Friday, August 17, 2018

On to Edinburgh

Arriving  there late afternoon we made it to our Air BnB just in time to turn around and head out for dinner. This time we ate at The Chop House in Leith. Not a very inspiring name for a restaurant is it? I’m not a fan of eating chops but it turns out this was a steak house. There seems to be a passion for aged steaks in this country. The steaks we ordered were aged 35 days. The prices for more “mature” steaks were eye watering! 

Sunday we were up and off early to go and explore Edinburgh. We had booked ahead for the round city Hop on Hop off buses plus tickets for the Castle, Holyrood Palace and the Royal Yacht Britannia. The start point for the tour was Waverley Station, the main railway station in the centre of town. Waverley Station is a big rambling place which is much on the lines on the house that Jack built. A pop up eatery had been put on the top of the station to make a kind of party central for Festival goers. Deserted at this early hour but oh so busy later. 

We decided to head to the Castle first. So glad we did! The bus took dropped us not far from the castle gates and we strolled on up from there. A great atmosphere of excitement as people trooped on up. 

The Air sure was bracing up there and views over the city unsurpassed. many people though! They made me think of ants crawling over a wedding cake! As we left to come down the pedestrian traffic had increased greatly. 

It was interesting to walk through the area set up for the Tatoo. It always looks so big on TV but it’s actually not that big at all. Although it does seat 9000 people an evening. 

So on we went..... Holyrood Palace next. Good old Her Maj , She always puts on the best show. 

Back around through part of the Royal Mile.Lots of tempting shops full of the best Scotland has to offer.   Sadly part of the mile was closed because of, yes you guessed, the Festival.

Loads of statues and memorials around Edinburgh. 
This one is for the Black Watch Regiment. Very imposing.

This monument is to remember Sir Walter Scott. Apparently the largest tribute to an author in Europe. This is made out of terracotta which as it is just across from the main railway station became very grimy and sooty. It can’t be restored as the material has become fragile. 

On out to the coast we visited the Royal Yacht Britannia. A nice look into yet another bit of Royal history. 
I felt quiet at home on the deck! 

Great view out to sea. 

Wending our weary way home we were driving through a rather grim area, lots of three story buildings without much variety. Then I spotted this wonderful splash of colour on the third story. 

We’ve been back in London for some days now. It’s a wet dreary day today so I’m hoping to bring you up to date with what we’ve been doing. 

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Time for a catch up.....

Golly it seems forever since we had our day trip to Skye. Let me catch you up on what we’ve been doing. From Beauly we travelled east to Arbredeen. Yet another enjoyable train trip. We fell in love with Aberdeen immediately. Such a different place. The buildings are very pretty. I think I know where Walt Disney got his inspiration for his magic fairy castle from. 

The main construction material is granite so the buildings are mainly light grey. When the sun hits the stone the buildings sparkle. 

We loved the feeling of being by the sea. The air in Aberdeen is brisk! 
The quaint cobblestone street up to our hotel.

Union Street, the main shopping street. Majestic buildings along both sides. 

We arrived around midday, explored the inner city near our hotel and settled into a great steak house for dinner. We keep finding such good places to eat! 
A wee dram - you can’t be in Scotland and not have one. 

Our hotel was directly across from The Maritime Museum so the next morning we had a good old poke around there. The building is three stories high. A very large model of  a North Sea oil rig built in the middle dominates the museum. I can imagine it would be the sort of thing that a bloke would love to look at.

Great views over the busy harbour

There are lots of interactive displays and I found my self pulled in to play at generating power by wave power and tide power. 

After visiting  the museum we departed for Edinburgh. We were sad to leave Aberdeen and wished we had stayed longer. 

Saturday, August 04, 2018

Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing....

..... over the sea to Skye......

Yesterday we set out by train from Beauly (near Inverness) to travel to Skye. We had the most delightful day. We travelled through many different scenes. From neat tidy ordered farm land to rugged highland areas.

 The train took us to Kyle Lochalsh where we caught our connection to Skye. 

As you can see a bit of Scottish mist around

The harbour at Kyle Lochalsh

All these years I have dreamed about catching that boat to Skye. I imagined it would be a good half day ferry ride. Wrong! You get on a bus and ride over a bridge. Not quite so romantic but quick and efficient. 

Travelling through Skye up to Portree we once again moved through changing scenes. 
There is no shortage of fresh water on Skye. In contrast to the mainland we saw many streams gushing down the hillsides. Perhaps this is where the many distilleries get their water from? 

Approaching Portree 

Looking out across the water from town. Such an idyllic place. 

Portree was teeming with people. I’d hate to be there when it’s really busy.

We had a wander around the town centre which we finished with a wee visit to the church on the square. A nice tranquil place of peace and contemplation to enjoy before we caught the bus back to the mainland. 

I loved seeing the soft hues of the landscapes along with surprisingly bright colours. Bright yellow seaweed on the rocks was a  surprise. I can see where the inspiration for Tartans and Tweeds come from. 

The houses in this area are mainly painted white or cream  with pointy grey (slate I guess) rooves . I had expected to see lots of grey stone but that was not the case. 

When we finally got back to Beauly we walked into the town square. The houses we passed by are a different style again, some sort of red stone. 

We finished our day visiting the Square in Beauly to watch the Highland dancers. Such a fun family atmosphere. We hadn’t seen dancing like this for many years. 
Lassies flashing their petticoats. 

There was a nice pub just there so that’s where we finished our superb day. Enjoying yet more excellent Scottish food. 

Thursday, August 02, 2018


We came up to Glasgow on Monday. 
Tuesday we spent the day exploring. We popped on a bus tour and travelled around the central city. 
We loved Glasgow. So many of the old buildings in the centre of the town are interesting and ornate in style. Many of the buildings once housed major commercial activity like banking. Some were once just splendid big homes. The revitalisation of the central city has seem a pedestrian mall installed. The retail outlets that have moved into old buildings have obviously been told to keep their signage subtle. So subtle in some cases it becomes quilte difficult to find some shops. Our hotel was right by George Square which seems to be a centre point for activities. The European Championships  which is a major sporting event commences there on Friday. The square was abuzz with workmen working to build an open air stage plus pop up shops for the occasion. 

So here you are, a little look at Glasgow

This is the biggest terracotta fountain in Europe - all about Queen Victoria of course

This building was once the private home of the Cunningham family. It is now a museum of modern art. 

Spot the subtle signage on this old building

The university buildings are very impressive 

This is the George Square , as you can see a hive of industry.

Lots of these glorious flower towers all around the square 

The Council Building - very grand. Looking very spiffing.

The cenotaph in the square has two lions guarding it. So I had to have a visit with the big cats.

Yes, I do look a bit rugged up. The weather has changed a tad. A few days ago we were sweltering at 32c suddenly the temperature dropped way down. We were out for dinner and the evening was quite chilly. 

All in all we loved our visit to Glasgow. The people are so friendly and helpful we loved being there. 

So it’s off to Skye we go tomorrow. 

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Some things change, some things stay the same....

In August 2015 when we were visiting in this part of the world I posted a picture of the house across the road from where we were staying. 

Here we are August 2018 and it looks like time has stood still

Friday, July 27, 2018

Trafalgar Square...

.....oh how I love you! 

This place always gives me a real buzz. 

Lunch at The Admiralty Pub. A superb place for food and people watching. 

We had lunch on the top deck.

Of course a visit with the big cats is a necessity. 

See that group of young people sitting in the background.? 
A bunch of Australians singing “Advance Australia Fair”. That’s what I love about the square there are always lots of fun, impromptu things going on. 

...and a visit to the National Art Gallery. What a place that is! I’m not going to give you picture overload I’ll just share a couple that took my fancy. I have seen this painting several times now. 

Spotted Van Gough’s Sunflowers which was, I thought, disappointingly rather dull. I guess over the years I have seen this depicted on many things. I suspect that users of this image may brighten it a little. It was a real bun fight to get close but I managed it. 

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