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Travel, , — November 2010

Last month I went up to Edinburgh, to visit Australian friends Carole and Don who are living there for six months. I'd spent one day in Edinburgh back in 2003, but it's a city that deserves a much longer visit (and indeed two and a half days for this visit wasn't really enough either).

I caught the train up on the Friday and back on the Monday, which proved quite a pleasant way to travel. It's close to a six hour trip, but that amount of time on a train (with one change) is much more pleasant than two hours on a bus to an airport, an hour or two checking in and waiting, an hour on a plane, and then another bus at the other end. The trains were moderately crowded, but I'd reserved seats. And £110 for the return trip didn't seem too bad.

I've only done a few longer train trips in my life: Sydney to Brisbane, Mumbai to Jaipur, and Ulaanbaatar to Beijing

On the Saturday I had breakfast with Carole and Don and two other Australian friends resident in Edinburgh, in a nice cafe (Urban Angel) in the New Town. We walked there over Carlton Hill, which gave some nice views in morning light.

from Carlton Hill towards the Firth of Forth

Then I went off by myself. I visited the Georgian House, one of the big houses in Charlotte Square that's been furnished as it was in the late 18th century,
wandered under the castle (and through a farmers' market) to the Grassmarket, where I had another coffee, looked at the National Museum of Scotland (and the Royal Museum), the Museum of Edinburgh and the ground floor of the People's Story.


Charlotte Square

Grassmarket cafe

the Royal Museum

Edinburgh streets

Robert Fergusson

sketching Robert Fergusson

I just had time for a climb up onto Salisbury Crags but the sunset wasn't that exciting.


Holyrood Palace

Arthur's Seat

On Sunday I started with a climb of Arthur's Seat, looked at Greyfriars Kirk, visited bookshops in West Port, looked at St Giles cathedral, and then (since the Writers' Museum and Peoples' Story were closed) had a quick look through the Musuem of Childhood and then went back to the National Museum, where I bought a copy of The Lewis Chessmen Unmasked.


Scottish National Parliament

an Edinburgh bookshop

a street roof-line

The day was pretty overcast, with good light only right in the morning and in a few patches in the late afternoon. I had dinner with Carole and Don in an excellent Chinese dumpling place called Chop-chop, to the west of the city centre.

On the Monday morning I just had time for a quick look at the Writers' Museum, which covers Scott, Burns, and Stevenson, before catching my train back to Oxford.

Things to see next visit include the Waters of Leith, the Scottish National Gallery, the inside of the Scottish National Parliament, and the rest of the People's Story and the Writers' Museum. And there are day trips out of town to Rosalind Chapel and Stirling.


  1. Do you have plans to travel on one of the narrow barges which ply the narrow canals in some parts of England ? From what I had seen on TV and films, the countryside is quite beautiful and the barge operators (bargees ?)are friendly and charming people.

    Comment by DL — November 2010
  2. BTW how cold is Edingurgh at this time of the year? I heard Aberdeen can get as low as 40 below.

    Comment by DL — November 2010
  3. Edinburgh was quite nice while I was there, but a month later it was already getting pretty chilly. At the moment (late November) it's really rather cold — the forecast for tomorrow is -8 overnight and a maximum of -3!

    Comment by danny — November 2010

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