Danny Yee >> Bushwalking & Travel >> Scotland + Northern England

A day in Edinburgh

When we got to the Marrakech guest house, Richard, the friend we were meeting up with, was right in the doorway, which solved the problem of finding him. The three of us shared a huge room with three single beds and a double, which was in the grand old style, complete with chandelier, though somewhat decayed.

We had dinner in an Indian restaurant - good value and great food, in fact probably our best meal in the UK. We'd parked right out the front of the guest house, but that wouldn't be legal in the morning, so we had to hunt down another spot.

Monday September 15th

After yet another cooked breakfast, we packed ourselves into the car, which we left in the New St car park.

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a close
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a wynd

After looking around some of the little ways that lead off the Royal Mile, we headed east to Holyrood Palace. 15 pounds to get in seemed rather steep and I wasn't that enthused, but Camilla and Richard convinced me. It was quite crowded, and the items lacked any kind of written descriptions, which left us reliant on an audio tour. There are elaborate beds, lots of paintings, statues, etc.

I liked the nice gardens, and the huge estate includes the 250 metre high Arthur's Seat, which I wished we'd had time to climb. It was overcast and peaceful, but rather glary - I had the camera exposure set to +2/3 for outdoor photographs.

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Holyrood palace
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Arthur's Seat

Our next stop was the National Museum of Scotland. This is organised chronologically, starting with geology, natural history, and the prehistoric and Roman material on the bottom floor. My favorite section was probably the early medieval one, which explores the origin of a Scottish kingdom from a mix of Picts, Gaels, Norse, Britons, and Angles.

The NMS is a really excellent museum - not on the scale of the British Museum, but in the same class. The exhibits are well designed, informative and clearly laid out - and there's no frothy medieval romanticism. There was a group of children playing at Roman soldiers, which could be heard throughout the building, but that was strangely undisturbing. We could have spent a whole day in the museum, and if we hadn't made a lunch appointment we might not have dragged ourselves away.

We met up with my friend Carole, who was in Edinburgh for five months study leave, and had lunch in the White Hart Inn. She went back home and the three of us headed for Edinburgh Castle. Perched on a crag that dominates the city, this is a massive structure, built and rebuilt over the centuries and still used as an army base. We did the guided tour, then wandered around by ourselves.

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Edinburgh castle
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from Edinburgh castle

The next attraction was the National Gallery. We didn't have long here, but I looked at the Scottish collection, the 17th Century Dutch masters, and a room of Impressionists.

Richard had to go to an Internet cafe to fix up something. Camilla and I went to the Camera Obscura. It was near closing and the camera obscura itself was shut, but we had the rest of the exhibits pretty much to ourselves: these include lots of optical illusions, photographs, and other visual phenomena - and there's a nice view from the top.

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the Royal Mile
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David Hume this image is GFDL licensed

Camilla bought some woolens as presents, then we met Richard back at the car, stocked up on food in a supermarket, filled up with petrol, and headed out of town.

We had too little time in many places on this trip, but spending just 24 hours in Edinburgh was an extreme case. There were so many things we didn't see that I won't even try to list them.

We crossed over the Firth Bridge and enjoyed a lovely sunset, after a brief rain storm cleaned the dead insects off the car windows. In Perth we found a B&B and then had dinner in Capital Assets, a converted Bank.

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