Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Exploring the city

1850 Hours – Tue 3 Oct

Today was 100% tourist day. I got out relatively early and headed to the Waverly train station. It was there that I picked up one of those double-decker bus tours. The price was 18 dollars. The ticket is good for 24 hours so I don’t suppose that is too bad. But I went to a few exhibits and museums today and pretty much everything costs a lot.

So the first places I visited were the Caledonian Hotel, St. John’s Church, and St. Cuthbert’s Church. All of those were free and were very stunning. This place never ceases to amaze me with its stunning architecture. After I walked around those buildings and the cemetery between the 2 churches I grabbed some lunch. Bangers and mash. In English that means sausages on top of mashed potatoes with in this case red onion gravy. It was nice.

Here is Cuthbert.

Then I hopped back on the tour bus (they come by every 20 minutes here) and headed towards the Edinburgh castle. I didn’t stop there because I visited that place yesterday. My next stop became the Museum of Edinburgh and the People’s Story. Both museums were very interesting. The coolest thing I learned was that different craftsmen had labor unions and were issued small badges. For example, only a certain number of people could be beggars, and those “privileged” few had to have an official badge and he would have to keep it on him. Basically it was a small pressed piece of metal with embroidery on it that designated who the bearer was. So far, all the places have been open at no charge. I then marched further down Royal Mile to see the Scottish Parliament building.

The Parliament building is very cool. It is much more modern than many other buildings. I felt like I was back in baggers because I had to be put thru security checks to get into the building. I have to say, security was light. Also, the standoff capability of the building is negligible. I wouldn’t call it a soft target, but definitely not very hard for a dedicated insane person.

Here is inside the parliament building.

So then I went and saw the Palace of Holyroodhouse which is the home of the queen when she is in Scotland. Now this is a cool place. I couldn’t take photos whilst inside, but I still got to see some cool stuff. More to follow. So I got suckered into seeing the Queen’s galleries before going into the Castle. Look, I like art and all, but I do not care for small pencil drawings. Actually I can’t really stand those. They are boring and a 4 year old can do them. SO anyway, I pay 6 GBP and all it is like 50 drawings by some guy named Canaletto. I can tell he isn’t bad, but I wasn’t impressed. So I left and went to the palace.

This is going into the palace

You have to visit this place. It helps to see it after you have seen quite a large number of other palaces. For example, the palaces in Iraq are more similar to Graceland whereas this palace is more similar to Versailles. It is stunning. The portraits of all the old kings and queens, the detail in the masonry, the ornate tapestries and the rich furniture combined with the historic atmosphere is quite impressive. You begin to see why the Brits tolerate the monarchy. It is actually pretty cool.

The old abbey

Anyway, so then I went off for another walk to Burns’ Monument. Cool, but nothing remarkable so I pressed on to the Old Royal High School high on a hill overlooking the city. I didn’t go in, just looked at it. Cool. Then I got to see Nelson’s Monument. This was my favorite. I have an affinity for Lord Nelson and it was good to see his burial place in London and now his monument overlooking Leith in Edinburgh.



Well, that was my day. Tomorrow will be a little less busy but I hope to see some more and get in some shopping as well.



Blogger Chester said...

Good to see you're having a great time Walt!!

Wednesday, October 4, 2006 at 3:50:00 PM GMT+3  

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