Edinburgh: A Pretty City?

Apr 21st, 2004, 12:18 PM
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Edinburgh: A Pretty City?

How would you describe Edinburgh and Scotland in general? Is it a pretty city? charming? austere? urban? Can you get to most places on foot or do you need a car? What are some of the more interesting things to do there?
beth23 is offline  
Apr 21st, 2004, 12:40 PM
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Edinburgh is fascinating, historical, classical, mediaeval, volcanic, friendly (contrary to myth), windy, spectactular, cultured, commercial, mysterious, sometimes pretty, never austere, urband for sure, easy to get about on foot and......
sheila is offline  
Apr 21st, 2004, 12:50 PM
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You should:-Walk through the new town with a proper guide to how it was all
done.(free except for cost of book- probably somewhere on the web)

Visit Valvona & Crolla which is probably the best Italian deli in
Britain (worth it for the experience even if you don't spend anything)

Visit the Royal Mile (free) and go to St Giles's Cathedral (free) and
Parliament House (free) and John Knox House and the Castle and appreciate the Stone of Destiny and the buried
tenement Mary Kings Close is a street which, in the middle ages, was on ground level but when the great plague came to visit Scotland (and Edinburgh in particular) it hit the place hard. The worst section of the city was right in the heart of the 'Old Town', where the present City Chambers are nowadays. This street was known as Mary King?s Close (after an advocate?s daughter so the story goes) and the local authorities, the kind beings that they are, decided to seal both entrances of the street up with everyone still inside. This street was rediscovered many years later and now you can take a tour down there. WARNING - they tell you that because of the many people sealed alive down there that there are ghosts aplenty. Tours can be arranged from the Royal Mile

Visit the Scotch whisky place (bit commercial; I wouldn?t)

Go to Deacon Brodie's pub and understand why it's called that (free except for the drink)

Eat in the Grassmarket and shop in Victoria Street

Go to the National Museum of Scotland which is pretty good, for the architecture as well as the exhibits

Visit Arthur's seat. Arthur's Seat IS a magnificent climb and, unless it is raining, well worth it for the views. It is a great open space in the city. The approx. 1/2 mile hike provides a commanding view of the city, castle, sea, and surrounding countryside
Visit Hollyrod Park (free)

Go and see Greyfriars Bobby and read the story (free except the book)

Go to the Royal Scottish Academy (free except for special exhibitions)
and the National Gallery of Scotland next door- (free)

Drink at Sandy Bell's pub where they play live folk music. The two best places in Edinburgh for folk music are 2 pubs (surprise!) One is the Tron and the other is Sandy Bell's. Sandy Bell's also used to produce a news-sheet "Sandy Bell's Broadsheet" and I think they still do, which lists all the folky stuff going on all over Scotland.

Eat at Viva Mexico and Cafe Vittorio and the Kalpna

Climb the Scott monument. Scott was a wonderful romantic Georgian writer whose stately mansion Abbotsford is in the Borders. The memorial is in the middle of Edinburgh's main shopping street, and it can be climbed for the view over the gardens and up to the Castle

Edinburgh is tourist city so the choice is very widespread.

Stay inbr />
The Elmview that is a convenient spot for seeing the sights

The Station House located three blocks away from the Royal Mile. The address is 9-13 Market Street, Edinburgh, phone # 02 398 744 4335.

Quality Hotel, Edinburgh Airport, Ingliston, Edinburgh EH28 8AU, phone 0131-333-4331, fax 0131-333-4124.

The Ibis, a chain, fairly new and was about $80.00 a night for the both of us. The hotel in the center of town, very convenient to most all of the sights

The Howard Hotel.

Edinburgh is a mixture of a wonderful late mediaeval city with a planned Georgian New Town. The Castle is a must, but a brisk hike up Arthur's seat (a hill in the centre of the town above Holyrood Palace) will give you magnificent views out over the whole of east central Scotland. The estuary of the Forth widens to superb beaches (with wonderful links golf courses behind them ) and in Fife you have St Andrew's, home of golf (the beach where they filmed the opening sequences of Chariots of Fire?).

The Royal Yacht Britannia is berthed at Leith, Edinburgh's port.

It's also a great shopping city.

Another possibility is to take your car up to the northwestern suburbs. In Davidson's Mains there is a baronial (i.e., circa 1895 but looking very medieval) house called Lauriston Castle. The tours are great, as this "castle" has secret passageways, a library bookshelf that hides a secret door, etc. From Davidson's Mains it is a very short (7-8 minutes)drive to Cramond, which has a yachtsman's harbor, the mouth of the River Almond, a medieval church (Cramond Kirk) and the remains (in the churchyard!) of Rome's northernmost garrison fort.

A list of things to see includes

The New Town-planned grid Georgian -makes Bath pale by comparison
The Royal Mile -Medieval route between the Castle and Holyrood palace
The Castle
Greyfriars Bobby - statue of dog who sat at his master?s grave for decades
The Meadows - huge park in the town centre
Dean Village - working men?s planned village
The Scott Monument -Gothic Sky rocket memorial to Queen Victoria?s favourite Scottish author
Calton Hill -Observatory
Arthur's Seat -see above
Holyrood- Palace and Park - Queen?s Scottish town house and big garden
The New parliament - this trip can be arranged. There is a visitor's gallery at the Scottish parliament and you can get tickets from (would you believe) the ticket office! There is no dress code.

The Museum of Childhood - on the Royal Mile
Cafe Vittoria - neighbourhood Tally restaurant. Very down to earth.
St Giles Cathedral - on the Mile. Scene of Jenny what?shername?s tantrum. Crown tower
Parliament House - where the big wigs hang out (what a terrible pun)

Gladstone?s Land, -mediaeval close off the High Street(the Mile)
Plus there are great restaurants, pubs, gardens and parks. My favorite restaurant is The Marque. It is on Causewayside and the food is fantastic. The prices were quite reasonable considering the level of cuisine (about $35.00 per person including dessert). If it's atmosphere you like try The Witchery. The prices are a little steep, but the food is good and it's right beside the castle. (as far as atmosphere, the name says it all)

Other great restaurants include Stac Polly, Café Hub, Browns, Le Sept, Est Est Est, Bann?s, Henderson?s, the Kalpna, Viva Mexico, Shamiana, the Siam Erewan.

Other great pubs include the Café Royal, the Barony, Mathers, the Diggers (posh name the Athletic Arms), the Roseburn, Bert?s, and the Abbotsford.

This is a city heaving with museums. I believe I have mentioned the National Museum of Scotland and the Museum of Childhood. In addition there arebr /> the National Portrait Gallery
The Gallery of Modern Art
The Dean Gallery
The Georgian House
The City Art Centre
The Fruitmarket Gallery,
The Collective Gallery
The Printmakers? Workshop

Or you can go to the Zoo; Dynamic Earth(mixed reviews- haven?t been myself), or the Botanic Gardens.

It?s awash with places to walk, sporting facilities, cinemas, theatres, music venues, and stunning architecture.

(apologies to those from whom I've plagiarised)
sheila is offline  
Apr 21st, 2004, 12:58 PM
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Sheila--well put!!! beth23, Sheila did an excellent job covering the beautiful city of Edinburgh--I wouldn't pass it up! Enjoy!!
Apr 21st, 2004, 01:07 PM
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If I'd never been to Edinburgh before, I certainly would be persuaded to go after having read Sheila's loving endorsement of the city.
But I have been there several times and have always been delighted with what I found. I arrived by train and used public transportation or walked all over town.
I think you'll have a good time if you go, Beth.
By the way ,Sheila, is "Jenny Whatshername" the woman who started a riot at the cathedral because she didn't care for the newly written liturgy?

starspinners is online now  
Apr 21st, 2004, 01:11 PM
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Scotland is soothing and magnificent and wild and mature and urban and urbane with wilderness and mountains and fantastic beaches and culture and poverty and degrading housing and dereliction, and the people are the friendliest and most welcoming in the world. The weather is warm and sultry and cold and windy with sleet and sunshine (all in 5 minutes, never mnd the same day)

You need a car to see it tho' it has many short medium and long walks.

"Caledonia! (is) stern and, wild,
Meet nurse for a poetic child!
Land of brown heath and shaggy wood
Land of the mountain and the flood,
Land of my sires! what mortal hand
Can e'er untie the filial band,
That knits me to thy rugged strand!
This is my own, my native land!"

gay landscapes, ... gardens of roses,
rocks where the snow-flake reposes,
Round their white summits the elements war
Though cataracts foam 'stead of smooth-flowing fountains,
pine cover'd glade.

"England, thy beauties are tame and domestic
To one who has roamed over mountains afar
Oh! for the crags that are wild and majestic,
The steep frowning glories of dark Lochnagar."

It would be the work of a lifetime to tell some of the more interesting things to do here

ah but let me tell you that I love you
and I think about you all the time
Caledonia you're calling me
and now I'm going home
sheila is offline  
Apr 21st, 2004, 01:14 PM
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Poetry, dear Sheila, sheer poetry--all of it. 'Tis making me homesick--it's been far too long--for all but the haggis...

Amy is offline  
Apr 21st, 2004, 01:18 PM
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Sheila - wow! I can see I need to go back to Edinburgh!

Who are you quoting?
adrienne is offline  
Apr 21st, 2004, 01:33 PM
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What? You could tell I didn't write that??

The first was Sir Walter Scott's "Lay of the Last Minstrel"; the second "Caledonia" by Douge Mclean and the third "Dark Lochnagar" by Byron. They could bring a tear to a glass eye
sheila is offline  
Apr 21st, 2004, 01:56 PM
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Well done, Sheila. (golf clap)

Thanks again.
mr_go is offline  
Apr 21st, 2004, 02:19 PM
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Jenny Geddes?
Barbara is online now  
Apr 21st, 2004, 02:54 PM
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I'm raising my glass of Lagavullan to you! Now I want to go too...

mvor is offline  
Apr 21st, 2004, 07:15 PM
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Sheila - it was the quotation marks that gave it away!! Else I would have thought it was your lovely verbiage!
adrienne is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2004, 05:02 AM
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Disappointed to see you haven't paid tribute to Dundee in your eulogy:-"

Seriously - this is terrific stuff. It makes me want to go to Scotland & I live here already!

JJBhoy is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2004, 05:16 AM
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Jenny Geddes- "When an attempt was made to impose an innovation of Laud?s liturgy on the Church of Scotland, the milkmaid stood up, hurled the stool she had brought to sit on at the celebrant, and shouted, ?Do you say Mass in my ear?!?"
sheila is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2004, 06:36 AM
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Sheila--perfect description of your homeland, which I dearly love. You are a wonderful embassador and exactly represent the fabulous people I've met there.

JJBhoy wants a quote about Dundee. I seem to remember one you provided the first time I met you. What was it again?
MelJ is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2004, 06:37 AM
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Geez, I swear, I CAN spell ambassador!
MelJ is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2004, 06:40 AM
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Thanks Sheila!! I'm packing my bags. What a wonderful itinerary! One more question: Would it be terrible not rent a car? Could we get a guided tour instead?
beth23 is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2004, 08:36 AM
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For Sheila Ritchie,

Please may we have your check on the phone number of the Station House hotel ? I may yet be able to attend the Festival and Fringe, and that location and your recommendation make the House attractive.

I agree with all you say of that great city. High time I went back.

Ben Haines
ben_haines_london is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2004, 11:33 AM
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I saw a recent post from Sheila in which she likened Dundee to a certain part of the anatomy - I wonder if this the same quote she gave you?

JJBhoy is offline  

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