A Travellerspoint blog

Edinburgh to York

We left Edinburgh this morning heading south back to England crossing the border at about 9:30am. Out first stop was Alnwick where we wandered through the main street, there were a number of markets on and a parade of various countries national costumes and music.
We walked to look at the Alnwick Castle and photographed it mainly because it was used in the Harry Potter films.

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From Alnwick we travelled to York, we had a roadside lunch stop in between, and walked through the Shambles area to the Cathedral. The Cathedral was huge and its design and shape reminded us of the Notre Dame Cathedral. From there we walked on our own through the town looking at the various old shops and made our way to the town walls. These were originally built by the Romans in about 107AD and there is still quite a large section of wall remaining that you can walk around and some of the turrets are used as cafés or bars.

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After a few hours in town we headed back to the hotel which is a bit of a drive out of town. We had a late dinner and called it a night.

Posted by cbrewster 14:48 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Edinburgh

Today we had a full day in Edinburgh starting with a local guide taking us around the main highlights of the city. The guide was a funny Scotsman who was very keen to get our group first into Edinburg castle and then high priority into Holyrood Palace. After a drive around the city centre where the guide pointed out a number of famous places of Edinburgh we entered the Castle as soon as it opened. This was quite good as everywhere we went there was no one else there. The guide quickly took us to see the crown jewels, castle rooms and viewing points before letting us wander on our own. We then visited Holyrood Palace where he pushed us through each room giving his version of history and formal use of the rooms. He made the tour funny and entertaining.

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This finished at about 12pm so we explored the city on our own, the city had a Fringe festival on ans the main street mall just down from Edinburgh castle has a was filled with people playing out their shows, some seemed interesting and others “unusual”.

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We had lunch at a nice café near the main street then walked to the café that J.K Rowling wrote Harry Potter. Just as we got there it started to pour with rain so was stayed and had a cup of tea. It was a nice and rustic café with views of Edinburgh castle out the back windows. There were many articles on J.K Rowling on the walls so she has probably made the café very popular now.

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We then walked to castle hill lookout stopping at a Fringe show on the way, it was claimed to be very funny but I think all the laughs were coming from family members! We eventually got to Castle Hill to get 360 degree views over Edinburgh, worth the walk.

Tonight we were off to the military Tattoo, it was a short walk from the hotel so we walked to another area for dinner then went to line up for the Tattoo. The line appeared huge but moved very quickly and got to our seats easily. The show was great with some groups amazing to watch, there were American drummers that were very fast and precise. They drummed in perfect time, hitting their own and each other’s drums, sword fighting with drum sticks with the tapping matching drum beats etc. The Norwegian army with bayonet guns were very good too.
During the show the castle walls were lit up with different colours and pictures. The show finished with fireworks and we all left the area quite easily for the number there. We were lucky that it was a mild night with no rain!

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Posted by cbrewster 14:44 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (4)

Chester to Edinburgh

We left Chester and headed north for Scotland. We drove through the Lake District to Lake Windermere for a cruise on an old steamship (now running on diesel!).
The area is where Beatrice Potter lived and Wordsmith wrote many of his poems. It was very nice countryside with lakes surrounded by mountains and fields. The boat cruise took us up the lake to Ambletown then we took the bus to the next town called Grasmere.

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Here we stopped for lunch and a look around, the small town was quaint with little shops, cafés, bakeries and B&B’s. We stopped a a little bakery then walked around, found a Gingerbread shop that has been in business since 1854.

Our next stop was at Gretna Green which was just over the border of Scotland. Apparently couples used to go there to elope as the laws were much tighter in England.

From there we drove to Edinburgh and arrived about 4pm. We had time to have a quick look around town before going for dinner and show of traditional Scottish music and dancing. IT was a great night with very talented dancers and musicians. Our American friends on our table had a knack of getting wine from the other tables so we had no shortage of drinks.

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Posted by cbrewster 14:36 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Dublin to Chester

We left the Dublin hotel early to catch a ferry back to Wales. The ferry left at about 8:15 and was fairly empty so we had plenty of room to sit anywhere. The day started cloudy and cool but by the time we set sail it was quite windy light rain.

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Due to the bad weather we didn’t really go on deck, too wet and windy, and it also caused the ferry to arrive about 45 minutes later in Wales.
We headed of and had our first stop at a town with the claim of having the longest name in the world, “LLANFAIRWLLGWYNGYLLGOGERYCHWYRNDROBWLLLANTYSILIOGOGOGOCH”. Don’t ask us to try and say it!

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From there it turned out to be a long day, there was a traffic accident on the freeway we were to travel and the police had closed the road. This meant all the freeway traffic was diverted down through country towns in wales, many that the main streets were mot much wider than one lane. Not a lot of room for buses and trucks, the consequence was that traffic was virtually stopped each side of the towns as the local police let one direction go at a time. The only good thing about it was we got to travel through some beautiful country side that was filled with a misty rain.

We eventually got back onto the main freeway, crossed the border to England and arrived in Chester and about 7pm. We were supposed to walk through the town of Chester and the ancient Roman ruins but due to the time we only drove through the town. There were quite a few disappointed people on the bus as Chester is a very pretty old town with many buildings made from black beams with white render. A section of streets had 2 story shops in the old buildings originally designed so shoppers didn’t need to walk through the muddy streets in the 1800’s.

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We had dinner at the hotel which was quite nice, we seem to be getting entrée’s with melon fruit and sorbet. It seems to be more of a dessert than entrée but quite refreshing. We did plan on going to town after dinner but we were a few kilometres from the town centre, by the time dinner finished it was nearly dark.

Posted by cbrewster 14:32 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Dublin

A later start today, we had time to go to the Gym and Skype home before visiting Dublin. We first drove around the city looking at the highlights and then stopped at Trinity College to look at the book of Kells and Trinity’s old Library. The 1500 year old book of Kells kept in glass cabinets appeared to be quite good condition with very detailed script and drawings. The library had a huge amount of very old books, we couldn’t take photos unfortunately.

We had the afternoon to ourselves so as it had started raining (apparently that’s quite common in Ireland!) we had lunch in a pub. We had to buy 2 more umbrella’s because we left ours at the hotel, we’re getting quite a collection of them now.

We then walked through the main street and decided to go to the Guinness Factory. Carol found at the end of the mall bikes that take passengers in the back, like the Asian tut tut’s only push bike driven. She organised the ride to Guinness and off we went, it was a bit of fun contending with the traffic and we got a great commentary on the way.

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Guinness had a fairly well organised visiting building that took you through the history of the company and process of making Guinness. One fact that was interesting was that when Guinness first started the company he signed a 900 year lease of the land at 45 pounds per year. Not a bad agreement now 250 years later. The end of the tour finished at the top of the main building which has been built like a large pint glass, 7 stories high. We had our sample of Guinness while looking over Dublin.

After that we walked back to the city centre via an area called the Temple section, it was full of Pub’s, shops, Pub’s, restaurants and Pub’s. We had dinner at a quirky Irish pub which somehow had about 5 floors in a 3 story building, there were little rooms everywhere. We had traditional Irish vegetarian lasagne for dinner, it was nice.

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Walked back to the hotel and had drinks at the bar before calling it a night.

Posted by cbrewster 00:51 Archived in Ireland Comments (1)

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