Tuesday, September 02, 2014

St. Giles Cathedral,
September 2, 2014 -- Today is our last day in Europe and we were up early. Today is also our only "full day" in Edinburgh, Scotland, so we have to make the best of it. We started out exploring the "old city" of Edinburgh. The "only thing old" about the Old City are the buildings. Otherwise, they are filled with modern and up-to-date shops of all kinds. Restaurants are everywhere along the narrow cobble-stoned streets and the sidewalks are filled with people. Even though it was a Tuesday, tourists and shoppers were out in great numbers.

A prominent building is the St. Giles Cathedral which dates back to the 15th Century. It's been the focal point of religious life in Edinburgh for more than 900 -years. It is, without question, a beautiful and imposing structure. As we continued to explore the area we found the University of Edinburgh along one of the narrow streets. As is the case with so many institutions in Europe, and especially this part of the world, the university has a long history -- having been founded in 1583. It is the sixth oldest university in the English-speaking world!

Edinburgh has its fair share of "Whisky World's"
6 p.m. -- The evening is upon us and we'll be attending a filming and discussion on the subject of an "independent Scotland".. It should prove interesting and invigorating!

Tomorrow we're off to the airport at 8 a.m. for a 9:50 flight home. We're sorry to be leaving,  but we're glad to be going home.  After a month of exploring Ireland, England and Scotland, it'll be good to get home to our friends and routine.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Waverly Railway Station,
September 1, 2014 -- We've bid farewell to Roger and Helen this morning. They were wonderful hosts and we enjoyed our stay with them more than I can express. Helen dropped us at the Gloucester Railway Station on her way to work this morning and we boarded the 9:50 a.m. train to Birmingham. Changing trains for Edinburgh was a "snap" as we simply had to walk across the platform. A couple of minutes later the train arrived and we were on our way.

Linda and Sir Walter Scott
Linda and I have completed a good amount of travel during this trip, and we've been on lots of busses and trains. As mentioned elsewhere in this blog, all through Ireland the "inter-city" busses and trains were comfortable and provided us with a free high-speed wifi service.  This isn't the case with our experience in England. Not only does the train have a "pay as you go" wifi service, it very VERY slow. So, most of the time, one is waiting for the page to load and appear on the screen. Add to that the train (I am writing this on our way to Edinburgh) is most uncomfortable. The seats are cramped and rigid with no leg or foot room.  There is no "food service" and some of the restrooms are "out of order"! Add the fact that it is a 5-hour train ride to Edinburgh and it means we're in for a long day. But -- we're healthy, happy to be on our way to Scotland and to have had such a wonderful time on this trip.
Starbuck's?? In Edinburgh, Scotland.

11 p.m. -- We arrived in Edinburgh at 4 p.m. and checked into our lodgings. They are just a few minutes away from the railway station and easy to find. After checking in, we got a tourist map from the receptionist and found our way to nice Italian restaurant on "Rose Street" in "New Town". After, we continued to explore the area, met some folks, drank some beer and enjoyed learning about Edinburgh.

Tomorrow will be our last day in Europe and we have the full day here in this beautiful city. So, I'll be sure to fill you in on our adventures for the day.