Friday, November 14, 2014

Edinburgh in the Rain

Our next stop was the port of Greenock, Scotland.  My sister and I took a bus trip from there to Edinburgh, where our group meandered through some of the Georgian neighborhoods, stopped for a few minutes at Holyrood Palace, drove slowly up the extremely congested Royal Mile, and finished with a tour of Edinburgh Castle.  The neighborhoods were beautiful; we saw where Robert Louis Stevenson and Arthur Conan Doyle had lived and where Sean Connery went to school.  The stop at Holyrood Palace was so short that Sue only got to see the inside of the ladies' room; I spent my time there mostly in the gift shop, drooling over the reproductions of royal china.

Despite the cold, the wind, and the rain, the castle was perhaps the most crowded tourist attraction I've ever visited.  The line to see the Scottish crown jewels was even longer than the lines on a busy day at Disneyland, but at least it wound through interesting historical exhibits and wall murals.  Annoying new tourism trend: packs of teenagers absorbed in their cell phones, standing where they block the view of the attractions, with their backs to that very view.  Maybe they're all taking selfies, but I was wishing for a time limit on how long anyone was allowed to stand in a single spot.

Just as we left the castle a tremendous downpour started, so Sue and I ducked into a nearby building that had been converted into a vertical mall.  We briefly watched tartans being woven, had dinner in a practically deserted (covered) rooftop restaurant, and bought lovely Scottish cashmere pullovers to augment the layers we'd brought on the trip.  (The heavier sweaters were even prettier, but when could we ever wear them in Arizona?) 

Shottskirk, halfway between Glasgow and Edinburgh
Roadside art for the benefit of commuters

Holyrood Palace:

Edinburgh Castle:


“Half a capital and half a country town, the whole city leads a double existence; it has long trances of the one and flashes of the other; like the king of the Black Isles, it is half alive and half a monumental marble.” ~Robert Louis Stevenson, Edinburgh: Picturesque Notes


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