My overnight flight from Chicago ended in a wall of clouds, with bits of impossibly green hills showing through here and there. Ah, this must be Scotland... or maybe Ireland? Yup, it was Glasgow.
I fight jet lag by trying to stay up until my normal bedtime --
walking around, seeing the sights, trying not to sit down too long.
That plan worked pretty well in Glasgow until, oops, the bus ride to
Edinburgh at the end of the day that did me in. After a good night (or
two) of sleep at my B&B, with cooked Scottish breakfasts for fuel (cereal
and milk, meat,
meat, eggs... and more meat), I was ready to explore. Hey, I'm out of
the US and it feels like my trip is finally starting! Well, almost:
I've spent enough time in the United Kingdom during my life that Edinburgh
exotic... but it was every
bit as beautiful as I'd heard.
I spent most of a week in this historic city. Here's a bit of it.
To get a larger version of any picture, click on it; a new window
should open. When you close that window, this window should still be
I'll start with two photos from Glasgow. It has some interesting buildings and a several museums that my guidebook recommended. I went to the Burrell Collection, an idiosyncratic set of works collected by a Glasgow industrialist who donated it all to his city. The stained glass collection is one of the best parts. That's Princess Cecily, circa 1485, from Canterbury Cathedral:
The biggest attraction in Edinburgh is the Castle. In fact, it's so big that it's hard to miss. As you walk along Princes Street (a main shopping streeet), one side of the street -- called the garden side -- has no businesses and almost no buildings. Across a garden-filled valley is a view to the castle in the distance beyond. It's quite a sight! In the left-hand photo below, you can see the castle in the distance behind the statue, on the top of the hill. (Remember that you can click on any photo for a 400%-larger view. Close its window to come back here.)
I'm not quite sure what those photogenic buildings are in the right-hand photo. (By the way, in reality those buildings are to the left of the castle... but this layout looked better if I put them to the right side...) If you're sure what they are, please click the link at the bottom of this page to send me email; thanks.
Edinburgh has a lot of excellent cheap buses to take you around, but I'd recommend walking whenever you can: there's so much to see down every street. Below are a couple of views from the other side -- the south side -- of the castle. These shots are from Bruntsfield Links -- a huge grassy park, next to The Meadows, part of the peaceful walk between the center of town and my B&B. (The right-hand photo is somewhere on the eastern side of Edinburgh, super-magnified with my camera's digital zoom.)
Pack a pair of walking shoes and take a hike!
Not everything in Edinburgh is ancient, of course. The sculpture on the left below is in front of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. On the right below is a zoomed-in view of some of the zillions of windows on the side of the new Scottish Parliament building, which is under construction and which may be finished by the time you read this -- assuming you read this in the year 2050 or so. 8^} Apparently it's way late and way over budget.
I try to arrange my vacations so I'll stay in each place for a week or two -- and take trips out from there. That gives me a chance to get to know an area a little, to feel a bit like I live there. I like to wander the streets, too, watch and listen to people, etc. etc. This morning I was out with students on their way to school. The photos are some of the homes along Viewforth, a road in the part of Edinburgh near my B&B.
"So if you're in Scotland, Jerry," you might ask, "where are the kilts and bagpipes?" Well, some Scotsmen do still wear kilts. But the only man I saw in kilts on this trip was one I caught a glimpse of from behind, as I walked into a washroom (restroom, WC), and I wondered for a moment if it was a skirt, and whether I was in the right place... until I spotted his hairy legs. Taking a picture there wouldn't have been a good idea, I'm afraid.
I did get you some photos, though they might not be exactly what you expected. I spotted a kilt store along the Royal Mile, and waited a while for customers... but the Royal Mile is a tourist street, which made me wonder whether I might be snapping a photo of a kilt-wearer from Kansas City. I took a picture of the store front, anyway. And on my way to a launderette, clothes in tow, I found this bagpipe shop (repairs and restortations their speciality) in a very un-touristy part of town. I hope that's enough for you, for now... but it looks like I'll definitely have to come back to try again.
(These photographs are Copyright © 2003 by Jerry Peek. Much higher-resolution versions of most images, and many other images too, are available at Jerry Peek Photography. Photos are available at reduced prices, or free, for non-commercial use.)