Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace
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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Scotland Trip -- Day 1 in Edinburgh

Well, I've been home not quite a week, but its taken me this long to get back into some semblance of normalcy after being away for about 9 days.

My dear friend, Andrea and I, went on a lovely voyage to Scotland! It was a fun, adventurous experience, and I'm going to share with you all my pics from each day we were there!

We took an overnight flight, landing in Edinburgh Saturday morning. Having slept a few hours, and being pumped full of tea and adrenaline, we grabbed our rental car and hit the road. (Forgot to add this--when I got into the car, I totally freaked! There was no D for Drive!!! Had to have the guy come over to show me that A was the slot to put the gear in. A for Automatic! LOL, it was looking pretty precarious before that!) After nearly going into a round-about the wrong direction, and making a 36-point turn after turning into a parking lot on the wrong side, we finally made it to our first stop--Edinburgh Castle.

Here is a pic I took near the parking area looking up at the castle. At this point adrenaline was still pumping, but the thought of climbing up made our legs a little weak...

The walkway from the parking lot to the castle is called--Castle Terrace.

Another view of the castle from the walking path.

See the whole in the wall? I zoomed in on this. This could have two uses--a toilet, or a spot to drop boiling water or oil on enemies. I was certainly glad to be a visitor in this era.

A view of the castle from below. Can you imagine warriors climbing these rocks? It was incredibly steep. If they fell, they would most likely not survive. We were amazed by this, because in truth, men did climb this mountain and take possession of the castle during the War for Scottish Independence.

We finally made it to the top. This is a view of the town below, mountains and water in the distance. Just a beautiful, amazing sight. My breath was taken away (not just from the climb).

This is me outside the gate to the castle. I'm looking a little worse for wear after traveling over twelve hours, but I'm still super excited to be there!

A statue of William Wallace outside the castle gate.

A statue of Robert the Bruce outside the gate. We studied the for several minutes before realizing the one with the crown was the Bruce.

I love doors and this one was nearly twice as tall as me!

Through the gate, I had to take a pic of the portcullis, but you can barely see it. Lots of visitors that day!

This is the Scottish National War Museum. It had beautiful stained glass and looked like a castle himself.

The great hall. Look at that amazing ceiling.

A closer look at the hearth, some suits of armor, and a doorway that would have led the king or noble away from the great hall.

Queen Mary's chair

Figures of Robert the Bruce being crowned.

In addition to loving doors, I also love stairs :)

The front figures are Queen Mary being prepared to be crowned at 9 months of age. The figure in the back is Mary grown up--it said she was nearly six feet tall as an adult! An imposing woman, no wonder her cousin Elizabeth was afraid of her.

Yes, we did have to climb into the boxes to take pics, lol

This fascinated me! A cemetery for soldier dogs.
After leaving Edinburgh, I didn't take any more pictures... We had a three hour drive north to Inverness where we'd rented a flat, and believe me delirium was starting to set in as well as darkness. We took a tour through the Blair Castle area at night in search of a bathroom--no rest stops or gas stations to be found. However, we did discover a 20-pence toilet! And we were lucky to have a 20-pence coin! The town was eerily quiet and empty. Not a soul in sight. A little creepy.

We arrived at our rented flat around 8:30 that night, and then drove for another hour -- passing the same Chinese take-out 6 times--before we found a Tesco to buy some food. We were too exhausted to eat out as we'd been awake for over 24 hours with just a little nap. I was so excited they had a ready-made Moroccan cous-cous and vegetable samosas. Yum! Not exactly Scottish, but food music to this vegetarian's ears. Oh, and we met a very handsome young lad who topped-up our UK cell minutes, and then asked us why on earth we'd ever travel to Scotland on holiday. He thought we should be somewhere warm. But honestly, the weather was better than where we'd come from.  Both of us passed out on the big cushy chairs in our living room, and we slept until 11:30 the following day, lol! I haven't slept in that late since college!

Will post more pics of our second day of adventuring, tomorrow!



Afton Locke said...

It brings back memories of my trip. Those overnight flights are rough! I can't believe you did so much the first day and drove too.

Chicks of Characterization said...

What an exciting day!!! I still don't know how we made it to the flat. We were so delirious by then!

Oh and you forgot one thing- "Andrea I don't know how to drive this car, it doesn't have a D, R, or N- it has a M, R, and S!!! lol:)

Eliza Knight said...

@Afton -- I don't know how we did it either! It was totally insane! I think next time, we'd stay there overnight and then drive the next morning :)

@Andrea--OMG, I forgot about that! lol, added it :)

ellaquinnauthor said...

I was lucky enough to have driven there when we lived in England. Love the castle and walking the Royal Mile.

Christi Barth said...

Can't wait for more of your travel diary! So picture this - when I was 9, my dad's marching bad particpated in the Tattoo, held every summer AT Edinburgh Castle. I got to sit in the box right next to the royal box. AMAZING!!!!

Lyn Horner said...

Wonderful pics! They remind me of my trip to Scotland several years ago. Love Edinburgh Castle! I'll watch for more photos.

Barbara said...

Oh, my, I love the pictures. Brought back memories of my trip almost ten years ago. Want-to-go-back! Stayed at a place just outside town and used the public buses when we came in to Edinburgh. Saved parking woes. Great photos, Eliza. Can't wait for more.

Susan Macatee said...

Beautiful pics, Eliza! Brings back memories of my trip to Scotland many years ago.

Vonda Sinclair said...

Awesome pics and great descriptions of your and Andrea's adventures, Eliza!! I love Edinburgh castle. You have far more energy than I do. LOL I always have to sleep when I arrive. I'm a zombie on jetlag. LOL

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful trip! Thank you for sharing the pictures. Just lovely...


Alexa said...

I'm so jealous! BUT I'm glad you had a great time. I wouldn't have been able to rent a car because I'd be too afraid of drifting to the wrong side of the road. And the turnabouts? Don't even mention those!

Looking forward to the rest of your pics and deets!

Eliza Knight said...

@Ella - That's awesome! How lucky to have lived in England!

@Christi - WOW! That is an amazing memory!!! I bet you were so excited!!! Does your dad still participate in the band?

@Lyn - Thank you! It was such a beautiful place!

@Barbara - oh the parking woes! lol I think I'd do that next time too!

@Susan - thank you! Glad I could take you down memory lane :)

@Vonda - lol, we were CRAZY!!! I have no idea how we survived :) Thank you!!! I always love your pics too!!!

@Deborah - Thank you! So glad you enjoyed :)

@Alexa - I'm jealous of you being in Edinburgh for Hogmanay!!! OMG, those turnabouts were HORRID! I am SHOCKED we didn't get into an accident! lol

Renee Vincent / Gracie Lee Rose said...

Oh I am so envious of you, Eliza!!! These pictures are so amazing. I CANNOT wait to go to Scotland and Ireland and see what you've seen. Thank you so much for sharing them. I look forward to tomorrow's batch :-)

Gerri Bowen said...

Wonderful photos, Eliza!

Jennifer Page(JC) said...

Thank-you for sharing Eliza! Can't pick a favourite photo, all great pics...Happy you had the best holiday adventure:)

Lacey Falcone said...

Great photos - Edinburgh Castle looks amazing! Before I came to Europe and started visiting castles, I thought they were all moated. I was surprised to learn how many were built on pretty steep hills, and didn't need/have moats at all. I look forward to reading more about your trip!

Tami Dee said...

I love, love, love your photos and experiances! Thank you so much for sharing, can't wait for the next day!!!

Lana Williams said...

Wow - thanks so much for sharing all the pics and your impressions! Awesome!