Another British Ramble – Day 5

Distance Walked: 3.5 Miles

Salmon Sandwich Tally: 4

Writing Soundtrack: Marvellous Musicals Playlist

*** All photos are the property of yours truly – Please don’t use them ***

I spent the first bit of my final full day in Edinburgh (and Scotland) at the Scottish National Gallery on The Mound, something I’ve passed numerous times but never visited. Its collection of art is beautiful and spans several centuries and its outside architecture and location are picturesque as can be, perched between Princes Street Gardens and Waverley Station. And like so many great museums in the UK, admission is free, although a £5 donation is encouraged and a small price to pay. Since I’m odd and love listening to the train announcements at Waverley, I headed there next since I’m flying out of Edinburgh tomorrow and it seemed weird to visit Edinburgh and not hear the announcements.

I finished the day relaxing at a cat café just down the street from my flat that I’ve passed each day I’ve been here. I’m not really a cat person and am missing my dog terribly, but it seemed like a nice way to end the day.

I can’t say that I didn’t do everything I’d planned to Edinburgh, but I know I’ve packed more into my days here during past trips. However, I’m usually here when there are fewer people and after my body clock has had some time to adjust. But hopefully, I can make my way back before too-too long.

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Adventures of a Wanderess – Day 8

Salmon sandwich trip tally: 5

Day Eight began somewhat early as I wanted to give myself plenty of time to get ready and to get everything packed up. After saying goodbye to the flat (and Edinburgh Castle from the landing), I lugged PJ out to the sidewalk just as my taxi pulled up and was shortly on my way to Edinburgh Waverley Station. As is my habit, I got there with plenty of time (too much, maybe) so I grabbed a seat inside until my 12:12 train’s platform was announced and it was time to board. We pulled out of the station right on time and headed south past rainy, rolling green hills with slightly soggy sheep which soon gave way to snow-covered hills with well-camouflaged sheep. 





After calling at Lockerbie before crossing the border, stopping in Carlisle, and passing many much more snow-covered hills, I alighted at Oxenholme to catch the train to Windermere, reaching the end of the line just as the rain picked up again. 




A short taxi ride later and I was warm and dry after being warmly greeted by Jackie (and the new puppy) at my B&B in Bowness-on-Windermere, a wonderful gem that I found on my last trip and couldn’t pass up staying at again. The rain and a headache kept me in the rest of the evening and I’m not yet sure what my plans are for tomorrow. It will depend on how I feel and the weather, but if both cooperate, I hope to replicate last year’s day here and enjoy one of the other lake cruise routes.

Adventures of a Wanderess – Day 7

Distance travelled: 5.5 miles
Salmon sandwich trip tally: 4

**Quickly, I’d just like to take a moment to sincerely thank everyone who’s reading about my adventures. I truly appreciate it, so very much.**

Day Six got off to a rather late start, but I did manage to get out and wander around on my last full day in Edinburgh. I woke up before my alarm at 6:30 am, still not feeling very well, and noticed that it was snowing outside, Edinburgh Castle just visible through the swirling flakes. The weather app predicted it would start to taper off late morning, so I went back to bed with the intention of sleeping until I felt like getting up, not sure if I would actually feel up to leaving the flat at all. But by later, I was feeling better and the sun was shining so I headed out around 1 pm, destined for Dean Village and the Water of Leith, a beautiful, picturesque area and former milling village in a river gorge just northwest of Edinburgh’s City Centre and reachable by a mostly-flat 20-minute walk. Halfway there, the sun disappeared and it began raining, but by the time I’d reached the village and turned on Miller Row to walk along the water, it had let up for the most part. 


I wandered along the river for a ways, walking under the Queensferry Road bridge and passing people and pups out enjoying the area before I turned around and crossed the river to wander along it via the Water of Leith Walkway (although I wish I’d felt up to walking further). 





Eventually I decided to head back toward New Town and shortly into my return trek, it began snowing again. Wind blown and cold, but dryer than I would have been had I not had my umbrella, I stopped into Boots and the post office on Princes Street, the sun once again shining as I made my way through Princes Street Gardens (past the Scott Monument that I decided not to climb this time) and around Edinburgh Castle back to my Old Town flat. 





As lovely as my flat is (and it truly is), I’m glad I was able to get out and see a bit more of Edinburgh which I’m always sad to leave. A last bit of laundry and packing await tonight and then I bid Edinburgh and Scotland a fond farewell tomorrow and head to the Lake District.

Busy Wanderings: My Big British Adventure – Day 15

Since my plan to go to bed early last night didn’t work out and I didn’t fall asleep until around 1 am, I slept in this first morning in Edinburgh.  I didn’t have any plans other than to just wander around and explore so there was no rush to be out the door bright and early.  I headed out around 10 am…and was instantly reminded once again how glad I am that I bought that down jacket in London.  It was cold, felt colder still with the wind constantly whipping about, and I don’t think it got above 50 degrees all day, although I’d be surprised if it felt anything close to that with the constant windchill.  Bundled up in my jacket, scarf, and gloves, I said “good morning” to Edinburgh Castle upon exiting the flat and then headed up Grassmarket.  My first stop of the day was Greyfriars Kirk, the parish kirk of the Church of Scotland for central Edinburgh.  I wandered through its famous kirkyard with its worn and weathered headstones before finding the gravestone of Greyfriars Bobby, a Skye Terrier who supposedly guarded his master’s grave for fourteen years until his own death.  Just outside the gate to the kirkyard is a statue of him; I think that it was originally designed as a fountain, although it no longer has a water supply.


I then made my way across George IV Bridge to the National Museum of Scotland, which has free admission and houses many different exhibits in addition to the many on the history of Scotland.  I wandered about for an hour, dodged groups of school children, and had lunch in their café, before browsing through the gift shop.  I bought a friend while I was there, a Harris Tweed teddy bear from the Outer Hebrides, to be my travel companion for the rest of my trip.  I’m pretty sure that I’ll name him “Lewis” after one of the main islands.  I exited the museum…and promptly turned around and went back into the gift shop to purchase the fingerless lambswool gloves that I’d been admiring.  The blast of cold air that hit me when I first went through the revolving door made my decision for me.  Since the touch screen-friendly fingertips on my gloves weren’t working very well, now I can easily snap picture after picture on my phone without my hands freezing…just my fingertips.  And I received my first Scottish banknote as change for my teddy bear purchase, followed by two more later on at Marks & Spencer. 

 

 After leaving the museum (again), I wandered up and over the Royal Mile and made my way down to the Princes Street Gardens on the other side.  The gardens are beautifully manicured but daffodils and bluebells also grow wild throughout and I couldn’t resist taking more bluebell pictures.  The gardens essentially straddle the train tracks as they run into Edinburgh Waverley station, which makes for an interesting contrast between nature and technology as well as lovely views when you first arrive by train.  Making my way up through the gardens on the other side, I eventually reached the Scott Monument, a Gothic spire-like monument to the Scottish author Sir Walter Scott.  For £4, you can climb the 287 winding stairs up to the top…which I did.  The view of Edinburgh was amazing and all four observation platforms ensured a panoramic view of the surrounding area, the highlights being Edinburgh Castle and Arthur’s Seat.  However, the wind was whipping about something fierce so I didn’t stay up there for very long.

  

  

  

 

After a quick chat with one of the monument attendants, I headed across Princes Street to Marks & Spencer.  I don’t really know why, but as I mentioned in a previous post, wandering through the jewellery (not “jewelry” over here) and scarves seems to be becoming a little habit while I’m here.  Alas, this time I was weak and did end up leaving with another scarf.  I then headed down to their food hall (how cool is it that their department stores also include groceries?!?) and bought some produce and yogurt (“yoghurt”) before making my way back to the flat…up and over the Royal Mile again…in the wind, rain, and hail, which picked up even more once I was comfortably inside.  I was hoping to see a bit more on my first day in Edinburgh, but the weather made it a bit difficult and I do have two more days here before heading to my next destination.  Tomorrow, I’m booked on a sightseeing tour to Loch Lomond and Stirling which leaves from the Royal Mile at 8:45, so it’ll be an early morning…which probably means tonight will be an earlier evening than last evening was.  The weather is supposed to be about the same as it was today, but at least a lot of my time will be spent on a warm, dry coach with someone else worrying about the driving while I sit back and enjoy the sights.