Part 14: London to Edinburgh, Scotland


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The Trip

The National Rail System was our chosen conveyance from London to Edinburgh.  In anticipation of a boring ride, we went to the liquor store the night before and got 3 bottles of wine for the 4 hour trip for the three of us(!!).  The train was fast and was not really boring.  Particularly after the passenger boarded the extra seat in our cubicle.  He talked our ears off, like it or not.  The good news was that the wine dulled our senses and we found him funny after awhile.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

This is the ceiling of the King's Cross station for the National Rail Service.  NRS consists of a number of individual lines and you have to know which vendor you are going with as they do not have unified tickets.

It rains in London, so all the bigger stations are essentially sheltered from the rain and snow.  Our ride was 4 hours, but the time passed quickly.

It was a beefy walk from the train station in Edinburgh to our hotel.  Our path went up a rather steep grade and hauling luggage, even if it does have wheels was somewhat burdensome.  But, somehow we prevailed.  Edinburgh is suffering from the same building boom as London.  The old buildings and viaducts are original construction.

Looking back toward the train station we could see some interesting structures on the far hill.  We never visited these as we ran out of time.

The train station is in the building in the foreground and in the distance is the Balmoral Hotel.

We walked up the hill until we hit the Royal Mile and then turned west.  The Royal Mile was rather crowded with pedestrians making travel with luggage difficult.

Kathleen had chosen our hotel and it was both modern and nice.  Above, she sits in a stylish chair in the lobby.

Since there was plenty of light left, we decided to go out and see some sights.  This is Royal Mile looking east from the hotel.

From the other side of the street we could see St. Giles cathedral.  Note the buttresses on the tower.

To the north was the City Hall building.

To the west was another cathedral, but I have not yet established the name.

As we got higher on the hill, we could see new things.

Our objective was the Edinburgh Castle.  The wind was howling and Kathleen had to hang onto her hat to keep it from blowing away.  We should have been concerned that the doors were closed, but we "remained calm and carried on".

From the south side of the Esplanade we could see a big chunk of the city.

The castle was built on the crest of the steep hill to aid in defensibility.

We passed this large interesting structure near the mouth of the Esplande.

Now that we reached the close gates we finally realized that we were late to the party and the castle was closed for the day.  Above the drawbridge is the national motto for Scotland: Nemo Me Impune Lacessit: You will not harm me with impunity.

The walls of the castle are formidable.  The drawbridge could be raised to make a frontal assault impractical.

There were two very nice statues surrounding the entrance portal.  This one is William Wallace.

Statue of Robert the Bruce.

As part of the closing process, the personnel came out and lit the torches.  The castle was started in the tenth century, but there is evidence that the site has been occupied since the Bronze Age.  It is a very defensible position on a volcanic plug that has been scoured by glacial action.

From the gate we got a nice view of the skyline of Old Town.

Scotland is famous for its whiskey.  These girls stumbled by, clearly hammered and I said "Well, how was the whiskey tasting?"  They literally swarmed me and demanded to have their photos taken.  Most of it was for show, but the gal with the drink in her hand got right down to business.  She grabbed my hand and put it around her waist and started nibbling on my earlobes while her buddies were making silly selfie-faces.  Their cab soon arrived and they were gone in the blink of a shutter.

The train ride was not bad at all.  We got first class seats and they tried to feed us, but the food sucked.  Not unlike coach-class airline food, but worse.  But, we were 3 bottles of wine into it and did not care.  We decided after a few minutes in town that we should have allocated more time, so we extended our stay by a day.

Next, we explore Edinburgh.

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