Wednesday, May 3, 2017

End of Trip: Edinburgh and Abu Dhabi

About to sign off till our next trip in August.
On our last day in Edinburgh we visited The Mary King Close It is an underground area of houses that was created when the Royal Exchange was built. They constructed a new ground floor level with the Royal Mile. The houses that were underneath were simply closed off.
It provided an insight into life in a previous era and a good setting for ghost stories.

Having complained about the cold for weeks, despite being told constantly what a great day it was, we hit Abu Dhabi. Yes we complained that it is too hot.We achieved our plan. We had a good night's sleep after the first leg of our return flight, had several swims both in the hotel pools and the Arabian Sea and went to The Abu Dhabi Mall. All that is to do is have a few drinks before we go back to the airport for the final leg home.

Despite our weather complaints we were extremely fortunate. Six weeks of travel in Europe and Britain and we didn't need to put on our raincoats or hunt for our umbrellas even once! It is just as well that we packed them!

                                We enjoyed our several dips in the pools and sea.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Holyrood House Edinburgh

Sunday in Edinburgh. We slept in but were soon heading up the hill. We got about 100 metres before being sidetracked into a carpark basement. On level -4 there was a gigantic car boot sale. This is a major Sunday outing. It took ages to walk around. At first we only made small purchases but were seduced into purchasing a huge vase. Not sure how we will get it home!! We returned it to our hotel room, had a cup of tea and headed back up the street. We again got about 100 metres when we decided to stop for a Sunday lunch.
We did finally make it up to the high street and strolled down the hill towards the palace. On the way we stopped at two small quirky museums. The Children's museum was odd. It had all our toys in it! How could that be a museum? There were lots of toys as well that were very British but most of ours were when we were kids! The Edinburgh Museum had an eclectic range of items and didn't have a single focus. The items included silverware, items from Brig. General William Haig, part of the whisky family. To explore the museum you were up and down stairs around corners and this way and that! It was bits and pieces in every way but it was free!

                                                    Perhaps a little before our time!

                                                  Toby jugs in the Edinburgh Museum.

Our main destination was Holyrood House, the official residence of The Queen in Edinburgh. There were no photos inside the palace but it was excellent. The furniture, art works etc were wonderful. Some of the best rooms were Mary Queen of Scots Bedchamber and Anti Room complete with her bed etc, The Evening Drawing Room with the two thrones that had been made for King George V and Queen Mary. His throne was higher, not because of his importance, but because he was only short! The Dining Room was not as immense as some being set for 16 but can be extended for about 30. The Great Hall had the line of Stuarts depicted in paintings. They had been repaired from when the English damaged then. The Kings Bedchamber was another highlight.
Outside we saw the Abbey ruins and the extensive gardens.

                                               At the entry to the Royal Palace.

The Holyrood Abbey was in ruins but very beautiful. They don't build ruins like this today!

                                                           Gail in the Gardens.

                                                   The Garden Guard was splendid!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Literature offerings

We have made reference to some of Scotland's classic literature but will now share a few photos with you.

Few countries can match the number of famous authors on a per capita basis. This would be an interesting little trip in Edinburgh!
We did enjoy our visit to Alnwick Castle used as the basis for J.K. Rowlings novels to be put onto celluloid.

We have browsed through bookshops but have needed to limit our purchases. These are some that we couldn't fit into the suitcase.

I am sure that apologies are due to Enid! These have an AO classification!

Edinburgh Castle

After recovering from our long distance transfer of 8 miles to Edinburgh we settled into our hotel before heading out for lunch. We were soon walking up to Princes Street and across Cockburn Street with its antiques and along the Golden Mile. The Scott memorial to Sir Walter was our first stop and then the St. Giles Cathedral.

                              Sir Walter Scott is one of Scotland's favourite sons.

                                      A famous writer in a country that has produced many!

                                                                   Inside the Cathedral.

             A special place in Edinburgh. The stained glass windows are different from most others.

Our major destination was the Castle so we went up hill on the 'Golden Mile' to the castle. On our previous visit the Tattoo had just concluded. Today we were able to wander around to the many places within the castle. It is like a village or small town with many discrete structures as opposed to the castles with a single building. It is all tucked away behind the fortifications with the banks of cannons on the various levels. There are several museums each with a focus along with a chapel, and the castle rooms.

                                                              Gail at the Castle entry.

            The museums conveyed the story with art, artefacts and multi-media presentations.

                                                             The War Memorial.

                                                              The Great Hall.

                                                     Lots of armour and weaponry.

                                  The Scottish Crown. Displayed along with The Stone of Destiny.

                                                          At the top of the castle.

                                                        Gail and the view.

                                                   We should have taken a joint selfie!

                                      Rob with Mons Meg the 15th century seige cannon.

Northumberland Coast- Holy Island and Bamburgh Castle

Our spectacular drive from Seahouses into Scotland was along the beautiful Northumberland coast. We set out early and drove past Bamburgh Castle as we were far too early for a visit and we had to catch the tide for the drive across the causeway to Holy Island. The Island is cut off twice a day by the fast incoming tide so we needed to make this our first visit.

           We wake up to a spectacular sunrise and watch the fishing boats head out to sea.

                      We made it across ..and also made it back. From time to time some don't!

We can't visit Lindisfarne castle on Holy Island as it is under major repair.

The historic ruins of Lindisfarne Priory. This is where St Cuthbert bought Christianity to Northern Britain. It has been a place of pilgrimage for over 1300 years.

                                                     Gail in the Priory.

                                                      The ruins are very scenic.

                                                                  St. Cuthbert

                                            This is Rob. Not to be confused with a saint!

                                Looking down onto the coast. View from St. Mary's Church.

                                     St. Mary's Church was established by St. Aidan in 635.

Back across the causeway to beat the tide and head back to Bamburgh Castle.

                                  The view from the car as we approach the castle.

As we walk up to the castle this is the view.The castle is called " The King of Castles"

The Great Hall. This is a wonderful castle, very different from the Alnwick Castle seen the day before!

There are treasures of every kind. Furniture, paintings and all sorts of art works.
The castle is owned by a local farmer who resides on his farm nearby! It was purchased by Lord Armstrong the famous inventor, scientist, engineer and industrialist. We saw many of his inventions in a museum.

                                           The view from the castle window.

                                                    Gail with Bamburgh below.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Alnwick Castle

Our drive today took us from Haltwhistle to Seahouses with a major stop at Alnwick Castle and gardens. As a point of interest the town is pronounced with a silent 'l' and 'w' so called 'Anick rather than Alnwick.
As we left our B&B we drove to the bottom of the hill for a final photo. This was our favourite accommodation to date.

The drive was wonderful. We did not use one major road. Along the way there were great rural scenes.

We passed by several National Trust properties and great little villages. Alnwick is actually the only city in Northumberland. Our favourite was Rothbury.

We spent half the day at Alnwick Castle. There were a lot of options!

                                               The walk to the Castle.

The castle is the ancestral home of the Percy Family, the XII Duke of Northumberland. They were in residence till Easter.

                                    Considered by many to be the finest castle in the UK.

The gardens are also beautiful if not at their best today! Yesterdays wind removed the flowers from the cherry trees.

                                                They were designed by Capability Brown.

We went to several special events. The Lost Cellars was a type of ghost tour but the film location tour was interesting.
The castle was the site for most of the filming of Harry Potter movies. You may recognise some of the scenes! The Christmas edition of Downton Abbey was filmed here and many scenes from Robin Hood Prince of Thieves.

                                  We think that our guide was left behind from the filming! There were broomstick flying classes but we decided not to attend.

                                    Site of the Quidditch field. Mountains were added by special effects!

We also visited several museums, a Knights challenge and a Dragon event.

                                                   This was not the REAL dragon!

We are now at Seahouses on the coast and will be in Scotland tomorrow.

                                         Taken from our room. No zoom required!