A Quick Stroll Round Auld Reekie

Edinburgh Travel Blog

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The Scott Monument

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.

Edinburgh Castle
I've been through there on plenty of occasions, but these have been for specific purposes, and always got out as soon as I could. I was through the previous week and as soon as I had done what I was there for I was straight on a train back to Glasgow, but yesterday when I had to return I decided I was going to go and have a proper look. 

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.

The Dug

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.

The Story Of Deacon Brodie

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 .

Above Entrance Of St Giles'
  

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.

Unicorn And Saltire
There is a nice wee square just beside it and a nice looking building that I found out was The Library Bar. Either this indicated its former purpose or the council services in Edinburgh are much better than through here. Watching my time I headed back up towards the Royal Mile and went past the Museum Of Scotland and The Crown Office, Scotland's legal prosecution body.

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.

Holyrood Palace
Just beside St Giles is the Mercat Cross which is topped by a unicorn holding a Scottish Saltire flag.

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.

Big Foot Of The Manuscript of Monte Cassino
Originally intended to be built at a cost of £40m it ended up costing more than ten times  that figure. Time was runing out and I had done what I had intended to do, so it was time to get back to the real purpose of my trip.

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.

My Get Out Of Jail Free Card :d
 In the middle of Picardy Place was a big foot , a hand and another thing which are a collection known as The Manuscript Of Monte Casino, though no idea why. From here I just had to cut down one of the side streets and back to the Russian Visa Services office in Forth Place, where after a short wait, I collected all the passports with the visas granted. Yay!!!!

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.

Leaving Glasvegas

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 ;)

Ella01 says:
Glad you went back :) Up here in the Deen we always say you either like Glasgow or Edinburgh - people seem to bein 2 camps. Aberdeen is like a mini Edinburgh! Edinburgh is one of my favourite cities - I have not had a chance to explore much of Glasgow but I intend to ...BTW thanks for a lot of brilliant info esp about the foot statue I posed with it not knowing what it was....
Posted on: Jul 23, 2011
aloneinthecrowd says:
Nice blog, Ian :D If I ever travel to Scotland I won't miss Edinburgh ;)
Posted on: Mar 04, 2010
Dr_Seuss says:
Not saying your wrong Huib, just you might not be completely right :D
Posted on: Mar 04, 2010
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The Scott Monument
The Scott Monument
Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle
The Dug
The Dug
The Story Of Deacon Brodie
The Story Of Deacon Brodie
Above Entrance Of St Giles
Above Entrance Of St Giles'
Unicorn And Saltire
Unicorn And Saltire
Holyrood Palace
Holyrood Palace
Big Foot Of The Manuscript of Mont…
Big Foot Of The Manuscript of Mon…
My Get Out Of Jail Free Card :d
My Get Out Of Jail Free Card :d
Leaving Glasvegas
Leaving Glasvegas
Jenners Store
Jenners Store
Sir Walter Scott
Sir Walter Scott
Romanes & Paterson Coffee Shop
Romanes & Paterson Coffee Shop
Princes Street Looking East
Princes Street Looking East
National Gallery Of Scotland
National Gallery Of Scotland
Princes Street Gardens
Princes Street Gardens
Waverley Station From The Bridge
Waverley Station From The Bridge
Building On The Mound
Building On The Mound
Black Watch Memorial
Black Watch Memorial
On The Way Up to The Castle
On The Way Up to The Castle
View From The Mound Down To River …
View From The Mound Down To River…
Start Of The Royal Mile
Start Of The Royal Mile
Scotch Whisky Experience
Scotch Whisky Experience
Celtic Cross up At the Castle
Celtic Cross up At the Castle
George Herriots School
George Herriots School
Arthurs Seat From The Castle Espla…
Arthurs Seat From The Castle Espl…
Enterance To The Castle
Enterance To The Castle
View Across Edinburgh From The Cas…
View Across Edinburgh From The Ca…
Nice Pub Sign
Nice Pub Sign
Jollies Close
Jollie's Close
St Columbas Free Church
St Columbas Free Church
Old Church At The Top Of The Royal…
Old Church At The Top Of The Roya…
West Bow
West Bow
Quaker meeting House
Quaker meeting House
National Library Of Scotland :O
National Library Of Scotland :O
Grassmarket
Grassmarket
Greyfriars Pub
Greyfriars Pub
Greyfriars Bobby
Greyfriars Bobby
Side Of Edinburgh University
Side Of Edinburgh University
The Library Bar
The Library Bar
National Museum Of Scotland
National Museum Of Scotland
Deacon Brodies Tavern
Deacon Brodie's Tavern
St Giles Cathedral
St Giles' Cathedral
Mercat Cross
Mercat Cross
Down the Royal Mile
Down the Royal Mile
John Knox House
John Knox House
Tartan Tat Shop
Tartan Tat Shop
Edinburgh Museum
Edinburgh Museum
Canongate Kirk
Canongate Kirk
Royal Coat Of Arms Of King James V…
Royal Coat Of Arms Of King James …
Cafe At The Palace
Cafe At The Palace
The Queens Gallery
The Queens Gallery
The Scottish Parliament
The Scottish Parliament
View Over To Princes Street
View Over To Princes Street
The Scotsman Newspaper Building
The Scotsman Newspaper Building
Kings Own Scottish Borderers Memor…
Kings Own Scottish Borderers Memo…
North Bridge
North Bridge
Statue Of Wellington
Statue Of Wellington
General Register House
General Register House
Calton Hill
Calton Hill
Giraffes
Giraffes
Edinburgh Playhouse
Edinburgh Playhouse
Russian Visa Centre
Russian Visa Centre
Big Hand Of The Manuscript of Mont…
Big Hand Of The Manuscript of Mon…
Balmoral Hotel
Balmoral Hotel
Steps From Prices Street to Waverl…
Steps From Prices Street to Waver…
Waverley Station
Waverley Station
Glasgow Train Arriving In Waverley
Glasgow Train Arriving In Waverley
Linlithgow
Linlithgow
Snow On The hills From The Train
Snow On The hills From The Train
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Edinburgh
photo by: vances