Tuesday, July 15, 2014

euro-whirl 2014: edinburgh.


the day after dover, we made the 8-hour drive up to scotland. it was funny - we mentioned to a few different people while in london, harwell, & dover that we would be driving up to scotland. their reaction? "whyyyyy would you do that?" "how LONG is the drive?!" "that's SO far away!" i guess long road trips aren't as common a thing in the united kingdom? whereas for ben & i, who both grew up with healthy, even hearty, doses of hours upon hours in the car on various road trips, an eight hour drive is nothing. seriously, it's nothing. so funny. we caught up on a few episodes of this american life, a few diffent npr bits, maybe a full album or two - & we were there.


we loved edinburgh. i was just telling a friend who's going to scotland soon - i almost wish we had more time there! we spent a full day (out of the two days we were spending in scotland altogether) in edinburgh, & even then, i'd love to come back & check out even more. hopefully we can come back under better weather circumstances - it ended up being a chilly, overcast day, & it even rained here & there. all as evidenced by this photo, ha:


man, scotland has a really fascinating history & was home to some really important individuals. walter scott, the jacobite uprising, william wallace, robert the bruce, robert burns, robert louis stevenson (everyone really seemed to enjoy the name robert). we loved stopping at different historical sites & monuments & reading about the events or person the site was dedicated to. & i mean...kilts! bagpipes! plaid! scottish accents! despite these all being very stereotypical depictions of scottish culture, it was all almost too much for me sometimes. i loved it.


here's the scott monument, dedicated to sir walter scott, author of ivanhoe, rob roy, & others. it was really cool looking, described by bill bryson as a "gothic rocket ship" (wikipedia told me that one).




everything was so greeeeen. the perfect time of year to be there!


...except for the times it got so cold i had to borrow ben's sweatshirt occasionally. when that would happen, it brought the official count up to, yep, five layers of clothing i was wearing that day.




the royal mile is a stretch of streets that goes through the old town. we went uphill, starting at the very end of the mile at holyrood palace (where the queen of england spends a week every summer, because she has such a hard life). the royal mile has a lot of really neat & significant buildings along it including churches, museums (such as the writer's museum or the museum of childhood [?!]), along with lots of tourist spots, bars & restaurants, & other kind of eclectic places, capped off by the edinburgh castle at the top.


this trippy mirror was outside of the camera obscura, a museum right next to the edinburgh castle (its official name being "camera obscura & the world of illusions). i'm bummed it was closed when we were there, because look at all the crazy stuff it's got going on inside.



outside the writer's musuem (which was also closed. we need to be better planners. next time, edinburgh!)



"a wee gift from scotland." i want to start adding the word "wee" into as many conversations possible, as well as start calling church "kirk" (not that "kirk").


& photos from the church of st. giles (where, after looking around, i promptly found a seat & took a 15 minute nap while ben snapped some photos, haha) :




& just rows upon rows of pretty buildings, below. edinburgh is the second largest tourist attraction in the united kingdom, after london. & it's been named a UNESCO city of literature (as has iowa city!? i must read up on this). in short, it's a really culturally rich, vibrant city & we loved it.



thanks, edinburgh! (tip: rick steves reminds us that "only outsiders pronounce the "burgh" in "edinburgh" like the one in "pittsburgh.")

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