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Day 4 - Day 2 in Edinburgh

A trip to the city

semi-overcast 14 °C
View A maiden holiday in Scotland on SteveJD's travel map.

We again made good use of public transport. Thank goodness buses are good and reasonably priced as parking is the joint most costly in the UK and driving into Edinburgh at the moment is a nightmare with all of the roadworks. Mainly these work are extensions of the tramline which will no doubt be great once they are finished. In the interim they are a pain.

Both of us were rather surprised at how grubby Edinburgh is. We were dropped on Princes Street which is a fine wide street with wide pavements but despite this we found it, overall, rather underwhelming and disappointing. From this main street, we trudged up through the streets to get to the Museum of Scotland, as recommended by friends (thanks Steve & Liz). Just opposite the museum is a small statue of Greyfriars Bobby. There are various stories about Bobby but the generally accepted view is that he was a Skye Terrier who guarded his master's grave for 14 years until he eventually died. I do wonder how he survived for 14 years through Edinburgh's winters but let's not spoil a good story.

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The exterior of the museum was very modern, with clean angular lines which I quite liked. However, inside it was clearly much older with a very graceful arched structure giving great open areas.

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We explored a few areas, all of which we enjoyed although we felt that some exhibition areas (like other museums etc., that we have visited) lacked any logical flow and we found ourselves dodging to and fro and thus missing some aspects. We did enjoy finding, eventually, the Book of Hours, a small beautifully illustrated little book which had been inscribed by Mary, Queen of Scots.

Lunch was OK and we ate this on the balcony which was incredibly noisy. The eating area looked out over the large internal space and at the ground level, all manner of activities had been provided to keep children entertained (it was a Saturday) and the din was quite incredible. What a pity children can't enjoy the museum for what it offers without dumbing things down to very noisy and rather silly activities. I know I am being intolerant but I feel my years allow me a little grumble!

In one of the exhibition halls was a special display of paintings by John James Audubon. The story of how he got Scots to help him to get his paintings published was fascinating in itself but the paintings were superb with so much attention to detail. Judith has recently taken up painting as a hobby and she was greatly taken by the detail in the pictures with evidence of extremely fine brushwork. I hadn't realised that he painted other creatures as shown in the following examples of some of the paintings on display.

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My grumbles aside, we really enjoyed this exhibition and the museum as a whole. After absorbing as much history and culture as we could, we walked across the road, past Greyfriars Bobby into Greyfriars churchyard where we found a gravestone erected in Bobby's memory and also a granite replica posed in a flower bed in front of the church.

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The streets in this area are very interesting but also very steep and windy, quite taxing on our aging legs! We walked up the Royal Mile with the castle looming over the shops, pubs and other buildings.

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We continued up Castle Hill, to the skirl of bagpipes from a solo, uniformed, piper to the entrance to the castle. Unfortunately, by now, it was too late for an entrance so we satisfied ourselves with a photograph - into the lowering sun! We had to enjoy the sun as it had been in scarce supply although it was at least dry.

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On our way back down, we had a good view of the massive memorial to Sir Walter Scott. This is the second largest memorial to a writer in the world, the largest being in Havana.

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This monument we felt typified the general grubbiness of the city - the "Athens of the North" (having been to Athens, I can't help feeling the comparison is valid insofar as appearance is concerned! However, it seems that in the 1990s test were carried out and it was decided that the sandstone should not be cleaned as this would cause damage to the stone. They did however replace some damaged parts, resulting in a slightly mottled appearance from some angles.

Posted by SteveJD 20:33 Archived in Scotland Tagged paintings edinburgh dog museum castle terrier audubon greyfriars_bobby walter_scott

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How far up are you going? Aberdeen, my old stamping ground?
Enjoying your blogs.
Kev & Jas..

by KEVTHOM29

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