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2016 European Vacation

 
 
saab
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jul, 2016 01:59 pm
@McGentrix,
Enjoyable and lively.
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  3  
Reply Fri 29 Jul, 2016 11:48 am
@McGentrix,
Part 2 of ?
We got settled into our hotel which was just outside the World Heritage Site Boundary on Learmonth Gardens. A nice hotel, seems to have been a series of townhouses once. We get 2 rooms, one for us and one for the kids, we do this at every hotel to spare future words. We were supposed to have twins around every hotel. Bear that in mind for later stories. Everyone is excited and even though it was 2 in the morning at home, we were off on our first day adventures in Edinburgh! The walking starts. OMG, the walking… so much walking. I had been practicing walking for a bit but nothing could have prepared me for 2 weeks of walking…
Things of interest in Edinburgh. We walked from the hotel and we got to cross Dean Bridge completed in 1832…”The Dean Bridge spans the Water of Leith in the city of Edinburgh on the A90 road to Queensferry on the Firth of Forth. It carries the roadway, 447 feet (136 m) long and 39 feet (12 m) broad, on four arches rising 106 feet (32 m) above the river. The bridge was the last major work before retirement of the bridge designer Thomas Telford, and was completed in 1831 when he was seventy-three years old.
Before the bridge was built the river had been crossed since medieval times at a ford, later by a single-arch stone bridge near the same spot, at the foot of Bell’s Brae in the Dean Village.”
It was a real nice bridge. They don’t make them like that in America. That led us to Princes Street and our first bit of shopping. My daughter had a goal of getting a flag from each country we visited. I liked that goal and helped as best I could. We were successful in all but Canada. We finally reached my first goal, “The Royal Mile”. I’ve always wanted to walk the Royal Mile and see the Lothian road. Stupid goals based on one of my favorite bands growing up, Marillion. We started from the Edinburgh castle after coming up The Mound road and through a “close”. Had no idea what a “close” was, but it’s a small alley that goes from a main road to another, but not really wide enough for cars or traffic. It’s too “close”. I knew that if we went down the road away from the castle, we’d have to come back up the road so I made a strict policy that on the way down only look at left side of road, no crossing. We’ll see that side on way back up. It’s only a mile right? If you like plaid, cashmere, kilts, and general Scottish stuff, “The Royal Mile” has you covered in spades. Also a good assortment of restaurants and always a Starbucks to be found. Stopped at a money exchange place and turned $50 American into €37 Euro’s. Probably a symbol for that but not on my keyboard. But, found it in Word…
Walked and walked and walked, all downhill so that’s good. Window shopped, found a flag, found a nice cashmere sweater for my honey who collects cashmere sweaters and I bought a tartan scarf for the Wilson clan that I think we are vaguely related to. I also found a nice Scottish Rugby jersey that my daughter immediately claimed. We got to bottom of “The Royal Mile” to the Holyrood House and notice a Royal Guard in his bright red coat and tall bearskin hat. Turns out her Majesty was in town and given a speech the previous day to Scottish Parliament which is right across from Holyrood House. So, there we are, a couple hundred yards from the Queen being all touristy and taking pictures. Look over my shoulder and the road looms there like a vulture waiting to pick my bones… Back up the hill we go.
Notable things on the Royal Mile that I remember, The End of the World Pub, Starbucks, St. Giles Cathedral, Scottish Parliament bldg., the amount of cashmere, the fun and cheer we had. I kept having to remind myself of just where I was and how much history had happened on the very road I was walking. By the time we got back to top of the hill it was 6 o’clock and that meant the castle was now closed… I really should have looked at the schedule. Oh well, we have all day tomorrow to do castle stuff. We have dinner right outside the gates of the castle and have my first pint in the UK. My son had “Cannon Balls” which were 3 small haggis things about the size of a tennis ball. Dinner was good, I contacted Uber and we twisted our way through the city back to the Hotel.
July 3, 2016
Rainy day. In Scotland. Who would have figured that? Plans for the day include seeing The Edinburgh Castle, eating at Hard Rock Café (My wife collects the T-Shirts), and doing a bus thing that drives around and gives you a tour of the city. Call Uber and get dropped off right in front of the gates. Great start for the day. The history around Edinburgh castle is fabulous. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edinburgh_Castle)
What a fantastic castle this is. The Great Hall was great, the small St. Mary’s Chapel was small and old. The oldest bldg. in Edinburgh. The museum was interesting, the views were extraordinary. Everything about the castle was just awesome. The whole castle experience lived up to my expectations. I purchased a can of whiskey that was very chocolate tasting. Like chocolate milk, but better. “Magnum” original cream liqueur. We spent a few hours looking at everything and left happy.
Got tickets for one of those hop off and on buses and rode the circuit it travels. We hoped off by the Hard Rock Café – Edinburgh and had lunch and bought a t-shirt. Hopped back on the bus and went to the train station where I had to trade our voucher in for tickets. There was also a small shopping mall. This is where we found out that people are charged to use the loo. Like €0.40 to get a stall… Ugh. So, we farted around the rest of the day, went back to hotel and packed up for the next day where we would head to London via train. Everyone likes trains, right?
July 4, 2016
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Jul, 2016 11:55 am
@McGentrix,
great stuff

waiting for

http://terryfallis.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/the-next-chapter-image.jpg
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Fri 29 Jul, 2016 12:07 pm
@ehBeth,
Very interesting - it's been a while that I've been in Edinburgh the last time.
Interesting as well that you used Euros there. (50 years ago you had to pay one Penny for the loo. And I've learnt then about the euphemism to "spend a penny" by own experience.)
saab
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Jul, 2016 12:19 pm
@McGentrix,
Very fun to read and made memories come back. I am also suprised you got Euro in Scotland instead of pounds.
Remember Edinburgh as very interesting and lots to see. Also enjoyed the food even haggis and bloodpudding.
0 Replies
 
margo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Jul, 2016 12:26 pm
Yes - the euro thing got me. No nice Scottish pounds?
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  2  
Reply Fri 29 Jul, 2016 12:35 pm
You knw what? You guys are absolutely right. It was pounds and not Euros. Cash was Scottish pounds and change was pence and English Pounds. Man, what a rookie mistake. I have a whole bag of change too, half it was useless pence and pounds in the rest of Europe.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Jul, 2016 04:38 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
I also remember my visit to Edinburgh, and the way the Scots pronounced it when we were there. We visited a whisky museum, and got a free shot. We also tried haggis; don't remember the taste. Loved walking in Edinburgh, and the restaurant by the bridge where we had lunch. This was about four decades ago!
ossobucotemp
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Jul, 2016 04:52 pm
@cicerone imposter,
How is it pronounced there? My husband was in a University of Southern California theater group and a bunch of those folks had gone to Edinburgh over the years, so I pronounce it, if I tried now, as they did.
Please, if you try to help me, don't show me that puzzle palace of international pronunciation that is full of symbols. Try american-english words that are similar.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Jul, 2016 04:57 pm
@ossobucotemp,
Sounded something like "edin bulloh."
ossobucotemp
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Jul, 2016 04:59 pm
@cicerone imposter,
That's what I remember - thanks, Tak.
0 Replies
 
ossobucotemp
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Jul, 2016 05:06 pm
@ossobucotemp,
This reminds me of my quandary about all that re how to pronounce when shown with somewhat dancing figures/letters we should all know, even if we are not linguists.

Is there any explanation out there for ordinary people? This pisses me off, off and on. I get it I'm not a linguist.

Maybe someone has worked this out and I don't about it, but otherwise a lot of the rest of us are confused.

I've been shown help with this international stuff - it seems a world of its own.
0 Replies
 
ossobucotemp
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Jul, 2016 05:18 pm
McG, I didn't mean my diversion as a tangent, am waiting for when you post more.

Your writing is peppy.
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  3  
Reply Wed 3 Aug, 2016 09:25 am
July 4, 2016
Hurry up and wait… I like to be early for travel days. You never know what could happen and we can wait in the terminal just as we can wait in a hotel…Train leaves at 10am, I suggested that we arrive by 9 and make sure we have plenty of time… at 9 we are still at the hotel waiting on kids to finish packing. We go down to check out, 9:10 now… I get my uber app out and that’s when the hotel internet decides it wants to **** the bed. 9:20, why is the heat in this freaking hotel so damn hot?! 9:25... “Can you call us a cab? We need to be at train station” 9:35 cab arrives and we load up. I hate this kind of pressure. I mean this is one of those things that just drives me insane! Get to station at 9:50, RUN!!!! I am old and have bad hips carrying a backpack and my wife’s carry on. I don’t run, but I can walk fastish. WHICH TRAIN?! OMG, 9:55 train leaves at 10… look on the boards, track 7, where’s track 7? That way? Ok, HURRY! Get to the train and people are just milling about. Saying goodbye to friends and such. Find our car and train starts moving… I look at my family and express my displeasure at the fact that this happened and it shall not happen again… But we made it.

Train ride was neat. Loved watching the country side, saw an old church being renovated some ruins, a couple nuclear power plants, and some old English homes. We finally get towards London and look! The Arsenal stadium, quick! Get camera! Aaaaannnd it’s gone… I like EPL Futbol… The trip was mostly uneventful except we got delayed 20 minutes due to a car being stuck on the tracks somewhere ahead of us. That’s fine, rather wait than crash. We arrive at King’s Cross Station. Kids had no desire to go to platform 9 ¾. I did though, but we could get to it as it was on other side of terminal. We had to exit and then have ticket back in. Oh, well.

ENGLAND! The air was good, standing outside of King’s Cross station and now what? I figured we take the underground to the “President” hotel which was right next to a stop. This si another reason I wanted everyone to pack light. In the depths, I look at prices, they have a family all day option, but dang if it doesn’t end up being expensive. £40 for all of us. Get to the hotel and the lobby is nice, I like the location right next to Russel Square. We have 2 rooms reserved near each other. Get to rooms and my first thought is “Damn this room is small.” Had 2 twin beds, a chair dresser with TV and bathroom… ok, small but I can deal. We unload the gear and I tell everyone that we need to go do stuff as time is limited, you can unpack later.

Hop back on the underground and I make the wise decision that we should go to Harrods and get that out of the way. Harrods is the largest department store in the world. My wife’s only goal was shopping in Europe. The sights are nice and all, but that’s her deal. If you ever go to London, visit Harrods. I think it is a pretty cool place. It’s really big too. The millionaires floor is really cool, all the toys a millionaire could afford. The audio/video dept had things I didn’t even know existed. The actual toy dept was incredible. The whole store was just really cool. Ends up we bought nothing though. Heh.

From there, we walked to Piccadilly Circus, or we took subway, or somehow ended up there. Decide to eat and there was a nice steak house right there so why not? We get a window seat and they offer a free glass of wine if you do a yelp review… well, let me get that done. End up getting 3 glasses of wine and my wife was a little happy. Good for her. Food was good, but the people watching was fantastic! Across the road there were 2 Bobbies (cops) hanging out and keeping an eye on things. A punk couple sees them and they enter the red phone boot right across from them and about 12 feet from where we are sitting and then proceed to start making out and it got pretty heavy. They kept checking to see that the cops were watching. They were and laughing. A good cross section of people go to Piccadilly Circus. It reminded me that there are a LOT of Indians (dot) in the world.

From there we walked to Trafalgar square and on the way we pass a theater that must be kind of famous because they had just done the premiere of the new Tarzan movie and they were taking down the lights and decorations. We missed it by about 2 hours. The stars were there, Skaarsgard and Robby. That would have been interesting to see I think. We continue our tourist walk and get to the Square where Nelson stood proud upon his pedestal. We walked around the square and admired all the architecture and the monuments. There is a subway stop there and it was getting dark so we took that back to the hotel and called it a day.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Aug, 2016 10:35 am
@McGentrix,
McGentrix wrote:
express my displeasure at the fact that this happened and it shall not happen again…


I can hear this
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Wed 3 Aug, 2016 10:36 am
@McGentrix,
Good, fun, crisp writing.

We can really follow along with the adventures of McG here.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  2  
Reply Wed 3 Aug, 2016 10:47 am
@McGentrix,
Good blog. I remember being at Kings Cross station a couple of times, and stayed at a hotel not far from there. Even visited Harrods a few times. For some reason the name St James comes to mind. Isn't the top floor at Harrods where they have restaurants? I also remember visiting Hyde Park a few times, and always loved to walk around Piccadilly Circus. Always went to the National Gallery. On the right side after entering was my favorite art works; impressionists. I vaguely remember one painting with umbrellas. My memory is going, and I think it was a Monet, because that used to be one of my favorites.
If you're on Fleet Street, don't miss the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. That's where we had a a2k meet once. That's where many famous people had a brew or two. Dickens live not too far from there.
I remember the hotel I stayed at the last time I was in London. My room was closet size with one single bed. I didn't mind, because I knew I would only use it for sleeping.
The theater district was my favorite, because they had all manners of plays. I went to three shows in one week.
McG, Keep em coming, and thanks for sharing.
0 Replies
 
margo
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Aug, 2016 12:55 pm
lurking along here!
ossobucotemp
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Aug, 2016 01:00 pm
@margo,
Margo, did you ever write about your trip to Sri Lanka? if you feel like, some of us would like hearing about it. Maybe you put it on a thread I missed. I do remember you talking about the heat and humidity recently.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Aug, 2016 01:21 pm
@McGentrix,
McGentrix wrote:
From there we walked to Trafalgar square and on the way we pass a theater that must be kind of famous because they had just done the premiere of the new Tarzan movie and they were taking down the lights and decorations.
It must have been the Odeon Leicester Square, a really famous cinema (saw 'Born Free' there, nearly exactly50 years ago) (wikipedia
0 Replies
 
 

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