A Quick Stroll Round Auld Reekie
Edinburgh Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
The things I do now for Travbuddy :D . I'll be honest from the start and say Edinburgh has never been one of my favourite places in the past. There is a reasonable amount of intercity rivalry between Glasgow and Edinburgh,Glasgow traditionally being more of an industrial centre while Edinburgh was where the politics and banking were concentrated, and it has probably always slanted my views. That plus numerous incidents when I was younger, particularly around Gorgie and Leith ;) .
Today though looking back on yesterday, I've realised that I haven't VISITED Edinburgh since I was a child, nor have I ever taken my own kids.
Getting from Glasgow to Edinburgh is simple enough, as there is a shuttle service on the trains every 15 minutes from Queen Street to Waverley, and it takes just 40 minutes and cost £18-70 for a return ticket. Arrived into Waverley about 2-15pm, and despite not visiting the place,as such, I do have a fair idea about getting around the main areas. My first intention was to go up to the castle anyway, and it's a bit of a give away sitting up on a rock above the city centre.
First though along Princes Street is the Scott Monument a memorial to ,one of Scotlands best writers, Sir Walter Scott. It's about 200 feet high and you can climb to the top and get a view across the town, though I only vaguely remember doing this. Must have been some writer to have a monument built and the Waverley train station named after one of his books, wonder which one he would have been proudest of, though it may well be having a football team named after another book he did, The Heart Of Midlothian. I know which I would choose :D
Just across Princes Street here is Jenners, probably Edinburgh's most famous department store, but shopping is just not my thing and it was fair enough to see the building just from the outside.
Cut over the bridge past the National Gallery Of Scotland and up the steps to The Mound and on up onto The Royal Mile, which runs between the castle esplande all the way down to Holyrood Palce at the bottom end. Went up onto The Esplande and took a few pictures, but being short of time,and having been to the castle a few times had no intention of going in. The last time I was in the castle though was really interesting, as it was for a christening in St Margarets Chapel there. My cousin at the time was still in the army and as a serving soldier, based in Scotland, was entitled to,and did, have his daughter christened there. With the Norwegian side of the family over,and all in national costume and us all in our kilts I think we were the biggest tourist attraction that afternoon .
Started off down the Royal Mile, past a couple of churches and cut down towards the Grassmarket. Here the street was built up over the one below it. Carried on along the Grassmarket and turned down past the National Library Of Scotland, and thought to myself that it wouldn't have looked out of place in Bucharest it was so dismal.
Further down the road you come to the statue of Greyfriars Bobby, a dog that supposedly after his master had died spent 14 years hardly leaving his graveside. At one point people wanted it put down, because the dog had no owner, but the Lord Provost(Mayor) of Edinburgh paid for a new licence meaning the city council became responsible for Bobby. Nice wee story , Aaahhhhh!!!! :)
Came to Middle Meadow Walk after that and thought I would go down and take a look in what seemed to be a park, but there was nothing there to see, so I headed back up and turned right towards the university.
Back on track and to Deacon Brodie's Tavern, the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and the story of the real life character is painted on the wall at the side of the pub. It was down then to St Giles Cathedral,which sits just in front of Parliament Square,where the old Scottish Parliament used to meet, and dates back to about the 12th Century. Some nice ornate carving in the stone round the door, but again I never had time to go in.
Carried on down The Royal Mile, but it was becoming mostly cafes and pubs and the few shops that were there were mostly selling touristy tat. You do however pass an interesting building and museum called John Knox House. John Knox was the 16th Century leader of the Protestant Reformation in Scotland and this was where he lived. Further down is the Museum Of Edinburgh and the Canongate Kirk.
On down to the bottom and eventually reaching Holyrood Palace, the Queens Official Residence in Scotland, which is open to the public. Nice coat of arms of King James V adorns a nearby wall between the gates of the palace and the Queens Gallery. Just across the road from this is the less distinguished Scottish Parliament which was in the process of getting more money spent on it, as it was a building site in front of it.
Headed back up the Royal Mile and over the North Bridge, almost right back at Waverley Station. There is a statue of the Duke Of Wellington taht sits just in front of the General Register House, which holds loads of records and is where a lot of people go when trying to trace their Scottish ancestors, but I just need to ask my Old Man about that ;).
Cut right and then left down into Leith Street. Had noticed when through the week before some more modern sculptures around Picardy Place. There were some giraffes across the road, just before the Edinburgh Playhouse, one of Scotlands major venues for concerts and shows.
Straight back to Waverley Station after that and boarded the first train going back to Glasgow. Nice enough journey with views out over the snow covered hills, and passing through Linlithgow you can see the ruins of Linlithgow Palace, with it's funny church steeple thing, and which was the birth place of Mary Queen Of Scots.
Having had my doubts about going through to Edinburgh I'm glad I did. A lot better than I remembered it :D and being more appreciative of certain things now I'm glad it never suffered from the same wanton destrucion of planners in the 50's and 60's that trashed a lot of Glasgow. Might even get round to taking my weans for a day out there soon ;)