Our final few days were in Scotland, mostly in Edinburgh with a day trip up to Loch Ness and back. I was partly there for the Edinburgh Book Festival for which I will do a separate post. This one is about the other aspects of our time in Scotland.
First of all, we took the train from King’s Cross in London and were very amused by the activity around an erzatz Platform 9 3/4. Years back when first few Harry Potter books had just appeared but not the movies I remember taking a train from Oxford into the station and having fun taking photos at a sign-less wall between the platforms 9 and 10. Evidently the movies changed things and now there is a very popular place in the station where you can pretend to be going through the wall to the Hogwarths Express. Two employees of the nearby Harry Potter Platform 9 3/4 Store were helping out— one placing a scarf around the subject’s neck and holding it while the other took a photo that you could then purchase at the store. Of course, you could take your own photo as well. There was quite a line early in the morning as we waited for our train to Scotland.
Edinburgh was as lovely as advertised. And we enjoyed the energy of the festivals, especially all the buskers and tastes of Fringe Festival offerings. Along the busier spots there would be a serious interpretive dance going on next to a lively girl a cappella group next to someone juggling fire next to someone playing a ukelele (lots of those these days) next to someone who seemed to have wandered in from Comic.con and so forth. Not sure I could stand something like that in NYC and so wouldn’t blame Edinburgh residents if they avoid or flee it, but as a tourist it was fun!
Oh, and this (which I might even have gone to see if I’d been free to do so) for obvious reasons (if you know me, that is):
And this Soweto group I also wanted to see, but couldn’t because of scheduling conflicts.
I didn’t take many photos of the more standard touristy things, say our tour of the Castle — which, by the way, was terrific due to our excellent tour guide and just the many gorgeous vistas and buildings of Edinburgh. I was bemused by the strange unfinished war memorial on top of Calton Hill though.
We completely lucked out with our hotel, the pricey Apex Waterloo Place, as we had the most splendid view. Every night we watched the Edinburgh Military Tattoo final fireworks display right behind the Hotel Balmoral tower.
We spent our final day in Scotland on a day trip through the Highlands to Loch Ness and back. Years ago I’d spent a few weeks with a friend touring Skye, Lewis, Harris and some of the northern parts of Scotland and knew I had to see some of the Highlands this time. And so I researched tours and came up with this one which was just right. We were a small group and our guide, Colin, was excellent and has changed my view of Nessie to ” very possible.”