Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Journey to the Highlands

Edinburgh was never on my radar as a travel destination. It was my son's idea to travel by train five hours north of London to visit the capitol of Scotland. He thought it would be a good way to round-out our United Kingdom experience. It was a good idea. The Scottish really ought to do more to get the word out about this place.

In a way, this city of nearly a half-million people reminds me a little of Santa Barbara. It has a lot of well-preserved older buildings with few modern structures in sight of the downtown core. And, the few modern structures that do exist are fairly discreet.

Towering above the city on a hill is the majestic and ancient Edinburgh Castle. It was once the home to Scottish monarchs including Mary, Queen of Scots. And to this day it still serves as a military base.

The center of the city is very walkable. And if you're moderately in shape and ambitious, as we were, you can even walk up the hill to the castle. As you might imagine, once there you'll be rewarded with panoramic vistas of the city and you can even get a glimpse of the North Sea.

Of course, no trip to Scotland (at least no trip that I'm on) is complete without sampling the single malt Scotch whiskies. Not that I would know a Glenfiddich or a Glenlivet from a Glengary/Glenross but hey, I'm here to learn! And I hope to be well "educated" by the time I leave here.

Either I've gotten used to the cold weather, consumed a lot of Scotch or, it's warmed up a wee bit. Skies are pretty much always overcast or gray with the sun breaking through for no more than an hour at a time. Yesterday, there was a man on the corner playing bagpipes who was wearing a kilt. It must have been drafty for him.

Today (Tuesday) is the last full day of our trip. We take the train back to London tonight and Wednesday morning we fly back home. Being the end of our trip, it's time to do that souvenir shopping I've been putting off. Any requests? I'm not promising to fulfill them, but it never hurts to ask.

Photos from our trip are posted here (London) and here, for Edinburgh.

* * *

Never miss another one of my blog posts, subscribe to Craig Smith's Blog by Email.
© 2010 by Craig Smith and www.craigsmithsblog.com