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May 27, 2014

A Hindoo temple? No, the Sir Walter Scott monument in Edinburgh.

Friday, May 23, 2014


Time to pack up and depart Lake Country. The view through our window shows the fells and the newly cloudy and cold weather, a hint of things to come.

A village seen from the bus on the way back to Penrith, from which we take the train to Edinburgh.

We become so quickly accustomed to new things, if there are enough of them, that we don’t bother to photograph them. This is my only shot of the stone fences that partition the meadows throughout Cumbria.

Waverley Station, Edinburgh.

The Edinburgh skyline, looking south from Princes Street, the main drag.

Sir Walter Scott, ensconced in his monument.

Edinburgh Castle, the highest spot for miles around, ovelooks all of Edinburgh.

Nearly all of the buildings in Edinburgh are made of sandstone, and many older ones are black, or nearly so, from absorbing soot from coal that was burned prior to the passage of the Clean Air Act. This, along with the cold and wet, tends to give your humble newcomer a gloomy impression.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

A casual glance at a map of Edinburgh will show that the city is dotted with patches of green, large and small. Many are golf courses, no surprise, but there are also parks, and our apartment overlooked a big swath known as The Meadows, and in particular the croquet pitch, where we could watch practice and games throughout the day. Our bedroom had the dimensions of a bygone era, lots of space, high ceiling, and that monster window. Very comfy.

The American Patient. Peggy developed a bothersome cough a few days ago, and our Airbnb hostess was gracious enough to schedule an appointment at the Royal Infirmary, and a taxi ride to get there. £50 for the doc, about £14 each way for the cab.

A display behind the cab driver. Today, at least, it was rather appealing.

20140527-185025-67825655.jpgOur time in Edinburgh was short, two nights, but we at least wanted to see where our daughter worked and lived there during a six-month stay some years back. As it turns out, our apartment was a short walk across The Meadows from hers.

…and here we are. 8 Arden Street.

When you’re getting to know a city, there are certain places that draw you back, time and again.

Alyssa’s old place of employment, the Apex City Hotel, on Victoria Street, or one its reincarnations. Like London, Edinburgh tends to rename its streets every couple of blocks.

The lion(?) in the foyer of the Apex. No idea.

On our way back up Victoria street, we passed a place called Oink, that advertised Scottish Roasted Pork Sandwiches. If they tasted even half as good as the picture looks, they must be a couple of inches from heaven on earth.

Greenspace just south of Princes street, looking east toward Waverley Station.

At the end of our day we managed to visit the Scottish National Gallery, 30 minutes before closing. What we saw was just amazing. Lots of Scottish and English painters, of course, but also a healthy dose of the Dutch Golden Age: Rembrandt, Hals, Cuyp, Steen, Ruisdael, Dou; and Tiepolo’s piquant re-imagining of Moses in the bullrushes.

I must say we could have seen a lot more of Edinburgh, even in the short time alotted, if it were easier to navigate. There is no subway, and all public transport is apparently served by two competing bus lines. The route map of one is colorful, but to these eyes, undecipherable.

The ex-bassoonist in me couldn’t pass this shot up.

Last, but hardly least, our home in Edinburgh. Close to the center of town, spacious, full facilities, and a hostess who went out of her way to help us out. Thank you, Lynda.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Today, after some thought, we broke precedent and took a cab to the airport. I was getting a little tired of hauling suitcases on and off buses, which we would have had to do twice in this case. Lynda called us another taxi, and off we went in the rain to Edinburgh airport. The cabbie, who spoke with an authentic Scottish burr, was the conversational type, and he and Peggy chatted away while I gamely pretended to understand.

The Brits have raised the bar in cardiac arrest edibles. Yes, that’s onion rings, cheese, bacon, and a beef patty.



Terminal 5 at Heathrow is all British Airways, and these photos don’t really give a proper sense of the scale of the place. Note the modular, erector-set construction.

Schiphol, Amsterdam. One of several long, long corridors.


Well, you know, Holland.

No, that’s not a fly in a urinal. It’s a picture of a fly in a urinal. They all had them. I checked.


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  1. Alyssa permalink

    Great to see the old sights! But I am sorry it was too gloomy to enjoy. On a sunny, warm-ish day, it’s truly lovely! 🙂

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