A short tour around Dumfries

Dumfries Travel Blog

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Burns Mausoleum

This weekend, the sun came out.  Really came out.  Spring finally started properly, and it was glorious.

 

Iain and I were heading North to a friend’s birthday, in Dumfries and Galloway.  Iain, coincidentally, grew up round there.  This is a great thing, as places like Dumfries are definitely better when you have a bit of local knowledge.

 

The plan was for me to meet him at works, straight after work, so that he wouldn’t have to drive back in through the rush hour traffic.  I had an incredibly straight forward tram ride out to Crumpsall, and met him slightly earlier than we’d planned.

Gravestone with skulls
  The drive up was easy too, and it was only just dark when we got to Dumfries.

 

First, we went on a short tour around Iain’s old house, school, and so on.  Then we went to the hotel to drop our stuff.  The hotel, Cairndale, is lovely.  There is a big art deco frieze on the stairway and the room was big, the shower was good, and the receptionist was very nice.  The only problem wa that it was very hot in the room, but we didn’t complain so we can’t complain, if that makes any sense. 

 

Next stop was Bella Roma, which is the Italian restaurant that Iain always used to go to.  It was brilliant.  The decoration seems to be lodged in about 1987, which might put silly snobs off, and we amused ourselves trying to work out what our posher friends might make of it.

Graffiti, the Lyver
  The music was power ballads from about 1993.  But the food!  The food was incredible.  It was just really, really good.  And the wine list also deserves an exclamation mark, if only because they have Gavi de Gavi, my favourite white wine in the world.  Unfortunately, Iain was still recovering from our housewarming and so I had to order Frascati because it came in half bottles. 

On the way back from the restaurant, we did a short tour of Places Iain Used to Drink, and also went to the Burns mausoleum.

 

It is a tribute to the general, peaceful world of Dumfries that you can visit the Burns Mauseleum at half ten at night, because it is in the back of a graveyard and normally those are locked up at night.  Burns is a favourite poet of mine.  Even I find a lot of his stuff completely unreadable, but the stuff I do like is brilliant.

  Holy Willie’s Prayer is just as genius a piece of satire on pompous religion as it was two hundred years ago, and Tam O Shanter is still hilarious if you have the right sense of humour.  Also, alone amongst the romantic poets, he comes across as a decent bloke.  I mean, sure.  The man loved a drink and had an unbelievable number of illegitimate kids.  But he made sure that all of them, even the girls, got enough food and an education.  And he hated war, and liked wine, and was probably a laugh at a dinner party.  The mausoleum is a white, fake Grecian building and not quite as interesting as some of the other gravestones, especially the one with the cool skulls and fake Latin on it, but still worth five minutes of your time if you are in the area.

 

Next stop, The Lyver.  The Lyver has replaced some of its seats with seats from buses, has amazing decoration, and some of the most interesting pub door graffiti I have ever seen.

Suspension bridge, Dumfries
  It also has good ale and a fantastic, working juke box full of great Indie and rock.  And the sort of clientele that sing along if they like the song.  You can imagine I liked it quite a lot.

 

After that, we went for a walk by the river, crossing the mediaeval bridge and watching the stars.  Iain would like it noted that this is in no way romantic, and in fact, is only because he wanted some fresh air and there happened to be stars out. 

 

The bridges are very pretty, and Dumfries is a lovely wee town.

 

On with the tour of the pubs.  We stopped at The Globe, which was much frequented by Burns.  Uniquely, it manages to be an interesting pub, with great real ale and a lovely range of malts, at the same time as playing dance music and catering to the local pre-club crowd.  Whether this is because the local clubbers have no other place to go, or just great taste, is open to debate.  But I loved sitting in a little cozy 17th century hostelry listening to Lady Gaga.

 

After that, it was definitely time for bed. 

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Burns Mausoleum
Burns Mausoleum
Gravestone with skulls
Gravestone with skulls
Graffiti, the Lyver
Graffiti, the Lyver
Suspension bridge, Dumfries
Suspension bridge, Dumfries
Water on the weir
Water on the weir
Mediaeval bridge
Mediaeval bridge
Kirk
Kirk
the Globe - not easy to find!
the Globe - not easy to find!
Dumfries Hotels & Accommodations review
cairndale Hotel
Actually, I was really impressed. The cairndale hotel is situated on the outskirts of the town centre, opposite the leisure centre. Given that dum… read entire review
Dumfries
photo by: sarahelaine