Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Birthday in Scotland, part 2

Here's the 2nd batch of Scotland photos! These are mostly from our day trip to Loch Lomond, with various stops at places along the way and back.

Our first stop was at the Forth (Rail) Bridge, crossing the Firth of Forth. It's old (finished in 1890) but still in use today, about 2,5 km long and absolutely massive.

Our second stop was in the city of Stirling, by its castle. We figured the 1,5 hrs stop wouldn't be enough to explore the castle properly, so instead we took in the scenery of the city itself while enjoying an icecream. Scenery including, as seen above, the graveyard around the Church of the Holy Rude.

Fun fact: Holy Rude actually means Holy Cross, like the differently spelled Holyrood in Edinburgh that came up in my previous Scotland post. (To be honest though, this wasn't as fun a fact as the mental image the words "Holy Rude" first conjured up in my mind.)

Outside Stirling Castle stands this statue, with the William Wallace Monument (seen Braveheart?) far in the background. In an interesting turn of events, I found out after the trip that the man this statue portrays is meant to be my greatgreat*insert-lots-of-greats-here* grandfather. (Genealogy is fun!)

The name is hard to see in the photo, so I'll give a hint: his name begins with Robert. Ends with Bruce.

Onwards we went and soon came to Loch Lomond, where we had a lovely lunch and wandered along the shores.

The views were delightful. We could happily have spent a whole afternoon here, but sadly only had another 1,5 hrs.

On the way back to Edinburgh we stopped at Scotland's southernmost Highland distillery Glengoyne, where we enjoyed a tour and whisky tasting. Mr Morrgan, who is the true whisky appreciator of us two, took a liking to their 17 year old and brought a bottle of it back home.

The next day it weas time to head back home to Finland, but on the way to the airport I had the chance to do one more thing I'd wanted to since I was a kid - ride on the top of a double-decker bus!

So, those were some of the highlights from the Scotland birthday trip. And for those who might have been wondering, yes I did eat haggis and black pudding (and even a deep-fried Mars bar) and liked it very much. ;)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Birthday in Scotland, part 1

As the title says, I have indeed been to Scotland to celebrate my 30th birthday. It was about time, considering I was about 10 when I started saving up my weekly allowance for a trip to see Loch Ness and the monster. (I was a great big dino fan back then.)

I never did save enough of my allowance when I was 10, but maybe that just made this birthday trip to Edinburgh 20 years later all the more exciting. =)

It really was an excellent holiday, and as is the custom here at the Morrgan's Creatures blog, I shall prove it with photos!

On my birthday, Mr Morrgan and I visited Edinburgh Castle.
Fun fact: the castle is built on an ancient, extinct volcano.

As it happens, it was also the birthday of the Duke of Edinburgh, which was celebrated at the castle. It was fun seeing a birthday gun salute on my birthday, even though it was intended for the Duke. ;)

The castle had some very pretty interiors. Sadly my poor old camera isn't up to taking indoors photos anymore, so this is all you'll get to see.

It seemed every other corner in Edinburgh had something major happen at one time or another. Fortunately there were plenty of commemorative plaques to educate us on the details of past important events.

The city was also littered with monuments. This is the Scott Monument in the Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh. It's open to the public and we thought it'd be fun to climb up and take a look at the view.

It wasn't. It was possibly the most terrifying thing I have ever done. Not because of the heights, but because the 287 steps up to the top are INCREDIBLY narrow, at worst about 40 cm wide. The real "fun" is when you're going one way and meet people trying to go the other way and you then have to pass one another on these cramped stairs. As I said, terrifying.

The views from the monument were delightful though, so it is worth the climb if you don't mind those moments of terror.

The weather was quite variable during the trip, so when the sun was (mostly) out one morning we took the chance to head out to the hills of Holyrood Park.

They were very pretty hills.

You get quite the views of Edinburgh from up here, so if you don't mind a longer walk, you might prefer this to the scary Scott Monument.

Just don't get too close to the edge - one of the paths was closed by the police while a forensics team was investigating an accident that had taken place the night before.

There's no lack of spots for lovely city views in Edinburgh, so no worries if neither of the above were to your tastes. I think our favourite was Calton Hill, which includes the Nelson Monument above.

The views from Calton Hill were breathtaking.

That's it for now! I'll post a second batch of photos later this week, showing more of what's outside Edinburgh. Hope you enjoyed these and stay tuned!
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