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YEAH: York and Edinburgh for April Holiday

YEAH: York and Edinburgh for April Holiday

Old Apr 29th, 2012, 05:30 AM
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Wednesday, 18 April

After a final delicious breakfast at Number 34, I put my convertible bag on my bag and strode to the railway station in easy time to pick up my ticket.

I had purchased two tickets online back in February, early enough for advance tickets using Scotrail's site, .. York to Edinburgh Waverley and Edinburgh Waverley to Manchester Airport. I paid with my Capital One Visa (no foreign transaction fee) and just needed to put it in the slot and tap in the purchase code to get the ticket and seat reservation.

Soon after the train exited the station, I could tell that I am just not used to train riding--every couple of years is just not a regular enough experience. I took 1/2 a Dramamine (and took the other 1/2 before boarding the train back to MAN).

Other than getting used to the motion, I love riding trains on my trips! I hate, however, when two trains meet. It always comes as an unpleasant surprise, making me jerk and I have to shut my eyes.

The Dene is 1 mile from Edinburgh Waverley. It's a slight uphill to Princes St, slight uphill up Hanover St to the intersection with George St, but then it's all downhill (Hanover St changes to Dundas St along the way) to Eyre Place. I made it in 26 min, all the while thinking that I would be getting the bus back on Saturday morning!

After settling in to my single standard room, I went across Dundas St to the Cuckoo Bakery, This is another FaceBook "Like," and the pictures of the cupcakes are just gorgeous. I purchased an Eton Mess and carried it to find the Royal Botanic Garden ( ) and a quiet spot to enjoy my cupcake. It was very good. Was it so good that I would pay £2.30 for another? For me, no. One a trip, yes, I will be visiting again when next in Edinburgh, but the icing was a bit too sweet for me, so one a trip is enough. I also want to return and try the ginger beer that was on the shelf (I like ginger beer and try the different brands as I find them).

I headed back from the Garden (not far from the Dene and this was my first visit) to go up Dundas St .. up, up .. oh, I am so taking the bus on Saturday, I thought. I approached the Royal Mile by going up over the Mound, stopping by the Museum on the Mound. A gentleman in a suit opening the door for every visitor was a first! A museum for the banking/financial industry was different, definitely different. I didn't stay long, but may go longer the next time to read more of the displays (visual, but largely texted displays).

I wanted to be sure and make the People's Story, I love going up to the video room at the very top. I was in time to watch the video that covers life in Edinburgh and its changes through the 20th century (to about the '80s) one time. It was 4:30 and the shooing out had begun.

I had seen something on the news on Monday and I looked for a quote in a display for comparison .. "in 1863 1 baby in 7 died before the age of 1 year." Now, the baby is alive, but not well, because the news was how 1 child in 7 is obese in the UK. True, one city's stats against a country's, not fair, but still interesting thought.

From the People's Story on the Royal Mile, I went back to the Dene, and then back up Dundas St as far as Queen St to go to the Edinburgh New Town Cookery School,

Somehow I had seen the Cookery School's web site and a new beginner's course was starting that night. I e-mailed and asked if a one-night visitor was okay. It was. I think it worked well because it was the first night of the course, so I wasn't butting in to an established group dynamic. I tried counting students as they came in--my last count was 9 men and 5 women.

For the one session, the two hour course cost £52. I had a lovely time and learning some cooking techniques. We made a small loaf of Irish soda bread, pesto, and minestrone soup. Not having a way to store my efforts, I gave away most of the pesto and soup, taking the bread and rest to have a lovely supper down the hill in my room.

Any guesses to the pedometer reading? From railway station to guest house to gardens to Royal Mile to guest house to Queen St to guest house ... 17,100
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Old Apr 29th, 2012, 06:06 AM
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Thanks for the report. After London, York is my favorite English city and I went to many of the same places you did. If going to York again, the Yorkshire museum as there is a lot of interesting exhibits on the history of York and the building itself(an old abbey).

I looked into that B&B but it was full. I stayed for 4 days at the Talbot Court Apartments which I can highly recommend. Lovely clean furnishings within the city walls. And the owners were marvelous to deal with and had some groceries waiting when I arrived. Still have to make it to the Air Museum as the buses weren't running.
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Old Apr 29th, 2012, 06:22 AM
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Thursday, 19 April

What to do this day? A friend has indicated interest in coming on a trip with me for 2013, or summer 2014 if next year doesn't work. I want to revisit just about everything I have done on my four trips to date, but I also want to perhaps leave some things so we share new experiences, but we haven't yet talked about her interests.

I debated leaving this idea for a joint trip, but then decided as it was on my "must do" list, I won't worry about whether she'll wish I had waited or not care. I headed to the Falkirk Wheel,

After breakfast I trekked back to the railway station (hmm, I'm rested after yesterday's walking and it's doable).

I purchased my ticket from an agent's desk. I wasn't sure what she meant that I could do either Falkirk Grahamston (FKG) or Falkirk High (FKK). It made more sense when I heard the announcement when the train stopped in Linlithgow, "Change here for Falkirk High." Getting off a train that was already going where I wanted didn't make sense, so if you're in Edinburgh, FKG seems the more logical route.

The trip was not long and I didn't have trouble with the motion this day. (I still hate when trains pass!)

Getting off in Falkirk Grahamston, the train leaves you on the correct side to head uphill into town and catch the bus to the Falkirk Wheel. Go up Glebe St alongside the ASDA and across the street to the bus stop by the clock. You will know it's the correct bus because it's green and has lots of yellow text about the Wheel The route number is No. 3. Coming back, the bus lets you off on the shopping store side and you just walk back down to the train station, going up and across the walkway to the other side to board and go back to Edinburgh.

The off-peak return train ticket cost £9.00 and the return bus ticket was £3.80. The bus trip to the Wheel goes through a residential part of Falkirk Grahamston, so the trip is as long as the number of requested stops, but it really didn't take long at all.

The first building you enter is actually a tourist information stop for the local area. Exit that building and go into the next for the Wheel's reception area. I purchased a ticket for the next boat ride and had lunch in the cafeteria (£7.70 for sandwich, banana, water, and very nice piece of chocolate cake .. yum).

The weather was gray and sprinkles fell during the boat ride, but it was still fun, and I would just hope for a sunny day on a return trip

Afterward, I followed the walking path markers to the Antonine Wall and back, arriving in time for a bus to take me back to the shopping center and go back down to the train station. Sprinkles were no bother (I did have my umbrella with me). The heaviest sprinkles were as I approached the train station, but by being so close, I just kept going, so I never actually used the umbrella on my trip, though I wasn't far from it several times.

Returning from the Royal Mile on Wednesday, I had stopped at Unicorn Antiques on Dundas St. I found a cute blue itty-bitty vase to take home. I stopped again this trip to ask a curious question, did the proprietress have anything related to a bear named Wojtek? It looked like I was giving her a trip down memory lane, but nothing to offer was in the shop.

Wojtek was a bear who lived in the Edinburgh Zoo from 1947 to 1963. He arrived there by traveling with the 2nd Corps of the Polish Army during and after the Second World War. Another friend asked me if I could find the statue of him and take a picture. In my researching, I found the charity, , and learned a statue is still in the planning stages, but I was going to find some more info, if possible, this trip.

Thursday's steps: 13,200
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Old Apr 29th, 2012, 06:34 AM
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Hi emily71, thanks for reading. Yes, even with my three days I didn't make it to the Yorkshire Museum or York Castle Museum or Clifford's Tower or ... repeat visits are due
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Old Apr 29th, 2012, 07:25 AM
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Friday, 20 April

The weather was gray and sprinkle-y to start, but not enough to need the umbrella as I once again went up and over Dundas St to go to the Royal Mile and beyond.

First stop was the Central Library on George IV Bridge, The enquiries desk sent me down to the Edinburgh & Scottish History Section where I filled out a request slip to browse the reference copy of Aileen Orr's Wojtek the Bear: Polish War Hero,

I spent an hour and a half browsing and definitely want my own copy. The book is a delightful read, and a knowledgeable epilogue puts Wojtek's story in context to the WW2 events.

Next stop was the National Museum of Scotland, not far away on Chambers St, where I made it for the first time to the rooftop terrace, . Do look for the signs to go up and enjoy the view. I took the stairs, but I saw that one of the elevators also goes up.

A special exhibit until June is all about train posters. Yes, I enjoyed it!

I walked down Chambers St to visit the Blackwell Bookshop on South Bridge, but a copy of Orr's book was not available. I will have to order online.

Back up to George IV Bridge and I spent some time in the National Library of Scotland,

I filled out forms for a library card and to access the reading rooms this trip. My coat and purse had to stay in a locker. The only things I could take up were my Cahier notebook and pencil (pens stay in the locker). The enquiries desk staff were very helpful. Again, I filled in a slip with what I needed and waited for it to be brought to me. I requested the microfilm of the Scotsman newspaper for the months when Wojtek arrived at the Zoo and when he died (thinking there might be a news story).

Luckily, the 1947 Scotsman is now electronically indexed with PDF copies of articles. Simply by typing in the name and paying .35p I had a copy of when Wojteck arrived at the Zoo. I wasn't so lucky with the November 1963.

I haven't worked with microfilm since college, 20+ years, but it did come back to me how to work the machine I first found a picture of President John F. Kennedy receiving a dirk from the Black Watch Pipe Band, which was touring North America. I later also saw the headline news after his assassination.

I didn't find any article about Wojteck, though that doesn't mean more can't be found. I may have just missed it, or a different paper may have mentioned his passing. I have one article copy and information on how my friend can request research services even from this side of the Atlantic from the National Library's staff.

Back over to the Dene to drop things off and a walk, with the sun now shining around clouds, to the Scotmid Co-operative on Hamilton Place. The coconut yogurt (and I seem to remember bits of chocolate) with the Co-Operative Truly Irresistible West Country label was delish!

Friday's steps: 11,000
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Old Apr 29th, 2012, 07:35 AM
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Good to see you enjoyed yourself.

Robins are very good at watching gardeners weed and they pounce on any little creature you unearth. Also they are very territorial. I was taught that in olden days it was assumed that Robins were the male of the species and Wrens the female. Hence the song.
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Old Apr 29th, 2012, 07:51 AM
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Saturday, 21 April

Breakfast on Saturdays is later than weekdays, so I helped myself to the continental items in the breakfast room before dropping off the keys and leaving.

On Wednesday, I thought sure I would want to wait for a bus, but daily trips up and over the hill, and I thought I could make it. I did, and two minutes faster than my arrival time! I think the faster bit was from not having to wait at every single corner (more traffic on a Wednesday early afternoon than Saturday morning).

I picked up my pre-purchased ticket from the kiosk, just to stick in the credit card, and wait to find which platform.

I don't have a note if the train changed engines in Carlisle or another place, but it did once. An announcement mentioned to expect a smalll bump from the process. More than one exclamation was heard, that if that's "small," what's a big one? Hmm, perhaps better to not know ;-)

The train went all the way to the Manchester Airport, where you go up an escalator and just follow signs to the Radisson .. easy-peasy.

I watched Merigo (a horse trained in Scotland and owned by a Scotsman) win his second Scottish Grand National and then went down for a supper in the hotel's Runway Brasserie and Bar. The service was great. My chicken Caesar salad .. well, okay (too much dressing, I thought).

I liked my room at the Radisson: queen bed, lots of room, and a great bathroom. It was odd when first entering that the lights came up only gradually, but for getting up with an early flight, your eyes will then appreciate it.

You could tell this hotel caters a bit for the frequent traveler/foreign guest. I could recognize French and German on a couple of channels (The Big Bang Theory in a different language - very interesting). The bathroom has a built in clothes line over the tub and wash cloths

I spent the evening doing final packing things. Some of the accumulated paper for my Cahier journal was clipped and glued in.

In hindsight, I could have taken a later train from Edinburgh. I took the 9:51 because it was express to the airport, but another time I may find something I want to do for the morning and take an early afternoon train with 1 change.

Just 5,100 steps today.
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Old Apr 29th, 2012, 08:03 AM
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Thanks, bilboburgler, for more information on Robins. Now, I have to go look up the song .. perhaps this?

Ah, this site tells of the two ballads, not one,

Thanks, again.
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Old Apr 29th, 2012, 08:36 AM
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Sunday, 22 April

I'm not a regular coffee drinker, but today's a long trip, so I had that in my room and grabbed a banana from the "Grab-and-Run" table (breakfast service started later).

It was an easy walk to Terminal 1 to check in and go through security. They only wanted to see the boarding pass, not anyone's passport.

In line, you put your stuff in bins, go through the metal detector and then wait. You'll either get an open door to go get your stuff or get an open door requiring to go through the scanner machine. (A sign earlier in the process warns that if you refuse the scanner, you won't fly.)

The lady in front of me was scanned, I was just metal detected, but I did have to wait until about as long as it took for her scanning to then have my stuff come down the line to gather up (it's nice if this is always the case, as it could be helpful when traveling alone and person behind you can't reach for your stuff).

The walk to the waiting area then wends and winds around a Lot of shopping (no straight path!).

I purchased a water for £1.10 and soon wondered, "Why?!" To go through security in DUB would mean having to toss it then, so I did drink some and tossed the rest before boarding.

My previous flight connection and I forgot to empty my pockets of metal. This time I made sure to have completely empty pockets and I still set off the beep, so rec'd a quick pat down. I don't know what set it off this time, and the pat down found nothing, so I gathered stuff and went upstairs.

At security a board tells your flight number and gate information. You either go upstairs or continue somewhere else based on the number. Each time I was directed upstairs, so what things look like the other route, I can't actually tell you.

My 2010 trip had a 4 hour layover and I just ate/shopped/browsed, figuring a 2 hour before the gate was time plenty. It took an hour of that two to get to the gate, because of US immigration/customs preclearance in Dublin. With just a two hour window, I purchased a sandwich and water for the flight (and chocolates, lol) and went right to preclearance, though the sign board didn't actually say to do so...

The sign at the top of the stairs down to preclearance said flights 139 and something else didn't have to do it. My flight was 133, so I went downstairs.

New sign warned of entering US soil and not bringing anything forbidden, eg.: meats, fruit, etc. Hmm, egg and bacon sandwich. Okay, back up the stairs, eat, go back down the stairs and fill out the blue/white landing form and get in line.

I saw some other folks leaving the line after speaking to one of the agents and discovered when it was my turn that my flight would do immigration/customs in Boston, not Dublin. Oh. In fact, all the 13x flights would not do preclearance in Dublin.

In my defense, the sign only mentioned 139, not any 13x flight. My assumption did turn out incorrect, though, and I just made my way to the correct gate, to wait. It wasn't long until boarding and maybe that's why we did the clearing in BOS instead of DUB.

After the flight I was able to quickly get through immigration (luck, yes) and go straight to the customs check (just my purse and carry on bag in hand). Perhaps because I'd come across so quickly, I was asked for a random bag check. No problem. The immigration fellow also wanted confirmation that the packaged candies listed on my purchases did not include any other food, so the customs fellow may have been double checking that, too.

I made it outside in time to catch a bus within 15 min, called family to pick me up in about 2 hours time, and then just snoozed away the ride.

I started by saying it was a quiet trip. It felt quiet. I guess because I wasn't running from thing to thing. But an enjoyable trip, and maybe I'll finally have someone convinced to share the next one.

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Old Apr 29th, 2012, 04:25 PM
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Thanks for sharing your trip stories! sounds like a good one.

What part of Scotland next?
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Old May 1st, 2012, 02:41 AM
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Thanks, irishface, for reading along.

Well, I haven't been to Iona yet .. a definite wish list. I haven't visited Glasgow yet, or much of the west side. I also want to do more of the Borders.

My friend, who is considering coming with me for a trip, also does not want to drive. We'll first decide what we want to do and then figure out if what we want to do can all be done with public transportation. If not, then maybe we'll include some hired drivers.
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Old May 13th, 2012, 01:53 PM
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Fine report, scotlib. Thank you for sharing.

What's the song about the robin and the wren?
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Old May 14th, 2012, 04:24 PM
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Thanks, sheila, for reading the report and commenting.

I don't know what song exactly, but my assumption was the one I found and linked. The second link has some background text, assuming it's the correct item,
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