Edinburgh (Scotland) Day 1

We took a boat into the port, and I was surprised to see mountains (or tall hills) flanking the city.  In the sea behind us was a small island with a stucture built into its side.  We took a bus into the city, and stepped out into Old Town, near the Waverly train station.  The view was breathtaking.  Rows of ancient buildings rose out of the ground all around us, and were separated by a row of rail tracks.  The stone was old, gray but beautiful.  It almost seemed like it was a modern city built between the spires of a sprawling castle. Far beyond the city were tall, precipitous hills.

The fringe festibal – a big Scotish festival in the a month of festivials – was taking place, and the city was teeming with mostly young people.  We walked along ancient streets to The Doric Tavern, where we climbed to the second floor and partook an a fish-and-chips and cheeseburger lunch that were the tenderest and tastiest burger and fish I’ve ever tasted (I said a word of thanks to the fish and cattle that gave their lives for our meal).  We also asked the server for ale recommendations, and she suggested Coast to Coast and Ederburgh Castle ales, which were deliciious (I preferred the Coast to Coast, myself).  

The server was friendly.  She was from Paris originally, but moved to Edenburgh a few years ago and loves it.  She was not a big fan of Paris, but did also spend time in Southern France, which she liked.  She looked very French.

We walked thorugh a park filled with people enjoying the sunny day, and stepped inside the National Gallery, where there were many rooms of paintings for a suggested 5 dollar/pound/Euro donation.  I enjoyed the 16th century portaits and scenes, but especially loved the Monets and other impressionist paintings upstairs.  

It was a hot day, and more than one Scot mentioned how lucky we were to be experiencing Edinburgh in the sun, which is not so common.  We spent the remainder of the time we had strolling in and out of shops and cafes buefor returning to our Shuttle for the Tattoo reservations we have tonight.  We still have tonight and all day tomorrow!

PS Saw a few homeless people asking for money, something we have not seen a lot of in Northern Europe.  I wanted to give them something but was not sure if it was legal to do that here, did not have cash handy and didn’t have any food to give them 😦

Edinburgh (Scotland) Day 1

A Day in Cork

We took a bus through and beyond Cork City.  In short, Ireland was exactly how I imagined it to be: green, green and more green, with rivers and rolling hills.  It was beautiful, and I can see why so many Irish felt pride over their homeland after immigrating from Ireland.  In a small seaside village, I walked through narrow ancient streets surrounded by stone and wooden homes, all well-tended.  On a hill over the village, was a 1000 year old churh, with a mixture of new marble headstones intermingling with stone markers so old the engravings were long gone.  I wandered into a local cafe, where several tables of Irish talked amongst themselves.  I ordered a coffee to go, and a scone with cranberries, and I learned later that scones are traditional but usually mixed with raisins.  The cost was 3 Euros, and when I gave him 5 and told him to keep the change the keeper put in an extra scone for me.  Needless to say, the scones were fabulous.  I also got an ice cream cone, and learned the traditional cones are 99 cones, which are soft served ice cream with a stick of chocolate atop.  Needless to say, this was also delicious 🙂

We rode into the port town, where a towering cathedral lorded over a small village.  I’d learned Guinness was not pasteurized in Ireland, so we tried both Guinness and Murphys.  In both pubs we went into, the locals were very friendly and genuine.  As we drank a guinness, a man came o ut to check his cell phone, stating his lady frequently called in him to make sure he wasn’t in the pub.

I loved Ireland.  I loved the people, the land and the tales. It honestly was everything I expected it to be — and I loved it.


A Day in Cork