Wednesday, September 7, 2016

London and Edinburgh

I went! And I've been back home for a month already. That doesn't even seem possible...  Here's the highlights:

Tower Bridge. Learned that it isn't the London Bridge! Went up to the glass walkway thing and looked down. Freaked out one of the family members. Lots of efforts made by certain family members to get the "perfect" Instagram worthy photo here. (On MULTIPLE occasions). We also saw Westminster Abbey, The Tower of London, Big Ben... you know, all the basic touristy stops.
 Buckingham Palace. That tour was a LOT of walking - it ends somewhere around the back and it felt like miles to get back where we started.  Tried to watch the changing of the guard, but by the time we were done the tour the crowds were so thick it was literally impossible to see anything.
This is what started it all.  If you have a chance, GO! The play was fantastic and well worth the price of admission, including the expensive plane fare to get there.
 Stonehenge.  Everyone wants to know was it bigger or smaller than you imagined?  I'd say it was right on par with what I expected. And I'd love for someone to figure out why the folks who did this went to all the trouble when they were nomadic... It was cold and windy up there and we weren't dressed for it. But enjoyed it anyway!
Salisbury Cathedral. It was raining when we went in, but looked like this when it was time to leave. The building is absolutely gorgeous. Spent a nice couple of hours here.  They have the magna carta on display.
 Tea at Bea's of Bloomsbury with my blog friends. Me, Mrs. Wookie, Alexa, Jacky, and Fiona.  It was so wonderful to meet all of them and I felt so honored that they would take the time out of their schedules to travel to London to see me!  Jacky made me a beautiful mixed media montage of London and Fiona gifted me with the cutest little tissue holder (that came in very handy up on Arthur's Seat).  But the best gift of all was just getting to sit and chat with them for two hours. It was over so quickly!
 The remains of Duone Castle in Scotland - one of the sites for filming of the show Outlander.  I walked in some of the same places as Jamie Fraser (played by Sam Heughan).  Really cool.
View of Scotland from the top of Edinburgh Castle.  This is where we started our last day in Edinburgh - after hiking up the Royal Mile to get there.
And this is the view of Scotland from the top of Arthur's Seat.  This is where we ended our day after touring several places along the Royal Mile (Mary King's Close, Holyrood Palace, lots of gift shops).  I trained all spring and summer to be able to make this hike and I DID IT! Admittedly I huffed and puffed and cursed my way to the top and arrived red-faced and breathless.  Hit a personal best of 26,659 steps this day (over 11 miles) and a lot of those steps were uphill. But the view was so worth it and I think even my family was a bit impressed that I'd done it!

London was fun, but far too busy and fast-paced for my tastes. I feel like I can say I visited, saw most of the important sites, and have no need to rush back.  Scotland was more my style. The scenery was gorgeous and since we only had two full days there, I feel that we hardly scratched the surface of what we could have seen.  I'd love to go back and spend time in both Scotland and Ireland.  We also found that staying in small flats with a family of five and doing everything together was, well, maybe just a touch more family togetherness than we were all prepared for!  The flight home was blessedly uneventful and I was back to work the next day (what was I thinking???).  I can't believe it was already a month ago.


Fiona@Staring at the Sea said...

It was such a joy to meet you and your lovely daughter, Cheri. 'Til the next time x

Karen said...

Looks like a whirlwind event to me, but lots of fun! Good for you with the hiking. We had one day in the Canadian Rockies last summer like that; exhausting but exhilarating!

Sian said...

I'm madly impressed! I haven't yet climbed Arthur's Seat (tho I believe our student there did the climb his first Halloween night there).

I loved seeing your meet up photo :)

Carola Bartz said...

It sounds like you had a busy but wonderful time! Congratulations on all the hiking, well done! Scotland is lovely, isn't it? I absolutely love the Highlands.
How nice to have met your blogging buddies - you all look as if you're having a real good time! I'm a bit sorry that you didn't like London that much. I love London, it's one of my very favorite cities. But then I've been there so often and got to know it pretty well. When I still lived in Germany I used to go to London several times a year to see friends there - I miss those trips very much (and my friends).

Barbara Eads said...

I relived my own experiences through your post. I love everything about the UK and especially London! I haven't been to Ireland yet, but it's on my list. We spent 10 days in Scotland alone! Love it all! Truly, the UK is my favorite place on earth!

Melissa said...

Sounds like a great trip! Congrats on making it to the top - way to go!!!

debs14 said...

My son lived in Edinburgh for two years so we visited a few times and it is lovely to see pictures of you in places we went to as tourists too!

alexa said...

Oh my goodness, what a lot you fitted in! Delighted you liked most of what you saw, and hopefully you'll get the chance to come back in quieter mode to really see what you'd like to. It was such a pleasure to meet with you and Sarah in London, and lovely to have tea together - thank-you!