On to Edinburgh

Trip Start Jun 27, 2010
Trip End Aug 19, 2010

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

7/21/2010 Wednesday
We finished our packing in the morning and fed the cats, did some cleaning and set out on our further journey to Edinburgh.  The weather was rainy and we were not in a hurry so we stopped in the City and Royal  Burgh of Dunfermline, once ancient capital of Scotland and ecclesiastical centre.  Since the early twentieth century, the most famous "son" of Dunfermline has been the wealthy industrialist, businessman, and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. He was the central figure in promoting its early 20th century urban renewal and his financial legacy is still of major importance.
    We had lunch in the Abbot Cafe  and then proceeded out the back to the Abbey Church.  We went in and were surprised to see a finished and functioning church inside.  A organ student was practicing and it was nice to hear the music.  The pulpit was central to the church, which is typical of Presbyterian churches, and below if was a life size brass for Robert the Bruce whose remains are below.  Sheila said, I know there is more to this space than just the church inside so we walked through some doors and there was the rest of the abbey, unfinished.    Outside, there were ruins of the old Monastery. 
  We arrived in Edinburgh at the Dorstan Private Hotel on Priestfield Road.  Richard Stott the owner, greeted us and gave us our key to an upstairs room number 8.  It was a bit of a shock after living in an expansive house to have a narrow room with an en suite that was quite small.  Our luggage took up a great deal of the space.  Once, somewhat settled we went downstairs to ask about a place to eat.  We were given the recommendation of the Old Bell.  We struggled to find it on the map and I had to return to the hotel once to get a better idea of the streets I needed to find.  Finally we saw the sign for the Old Bell and entered to find that they were no longer serving meals and they directed us upstairs to the New Bell.  We went up the back stairs and were seated immediately at a table.  The menu looked very good so we ordered and had some delightful dinner.  Sheila had two starters, Seared king scallops with orange and chilli caramel and herb polenta, and Tuna carpaccio and I had the Pan-roasted ribeye steak with beer battered onion rings, grilled vine cherry tomatoes, watercress salad and garlic butter or peppercorn sauce Best of all was when I asked if they had any non-alcoholic beer they told me they had Kaliber, from Guinness Brewrey one of my favorites.  It was a recommendation and we found that this was one of the recommendations in our Rick Steves Book on Scotland and restaurants in the area of our B&B.

7/22/2010 Thursday
    We had previously decided that we wanted to go to Durham in England to see the cathedral because we did not get to see it on our "cathedral trip" 8 years ago.  It was raining as usual and we left about 9:30.  We left our journey up to Gertie our Gamin (SatNav) and were surprised to be directed to the East coast.   Two hours later, we arrived in Durham and we could see the cathedral and the castle from the carriageway.  It is a darling town with a restricted to cars in the central area around the cathedral.  
The cathedral was beautiful and we both were surprised that we weren't more impressed.  We decided that maybe we had just seen so many cathedrals and we were just too jaded?  We weren't sure that could be true.  Regardless we were happy to be there and have a chance to see it.  We were unable to take photos inside and will download some photos from their website.   The Lantern is what you see if you look up above the Crossing.  This is the Crossing.   The organ had lovely pipes on both sides of the Quire.  This is the screen between the Nave and the Quire with the Rose Window showing.   This is the Rose Window. 
The castle was very impressive sitting higher up the hill from the cathedral.  We didn't go through it because Sheila was exhausted.  Sheila went to their website and found out that the University of Durham is located in the castle.  There is a very interesting video @ http://www.dur.ac.uk/university.college/.  Here are some photos that we downloaded from their website. 
    The return was done on the A86 which was just as long even though we were taking a more direct route.  We get to see the variety of countryside and small towns and villages along the way.
We took a rest stop in a small town along the way.  It was a very quite community and the pub was more quiet.  When we returned we took a break and decided have a later dinner.  The recommendation was the El Bar which was attached to the Alba Flamenca Studio, area which specialized in Tapas.  We asked about the process with the waiter and we order prawns, chirzo, lamb, and egg plant.  All of these were very tasty and had marvelous sauces for the prawns, lamb and the egg plant dishes.  The meal was very tasty and the price was very reasonable.  Rick Steves should add it to his list.

7/23/2010 Friday
    Skip went off to play golf at the Prestionfield Golf Club. While he was gone, Sheila had breakfast and read her current book.  When Skip returned, he had a short nap and we were off for seeing the parts of Edinburgh we hadn't seen on our previous trip.  We took a bus to the Royal Mile and Skip had lunch at one place on the Mile and Sheila had a salad and took photos of lots of the people.   Do you see the young woman with the strapless dress and another one holding flowers?  Sheila was trying to figure out what they were up to but, sadly, they eventually just walked away.      We went to the Scottish Whiskey Experience which was quite fun and very interesting.  We bought a bottle of single malt that we are bringing home that Sheila will share if you are nice!  Skip thought that it was interesting that our guide at the tasting mentioned that Grants scotch is considered the best blended scotch in all of Scotland.  We walked by a bagpiper who was playing as one of a number of street performers.  Click the video and it should play.  Earlier we had seen a street preformer juggling, lying on a bed of nails, etc, along with a couple of statue people, one in gold and another dressed as King Arthur.
  We then took a hop on hop off bus because we were tired and we were leaving the next day to go to Ireland.  We went by the new Scottish Parliament offices that were supposed to cost 40 million pounds but ended up costing 400 million!  And, it is ugly !   
    We hopped off at the Holyrood Palace and walked through it and then into the Holyrood Abbey in back.   
Right above the palace is King Arthur's Seat which is a "wild piece of Highland landscape in the center of Edinburgh and is 823 feet high.  You can see people walking up to the top to see Endinburgh.  We then hopped back on the bus and went to see New Town.  Here are various photos of some of the buildings.
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