Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Monday 11 August
The morning was cold and windy but there was no rain so we rugged up and set out to explore Edinburgh.
As in other parts of Europe masses of flowers decorate some of the buildings
and footpaths of the city.
August is a great time to be in Edinburgh. Not only is the Edinburgh Military Tattoo performed at night but there is also the Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival so there is no shortage of entertainment on offer.
Princes Street is the main street leading to the castle and it was filled with entertainers performing their acts. We spent part of the morning watching Jerome set up and perform his act. Balancing on a unicycle while attempting to juggle flares in the wind was not an easy brief but he kept the large crowd entertained with his performance and humour.
To become familiar with the city we continued along Princes Street to the Edinburgh Castle and then moved into a side street for a view of the castle and also the seating for the Tattoo. Vans from the BBC were also arriving to prepare for the filming of that night's performance.
We also had a good view of the castle built into the hill.
In the other direction we also had a view of the buildings of Edinburgh.
Our next destination was the National Museum of Scotland in Chambers Street.
Exhibitions featured the industry and inventiveness of the Scots, especially during the industrial revolution.
The prominence of the Scots in English literature and the arts was also on display with writers and poets such as Sir Walter Scott, Robert Burns and Robert Louis Stevenson being a small selection. We also spent some time exploring the sections devoted to the history of Scotland. Obviously you could spend a great deal of time exploring the collections.

The weather was still fine so after returning to the hotel to check the details for the evening, we continued our walk to Calton Hill.
On the way we passed views of Arthur's Seat and Salisbury Crags.

There were also views of Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official residence of the Royal Family in Scotland.
The memorial to Robert Burns is an impressive edifice.
From Calton Hill there are good views of the city.
The most striking feature on the hill is the National Monument of Scotland, though you have to look hard for information at the site providing its history. Building was commenced in 1822 to commemorate the many Scottish soldiers who died during the the Napoleonic Wars. The Scotsman, on 17 February 2014, published an article on the state of the monument.
Another monument on the hill is a tower - the Nelson Monument, commemorating the victory and death of Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
Back at the hotel we met the other members of the group taking part in Insight Vacations' Country Roads of Scotland tour. After the group dinner we then travelled by bus to attend a performance of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in the forecourt of the castle.
It was a great performance to watch. On television the different performances flow effortlessly from one to another and that was exactly how it happened on the night. The precision of organising the many performers and and performances is incredible.
As well as watching what is going on in the forecourt there is an associated light display on the walls of the castle to watch.
It was a great night.

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