106 - Day 2 - Edinburgh and Travel to Birnam

I couldn't stand it... I had to repost this in a much less confusing format now that I understand all of the intricacies required to post using pictures...

Okey dokey.

Touring Edinburgh Castle was first on our agenda. You can see that we lucked into some really gorgeous fall foliage.

It was atypically 'warm' in Scotland, in the mid- to high-50's. I often ended up taking my coat off, especially after we trekked up the hills. It should have been in the 40's, by the way.

Anyway, this is the view across the Princes Street Gardens toward the Castle (upper right). I think that if you click on the photos you get a better resolution... it doesn't seem quite as crisp as it does on the original file... grrr...

This is the Scott Monument, I think it was also in yesterday's blog. You'll see it several more times because I'm slightly obssessed with it... and it is pretty much the center of the Edinburgh universe. In fact, Jamie and I giggled as we were flipping through her photos... every other one seemed to be of the Scott Monument. But I totally get that.
It's gorgeous, and it's massive, and it's gothic.
I think there are something like 76 characters from Sir Walter Scott's stories adorning it. I know for a damn fact that there are 287 steps up, and 287 more steps down, because I conquered the beast on our last day. But that's another story... (and keep in mind that when I tell it... I'm actually a little afraid of heights...)

View of Edinburgh from the Castle. I was trying to get that little island you can just make out in the middle-right of the photo (that's right -- it's not a really dark cloud... it's an island...)

You can see Calton Hill (the top of the landscape with the Parthenon-looking gizmo), the North Bridge, and Waverly Station (just in front of it) from here.
Oh... and the Scott Monument... just there... on the left... ;)

This is in the courtyard of Edinburgh Castle. It is probably the picture I worked hardest to get. I waited for three giggling teenaged girls to pose in that little guard box behind it... and I waited... and I waited... and after they all three took their damn photos, they stood around gabbing about the experience.
In my cartoon universe, they were bonked soundly over the head with a giant hammer. =)

I love this frieze. I think it was on the wall of the War Memorial. Look at the detail!

Bust of Mary, Queen of Scots. We all know how Kristy feels about her... love her!

The thing I love about castles and abbeys and cathedrals and the like, is the level of detail. Everywhere you look there is something to see... always look up... and always look down. This is the ceiling of Laich Hall in Edinburgh Castle. I wish my ceiling looked like that...

This monster is called Mon's Meg. It's a ginormous cannon, and it is currently pointed at a complete stranger's butt (I didn't do that... promise).
According to our tour guide, they couldn't move this thing very far at all (I think 2 miles a day or something like that), so it was mostly for show. Men... and their need to prove themselves with size... lol

One of the many scenes depicted on the mercat cross (market cross) where vendors would gather to sell their wares in front of St. Giles.

A stained glass window inside St. Giles. Each window has a slightly different artistic style to it. I happen to like this style best.

I love this cross. I took a picture of it last time we were here, but it was blurry...

An amazing crest in the Thistle Chapel, which is attached to St. Giles. I don't know how I missed it, but this is the first time I've seen this gorgeous thing!

Even the lock on the door is amazing... like I said, details are everywhere, but especially in the Thistle Chapel. You could spend a week in there and still not see everything.

The ceiling just outside the Thistle Chapel. Isn't that gorgeous???

So... Kato said that I had to try a fried Mars bar. I must admit... I wasn't exactly keen on the idea, but since I've tried haggis, I figure there's nothing innately scary about a Mars bar.
Looked high and low and finally found a place that sold them... and... he was out. I told him I had to try them, I had been told to try them and my honor would be disparaged if I came home without one in my tummy... He said that if I went to the Boots Pharmacy around the corner, and bought some Mars bars, he would fry them up for me.
I know that (for some reason) it sounds disgusting, but let me put it into perspective for the non-believers...it's a bit like a S'mores. But better. Oh so much better... Imagine, all the goodness of a Mars bar... melted inside the tempura batter... Thank god I haven't run across them in the States or I'd be in trouble.

Our train to Birnam was delayed due to a broken down freight train. When Kristy gets bored, Kristy gets silly (I can prove that in my photos of our last night in Edinburgh). I think Brian may have actually instigated this one though.
Unfortunately there wasn't a platform 9... so we had to wing it. This is platform 7 and 3/4. It's the new pink. If there had been carts around, you'd better believe we would have been re-enacting the entire scene... then we really would have gotten some looks. As is was, people were staring out their windows. What... you've never seen a wizard before???
I was surprised that it only took about 20 minutes for them to clear the tracks and get us on our way again. I mean, when you think of the logistics involved.... wow. So shortly after that we arrived in Birnam and schlepped our bags to the Birnam Guest House for two nights.

So... apparently videos always show up last, so this is still in the wrong place. It's kind of like having my photos printed at Walgreens... they were uploaded in the correct order, but when they printed... it's like they tossed them on the floor, shuffled them around, and put them into boxes. Frustrating. I spent all day sorting them out and stuffing them into five photo albums. I don't normally print photos anymore, but I print my travel photos. I digress...
Anyway, when we walked into St. Giles, we lucked into a lunchtime organ concert, so I got to see someone play Bach on this monster. People probably thought I was crying because the music was so beautiful (and it was... until the next song, which was like the musical equivalent of a Van Gogh), but it was really because I had to delete old photos of Sammy, the cat someone cat-napped, and of Gracie as a little white fluffball of a kitten... I have probably already downloaded them and stored them on my external hard drive... but I didn't know that for sure. I think mosty I'd been stressed for the last couple of weeks with work, and tying up travel plans, and the stress of travelling... so I think that contributed. Or I'm just a wuss.
So Kopparberg is the yummy pear cider... had one of those for lunch, as well as some calamari (while everyone else made yuck faces at me) and then fish and chips at The Filling Station on High Street. I'm not a huge fish and chips fan, but you know who is? Brian. He had some (and I kid you not) every... single... day... with a half a bottle of ketchup on top, lol.
Jamie was griping about how all of the bathrooms were downstairs... Be careful what you wish for... she wound up at a McDonalds (don't worry -- we didn't eat there, she just needed to pee) and had to go up to the 4th floor. Turns out there was one just across the street... oh the irony. When she got back we took the hop-on/hop-off bus tour. It was probably my least favorite thing we did. The narration was interesting, but it was pretty cheesy, and we didn't see as much of the city as I thought we would.
Tomorrow... Day 3 in Birnam and Dunkeld... where we get lost in the woods...
On a non-travel related note... second season of Legend of the Seeker started tonight... I love it! I've pretty much worked my way through my DVR backlog between vegging out the first day and sorting photos today. I don't know why that gives me a sense of accomplishment... but it does...


  1. Oh how I loved Edinburgh. It is such a beautiful city. Wish I were in Princes' Street Gardens on an Autumn afternoon!

    Thanks for the photos and the tour.

  2. I am glad you enjoyed the Mars bar! I was told by a Scot himself to eat one for him while I was there. I was also quite wary about the whole idea so decided to share one with my very good friend and travel buddy.

    After the first bite, I was ready to forsake our ten year friendship to not have to share it with her anymore. Never mind that I could have bought another one, I was like a zombie who could only see brains. Deep fried, nuggaty, chocolate brains....

    They also asked me if I wanted ketchup on mine! Ghastly!

  3. Okay now... as much as I love it on other things, I draw the line at ketchup on a Mars bar... (did you try it?)

  4. Fried Mars bar? Really?

    I lol'd

  5. I didn't try it! It scared me a little. He was so nonchalent about it all as he held the ketchup bottle over my Mars bar. I was waiting for the second where a drop would squeeze it's way out and I would have to tackle him.....

  6. Wow...those pictures are awesome (even sideways)...Fried Mars Bar still makes me a bit nervous, and with ketchup..just no way...