, the light was beautiful, and there was no rain threatening to deluge my camera.

Greyfriar’s Kirkyard ahead )
impulsereader: (Edinburgh map)
As [livejournal.com profile] chloris perfectly pointed out, no one but I will know that any of this is out of order. Still, for my own sanity I’ll have a go at continuing. I must still have a look over my Castle entry as there’s something in there causing an error. I’ll plough ahead now though. When last I left you, I’d visited the Farmers’ Market, then had a good book-buying interlude followed by a leisurely, rather posh, and consequently overpriced ‘afternoon tea’ in the Tower Restaurant at the Scottish National Museum, causing me to be kicked out rather unceremoniously at five – closing time – and necessitating an additional museum added to my list of – go back later. Both the Portrait Gallery and the National Museum feature free admission, making this a viable option. Right across from the museum is Greyfriar’s Kirkyard. Perfect. As you will notice soon if you haven’t already, cemeteries are a draw for me, the light was beautiful, and there was no rain threatening to deluge my camera.

Greyfriar’s Kirkyard ahead )
impulsereader: (Edinburgh map)
To heck with chronological order. It is definitely time I posted something - anything at all. Today was my last day in Edinburgh - pronounced Edin-burr-uh, roughly - and I largely wandered. My vision for the day was to climb Blackford Hill, seek out goods made in Scotland, then take advantage of the National Portrait Gallery’s late day and finish up their second floor.

Early start - check. Climbing, not so much. My knee was playing up something fierce and instead of crying in front of total strangers and their happy, muddy dogs, I walked instead of ascending. Then it - everyone together - ‘started raining’ - so pics are limited; mud, not so much.

I have never in america seen so many happy dogs. Everyone who is out has a dog (or two), and most of the time the puppy is off the leash, running about, playing with other people’s dogs, flushing ducks, getting wet and/or muddy, and having a generally splendid time. Seeing happy puppies makes me happy as well, and I am perfectly happy to kick a ball even if I am not willing to get up close and personal with the wet and muddy fur.

Still limping along miserably, I motivated myself with the fact that I’d bought a day pass for the bus and managed to make it back out to the road. I had researched breakfast options and had spotted the place on the way out so knew where I was going. I did mean to picture my breakfast - a ‘baby’ version of the full Scottish - but only remembered once I was a few bites in. It never seems worth it to take a picture if it’s no longer pristine. In the end, I was glad I didn’t, this place was weird - or at least the staff was weird. The food was good - and I had planned to linger much longer due to the fact that I wasn’t eager to walk anywhere, but the place was small so I revised quickly, I hate to take up room if I think people are waiting or a place I like is losing out, but...in the short time I was there - they broke two pieces of porcelain, and a scone flew through the air towards me and onto the floor, out of the blue - the only reaction to all this destruction was laughter. I also did not get the orange juice promised with my menu selection, and had to wait to pay; first as a take-out customer waited by the till, then as the only available staff member - took an order - something no one had done since I had walked in, everyone was ordering at the till, so this was all very weird and I’m not sure I want to endorse the place. The food was good, it was just a really strange sort of feel this small room had.

Anyway, I took the bus back into the city, armed with a list of places which purportedly sell goods ‘made in Scotland’. This has been quite a challenge. As an idiot american said during my visit, ‘There are plaid scarves everywhere.’ And as I said to my hostess, ‘I would hate to bring back a bag of things made in China.’

It is expensive to manufacture things in Scotland. My hostess opines that there is great creativity, pottery creation, and weaving occurring in the Islands. Here in Edinburgh, a store that has lovely things, by the name of Ness, takes tartan which is created and woven in Scotland and sends it out to be made into purses and other goods at a price they can afford to pay and make a profit - is this ‘made in Scotland’ or not?. My hostess also relates that there is an unsavory element which has taken over some shops on the Royal Mile - unsurprising to my mind - over the last five to ten years. Foreigners, selling substandard goods - specifically kilts - driving the real shops out of business because they are selling ‘kilts’ at an unsupportable, and frankly ridiculous price point. Shades of Wal-Mart, anyone?

I’m going to end just that abruptly, because there is no neat answer to any of this. I have to get up to go to the airport in seven hours, and my kitties are reportedly impatiently tapping their little paws and checking their non-existent wrist-watches, awaiting my return. I have bought quite a few fabrics which I hope were actually made in Scotland so that said kitties can gleefully lay upon them as I protest that, ‘I was just about to...sigh...oh well...’ and before they can get there, these fabrics are mostly in charge of cushioning a couple bottles of whisky - sshhhh - don’t distract them...
impulsereader: (Edinburgh map)
To heck with chronological order. It is definitely time I posted something - anything at all. Today was my last day in Edinburgh - pronounced Edin-burr-uh, roughly - and I largely wandered. My vision for the day was to climb Blackford Hill, seek out goods made in Scotland, then take advantage of the National Portrait Gallery’s late day and finish up their second floor.

Early start - check. Climbing, not so much. My knee was playing up something fierce and instead of crying in front of total strangers and their happy, muddy dogs, I walked instead of ascending. Then it - everyone together - ‘started raining’ - so pics are limited; mud, not so much.

I have never in america seen so many happy dogs. Everyone who is out has a dog (or two), and most of the time the puppy is off the leash, running about, playing with other people’s dogs, flushing ducks, getting wet and/or muddy, and having a generally splendid time. Seeing happy puppies makes me happy as well, and I am perfectly happy to kick a ball even if I am not willing to get up close and personal with the wet and muddy fur.

Still limping along miserably, I motivated myself with the fact that I’d bought a day pass for the bus and managed to make it back out to the road. I had researched breakfast options and had spotted the place on the way out so knew where I was going. I did mean to picture my breakfast - a ‘baby’ version of the full Scottish - but only remembered once I was a few bites in. It never seems worth it to take a picture if it’s no longer pristine. In the end, I was glad I didn’t, this place was weird - or at least the staff was weird. The food was good - and I had planned to linger much longer due to the fact that I wasn’t eager to walk anywhere, but the place was small so I revised quickly, I hate to take up room if I think people are waiting or a place I like is losing out, but...in the short time I was there - they broke two pieces of porcelain, and a scone flew through the air towards me and onto the floor, out of the blue - the only reaction to all this destruction was laughter. I also did not get the orange juice promised with my menu selection, and had to wait to pay; first as a take-out customer waited by the till, then as the only available staff member - took an order - something no one had done since I had walked in, everyone was ordering at the till, so this was all very weird and I’m not sure I want to endorse the place. The food was good, it was just a really strange sort of feel this small room had.

Anyway, I took the bus back into the city, armed with a list of places which purportedly sell goods ‘made in Scotland’. This has been quite a challenge. As an idiot american said during my visit, ‘There are plaid scarves everywhere.’ And as I said to my hostess, ‘I would hate to bring back a bag of things made in China.’

It is expensive to manufacture things in Scotland. My hostess opines that there is great creativity, pottery creation, and weaving occurring in the Islands. Here in Edinburgh, a store that has lovely things, by the name of Ness, takes tartan which is created and woven in Scotland and sends it out to be made into purses and other goods at a price they can afford to pay and make a profit - is this ‘made in Scotland’ or not?. My hostess also relates that there is an unsavory element which has taken over some shops on the Royal Mile - unsurprising to my mind - over the last five to ten years. Foreigners, selling substandard goods - specifically kilts - driving the real shops out of business because they are selling ‘kilts’ at an unsupportable, and frankly ridiculous price point. Shades of Wal-Mart, anyone?

I’m going to end just that abruptly, because there is no neat answer to any of this. I have to get up to go to the airport in seven hours, and my kitties are reportedly impatiently tapping their little paws and checking their non-existent wrist-watches, awaiting my return. I have bought quite a few fabrics which I hope were actually made in Scotland so that said kitties can gleefully lay upon them as I protest that, ‘I was just about to...sigh...oh well...’ and before they can get there, these fabrics are mostly in charge of cushioning a couple bottles of whisky - sshhhh - don’t distract them...
impulsereader: (Edinburgh map)
Please forgive me if, at any point, you are someone who is trying to follow this chronologically. My post on Day 3 - when I visited Edinburgh Castle - is currently causing LJ to spit out an error. Out of frustration I posted the next installment which I’d already written to make sure I could post anything at all. I could. And since the last time I was amused by LJ correcting me - it turned out I was spelling ‘dalmatians’ incorrectly - well, I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt.

Day 5 got away from me just a little bit. The plan was to visit Edinburgh’s Farmers’ Market in the morning and the Scottish National Museum in the afternoon. A couple of things conspired to set me off schedule. My left knee had been seriously protesting all the down-hilling I had done on day 4 and it continued to do so all this day as well. This means I took a bus into the city and was moving quite a bit more slowly than usual. Also, disappointed at the dearth of used bookstores I was finding on my own - oh, I bought a copy of Tess of the D’ubervilles from a charity shop on day 2 - I had marked onto the map a shop which came up when I did a google search for the area I was going to be in for the market and museum. Now, I have no idea why only one dot came up, but there was a whole handful of good stores over there. I was moving slowly, but I managed to buy a lot of pretty, pretty books. Being delayed, I found myself being thrown out of the museum at five, making a second place I have to go back to before I leave. I did; however, walk through Greyfriar’s Kirkyard before I turned for home.
Read more )
impulsereader: (Edinburgh map)
Please forgive me if, at any point, you are someone who is trying to follow this chronologically. My post on Day 3 - when I visited Edinburgh Castle - is currently causing LJ to spit out an error. Out of frustration I posted the next installment which I’d already written to make sure I could post anything at all. I could. And since the last time I was amused by LJ correcting me - it turned out I was spelling ‘dalmatians’ incorrectly - well, I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt.

Day 5 got away from me just a little bit. The plan was to visit Edinburgh’s Farmers’ Market in the morning and the Scottish National Museum in the afternoon. A couple of things conspired to set me off schedule. My left knee had been seriously protesting all the down-hilling I had done on day 4 and it continued to do so all this day as well. This means I took a bus into the city and was moving quite a bit more slowly than usual. Also, disappointed at the dearth of used bookstores I was finding on my own - oh, I bought a copy of Tess of the D’ubervilles from a charity shop on day 2 - I had marked onto the map a shop which came up when I did a google search for the area I was going to be in for the market and museum. Now, I have no idea why only one dot came up, but there was a whole handful of good stores over there. I was moving slowly, but I managed to buy a lot of pretty, pretty books. Being delayed, I found myself being thrown out of the museum at five, making a second place I have to go back to before I leave. I did; however, walk through Greyfriar’s Kirkyard before I turned for home.
Read more )

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