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National Galleries
Double-decker bus tour
Edinburgh Castle
Royal Yacht Britannia
Holyrood Palace
Queen's Gallery
Rembrandt's Mother
Edinburgh weather


Jean Sue's Diary I

Lowlands, Highlands & Inbetween

We started our 16-day trip to Scotland with a week in Edinburgh and an apartment in the trendy Morningside area. This allowed us to get to know the city and to save on the food budget; meals in the UK tend to be twice what they are in Philadelphia.

Although I find I can do less in a day than I used to, we saw most of the city’s sights, finding our way at first on a double-decker sightseeing bus.

The stands for the Royal Tattoo were being erected so no taxis went up the hill to Edinburgh Castle; we walked up a back way, which was steeper but shorter, to see the Crown Jewels of Scotland, the cannon Mons Meg and other highlights, We walked down again by way of the Royal Mile, stopping at a chocolate shop for pieces of incredible cake (medicinal energy, you know).

In Edinburgh, the senior discount begins at 60 years of age so I qualified for this at all the venues. When I asked for the discount for the tour bus, the conductor asked Bob if he was my "Toy Boy."

Holyrood Palace was closed for official functions because the Church of Scotland was having their annual meeting but the Queen's Gallery was open with a display of Dutch art exhibit from the Royal Collection. It is always startling to see a Rembrandt painting up close; my breath was completely taken away by his 1629 portrait of his mother.

A tour of Her Majesty’s Yacht Britannia is better than I had imagined. Given that the Queen and family live and stay in palaces and castles furnished for the ages by predecessors, I see the attraction to have this one "home" done to their exact specifications. It was cozy, like an upper middle class home afloat… with a staff of 200. Much of the yacht is open for the tour including the engine room; I highly recommend this stop; even Bob enjoyed it.

We had both packed two raincoats and assorted sweaters having been warned about Scottish weather; our rental car had a sunroof, which we took to be the very definition of Scots’ optimism. However, we only had three days of partial rain (just enough to experience Scotland) and everyone remarked on how unseasonably lovely was the weather.

We enjoyed a lovely afternoon sitting in the Princes Street Garden in the heart of Edinburgh, watching the crowds go by and another pleasant hour along a canal, sitting in the sun with a beer waiting for our restaurant to open for dinner. Even with these stops, I hibernated the last day in the city, resting in the apartment while Bob checked out the Botanical Gardens.

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