Edinburgh

Our last stop before returning to York is Edinburgh. Edinburgh is magnificent. Bill Bryson wrote about it in his book, Notes from a Small Island, but he painted it in a slightly unfavourable light. His objection, if I recall correctly, was that Edinburgh is full of all the same high street shops that plague most British cities. This may be true but we did not go to any high street shops here so this really did not bother me at all.

Things didn’t start so well today, though. Late yesterday, Ben twisted his ankle and is unable to walk beyond a hobble so I took the children to see the sights on my own. I was outnumbered two-to-one which is never good. We got to Edinburgh Castle, there was an enormous queue, it was bitterly cold (although I have to say I rather like this part) and then it started to rain. From this point onwards though, things improved immensely.

Daniel put on a stellar performance with his behaviour. You just never know with kids what attractions they’re going to like and what they’re going to hate.

Edinburgh Castle is an impressive fort that has been witness to numerous battles and sieges over the centuries. Consequently there are quite a few war museums at the castle and Daniel thoroughly enjoyed them all. What is it about boys and guns, swords and battle? He was mesmerised by a couple of paintings: The Battle of Waterloo and The Battle of Camperdown. He stood staring at the latter for ages and ages (ages being all of about 5 minutes which is a long time for a 6-year-old to look at a painting). The painting in question can be seen here – Battle of Camperdown.

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Daniel looking regal with the castle in the background.
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The latin on the gate translates to “no-one attacks me and gets away with it”, or if you prefer, “don’t fuck with me”. Perhaps this would be a good tagline for my blog.
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View of the city from the castle. The little garden on the bottom left of the photo is a pet cemetery for the dogs of soldiers.
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Daniel putting on his soldier pose.
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Daniel took this pic.
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Glorious Edinburgh.
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St Margaret’s Chapel; it is the oldest building on the site, dating back to 1130.

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Edinburgh is a gorgeous city. It’s got a spectacular castle, some amazing architecture, interesting geology, is very walkable and the hospitality of the people living here is second to none.  I also give the climate a big thumbs up. I know that people will think I’m crazy for feeling this way but this is my kind of climate. It was 6°C when we set out this morning but by the time I had climbed the hill to the castle I was hot. If you want to do any sort of physical activity without sweating and feeling uncomfortable, then 6°C is perfect in my opinion.

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This is a photo of Waverley train station and North Bridge. I can’t resist photographing Victorian infrastructure which never ceases to impress me. Work on the bridge began in 1896 and it opened to the public in 1897.
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I’m not actually sure what that thing is in the middle of my photo. Ok, just looked it up and discovered it’s the Scott Monument to Scottish author Sir Walter Scott.

I really love Scotland. I feel something of a connection to the place because both of my grandmothers came from Scottish families and I love the scenery of the highlands and the lochs. Growing up in Australia and then losing my adoptive city of Christchurch to earthquakes, has left me feeling a bit state-less. I’m not really sure where home is for me or where I come from. Yes, I’m fifth generation Australian but this is not very long when you consider that the aboriginal people have been in Australia for 50,000 years or so. The land belongs more to them than to me. My ancestry is here: Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland with a tiny bit of German thrown in. This is where I come from.

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