The Grandeur of Gloom

Edinburgh Travel Blog

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Sunrise over Britain
Good morning, Britain!

I awoke on the plane as we were flying over the North Sea approaching the UK from mainland Europe to find something nocturnal creatures like me don't see very often - the sun rising.  It was peeping out of the horizon - bright, beautiful and perfectly round, and had only just begun to vandalize the blackened sky with color.  I sat looking out the window for a while watching the sky turn a different shade of blue and admiring what for many is a simple neglectful occurence.

Once in Heathrow, we made for already our second meal of the day.  There was a bit of time to kill and, and when you've scoured the little airport boutiques for stuff you really don't need, heading for the nearest tummy treat is always a great option.
Balmoral Hotel
  Obviously, these two little troopers weren't here to meet the Queen.  We were really just waiting in transit for our flight to Edinburgh.



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It was summertime and anyone on holiday during this season would demand loads of sunshine, clear blue skies and maybe the occassional butterfly or two fluttering about here and there.  But this UNESCO World Heritage City couldn't have looked more grand under the rainy, grey skies of June. 

The city of Edinburgh is laid out in two halves.  At the center of town is Princes Street, the main shopping district, dividing the New Town (which we sadly only drove along) and the Old Town.
Scott Monument
  Along this thoroughfare are the landmarks Scott Monument, the Balmoral Hotel, the National Gallery & the Royal Scottish Academy, all of which are within a few meters of each other, but none of which we were able to throroughly explore except in the early evenings after returning from our day trips out of the city.  They were nonetheless impressive from the exterior as I'm sure they would've been on the interior.  And as for the Scott Memorial, we were way too drained to climb up to the deck on top for a panoramic view of the city and too miserly to pay for an elevator ride.  Haha, loosahs.

Over on the other side and across the 18th century North Bridge is the Old Town.  As the name suggests, the Old Town is the seat of the ancient city and where much of her historic past remains tangible.
St. Giles Cathedral
  Historic buildings are scattered just about all over, still standing on streets of cobblestone, glimmering and beautiful in all her dripping glory - from the Edinburgh Castle sitting atop Castle Rock on the west housing St. Margaret's Chapel - one of the city's oldest buildings built in the 11th century, all the way down to the Holyrood Abbey in the east, built by Margaret's son, King David I.  In the 15th century, James IV established Edinburgh as Scotland's capital and built the Palace of Holyroodhouse on the same grounds.  It is still in use today as the Queen's official Scottish residence. 

It was along this route that the city of Edinburgh grew.  Stretching four streets (Castle Hill, Lawnmarket, High Street and Canongate), it is now collectively known as the Royal Mile and is the location of other landmarks such as the St.
Edinburgh Castle
Giles Cathedral which has been standing for about a millennium, the home of preacher John Knox, the Tron Kirk, and other centuries-old edifices which have been preserved and transformed into musems and such. 

Of course, the most prominent of all these would be the Edinburgh Castle.  There was so much to see along the way that we barely had 2 hours to explore the castle before closing time.  The Edinburgh Castle stands on an extinct volcano and is made up of a cluster of buildings dating back from the 12th - the 20th centuries where it had gone from being a fortress, royal palace, military garrison and state prison. It's the birthplace of King James VI, the only son of Mary Queen of Scots, and houses the the nation's crown jewels, or the Honours of Scotland -- the Crown, Scepter and Sword, as well as the Scottish national symbol, the Stone of Destiny.
Scottish House of Parliament
  This was the coronation seat of Scottish Kings, taken to England and returned in 1996 after only 700 years.

To think that we didn't have the luxury of time to wander through every open door that welcomed visitors, it still felt like a travel through time -- until we made our approach towards the east end to the Palace of Holyroodhouse.  There, sitting on the corner of Canongate is the Scottish House of Parliament, zapping us back to the future.  Built in 1997 and designed by 1992 Barcelona Olympics architect Enric Miralles, I thought it was quite an eyesore, not that it lacked aesthetic appeal, but seeing that it resembles an overturned iron makes one wish it had been erected on the other side of town so as not to ruin the old world feel of the city.

Isabetlog says:
Whaaa....?? Writing is not a skill I'm proud of, so thank you for that most encouraging comment!! I happy girlash! THANK YOU! :D
Posted on: Jan 30, 2008
ted332 says:
idolo talaga kita sa pagsusulat! nice blog entry!
Posted on: Jan 30, 2008
tvillingmarit says:
Like the blog and all the photos, well done
Posted on: Jan 21, 2008
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Sunrise over Britain
Sunrise over Britain
Balmoral Hotel
Balmoral Hotel
Scott Monument
Scott Monument
St. Giles Cathedral
St. Giles Cathedral
Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle
Scottish House of Parliament
Scottish House of Parliament
I forgot which university this is
I forgot which university this is
Livingstone statue by the Scott Mo…
Livingstone statue by the Scott M…
Scott Monument
Scott Monument
John Lennon bench by the Scott Mon…
John Lennon bench by the Scott Mo…
North Bridge from the National Gal…
North Bridge from the National Ga…
National Gallery
National Gallery
Edinburgh Castle in the distance
Edinburgh Castle in the distance
Taking a break
Taking a break
View of the Old Town from Waverly …
View of the Old Town from Waverly…
View of the Old Town from Waverly …
View of the Old Town from Waverly…
North Bridge
North Bridge
North Bridge
North Bridge
Cockburn Street
Cockburn Street
Tron Kirk
Tron Kirk
Portcullis Gate
Portcullis Gate
Hello, hello
Hello, hello
Crest
Crest
View from the Argyle Battery
View from the Argyle Battery
Eastern View
Eastern View
Western View
Western View
Lang Stair
Lang Stair
Scottish National War Memorial
Scottish National War Memorial
The Royal Palace
The Royal Palace
Feeling lost?
Feeling lost?
Diorama
Diorama
Diorama
Diorama
Crown
Crown
Sword
Sword
Scepter
Scepter
Palace room
Palace room
Mary Queen of Scots
Mary Queen of Scots
Scottish National War Memorial
Scottish National War Memorial
The Royal Palace
The Royal Palace
View from above the Lang Stair
View from above the Lang Stair
Royal Mile from Edinburgh Castle
Royal Mile from Edinburgh Castle
The Witchery
The Witchery
The Hub
The Hub
Ooooh...gothhhhhhic.
Ooooh...gothhhhhhic.
Bagpiper by the St. Giles Cathedral
Bagpiper by the St. Giles Cathedral
Satue
Satue
St. Giles Cathedral
St. Giles Cathedral
Cathedral entrance
Cathedral entrance
Cathedral entrance
Cathedral entrance
4,000 pipe organ
4,000 pipe organ
Arches
Arches
Stained glass window
Stained glass window
Stained glass window
Stained glass window
Pulpit, window, organ
Pulpit, window, organ
Stonework
Stonework
Canongate
Canongate
Canongate Kirk
Canongate Kirk
Outside the kirk gates
Outside the kirk gates
Scottish House of Parliament
Scottish House of Parliament
Scottish House of Parliament
Scottish House of Parliament
The Queens Gallery
The Queen's Gallery
Abbey Sanctuary
Abbey Sanctuary
Palace of Holyrood House
Palace of Holyrood House
Palace of Holyrood House
Palace of Holyrood House
Palace of Holyrood House
Palace of Holyrood House
Edinburgh Hotels & Accommodations review
I enjoyed my stay at the Travelodge. It's centrally located right smack off the middle of the Royal Mile so either way you choose to go on that strip… read entire review
Edinburgh
photo by: vances