Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Edinburgh .. Day three

Another sunny day in Edinburgh, saw my first bees today.

Today we were of to the zoo, we caught the bus as it's a little way out of town. Busses  here were very good,  £4.00 all day or £1.60 one way, you could go anywhere for this price.

From the out side you could not tell how big the zoo is, nestled between a hotel and houses right on the main road.

Now i'm not sure how I feel about zoo's, they play a important job in animal conservation, but seeing the lion pacing up and down it's pen made me feel sad. The sun was out but there was a cold wind, most of the animals were asleep or hiding in their beds. As it was early in the season the place looked a little bleak. There was just one eating place open and very few people about.

We had booked a spot to see the Panda at 11, luckily we had walked over towards the Panda enclosure when a member of staff said the male was out feeding and we could go see him now, otherwise we would have missed out. He just sat quite happily chopping on bamboo.

The  zoo stretches out backwards from the road up into a large hillside, took some walking to get round. We were glad we had been but I came away feeling a little sad too.

Edinburgh Zoo is owned by The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS). The Society was founded in March 1909, and the Zoo opened in July 1913.

'Connecting people with nature. Safeguarding species from extinction.' 


In the afternoon (after a nap) we were of to see 
Calton Hill.

Calton Hill is one of Edinburgh's main hills, set right in the city centre. It is unmistakable with its Athenian acropolis poking above the skyline.(link)

But on the way we called in at 

The Old Calton Burial Ground

The Old Calton Burial Ground is a graveyard at Calton Hill, in Edinburgh, Scotland, to the north-east of the city centre. The burial ground was opened in 1718, and is the resting place of several notable Scots, including philosopher David Hume, scientist John Playfair, rival publishers William Blackwood and Archibald Constable, and clergyman Dr Robert Candlish. It is also the site of the Political Martyrs' Monument, an obelisk erected to the memory of a number of political reformers, and Scotland's American Civil War Memorial.

The burial ground was altered following the construction of Waterloo Place in 1819, which divided the graveyard into two sections. Along with Edinburgh's other historic graveyards, Old Calton is managed by City of Edinburgh Council. The burial ground, including screen walls, and its monuments are protected as a category A listed building.(link)

There was so much to see and discover I could have spent a day here.

Before we walked up Calton Hill, the sun was shining down Princes St.

The walk up the hill I spotted some wild flowers.

Spring Beauty (Claytonia perfoliata)

Navelwort (Umbilicus rupestris)

 The Dugald Stewart Monument 

The Dugald Stewart Monument is a memorial to the Scottish philosopher Dugald Stewart (1753–1828). It is situated on Calton Hill overlooking Edinburgh city centre and was completed in August 1831.

Dugald Stewart was a professor at the University of Edinburgh, holding the chair of moral philosophy from 1786 until his death. The Royal Society of Edinburgh commissioned the monument and selected its site in 1830.

The monument is modeled on the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens, Greece and is a circular temple of 9 fluted Corinthian columns around an elevated urn. This example of the architecture of ancient Greece had been brought to wider attention by James "Athenian" Stuart and Nicholas Revett's illustrated survey, The Antiquities of Athens, published in 1762.

The Choragic Monument also provided the model for the nearby Robert Burns Monument, designed by Thomas Hamilton around the same time. The monument forms part of a collection of Greek Revival architecture in the area, including the National Monument and the former Royal High School building. The monument is a category A listed building as of 19 April 1966.

The Dugald Stewart Monument was designed by William Henry Playfair, who was also responsible for the elegant thoroughfare that encircles Calton Hill on three sides, comprising Royal Terrace, Carlton Terrace and Regent Terrace. Playfair also designed the nearby Scottish National Monument.

 The acropolis

The acropolis is in fact an unfinished monument - originally called the "National Monument". Initiated in 1816, a year after Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo, it was meant to be a replica of the Parthenon in Athens, as a memorial to those who had died in the Napoleonic Wars.

Building began in 1822, but funds ran dry and celebrated Edinburgh architect William Playfair only saw a facade of his building completed. It was dubbed "Edinburgh's shame", but it's now a popular landmark and it's a lot of fun crawling up and down its giant steps. (link)

The view from the top was stunning.

The large building in this photo is at the bottom of Calton Hill.

St Andrew's House

St Andrew's House is the H.Q. of the Scottish Government, found East of Princes Street under Calton Hill.

Built on the site of the old Calton Jail, the imposing Orwellian hulk was the largest metal-framed building in Europe on its completion in 1939.

The occupation of the building also marked the first time government departments serving Scotland were brought under the same roof in Edinburgh.

It took decades to complete and opened as war was declared in Europe with the graves of ten murderers from Calton Jail still buried under the car park.(link)

We walked back to the Royal Mile for food and went to see the Castle all lit up in the dark.
Quite a few of the buildings were lit up.

Edinburgh Castle

 Tolbooth  Kirk Church
....and we were shattered.....

Tomorrow we visited the National Museum of Scotland and Greyfriars Kirk.

National Museum Of Scotland

Five wonderful days in EDINBURGH....Day one

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Edinburgh.. Day two

Day two was a bright and breezy day.
We were up before the shops opened so went for a walk , discovering some of the many streets of the Royal Mile. Even the back streets had impressive buildings. It soon came apparent there was so much to see and do, a few days was not going to be enough.

I also discovered soon on the buildings were so big it was impossible to fit  them into one photo. People, scaffolding and modern day ' stuff' kinda spoiled the photo.

Filling Station American Restaurant

We had breakfast a few  times here and a evening meal... Lovely place. 

Then for a trip round the Castle.

This most famous of Scottish castles has a complex building history. The oldest part, St Margaret's Chapel, dates from the 12th century; the Great Hall was erected by James IV around 1510; the Half Moon Battery by the Regent Morton in the late 16th century; and the Scottish National War Memorial after the First World War.

From the castle you could see for miles...Monuments on Calton Hill, and how big the station is in the bottom.

and all though a little hazy the Fourth bridge and New Queensferry Crossing

The castle houses the Honours (Crown Jewels) of Scotland, the Stone of Destiny, the famous 15th century gun Mons Meg, the One O' Clock Gun and the National War Museum of Scotland.

It's a very interesting place as well as moving, the names of all the soldiers who died in battle.
Many of the areas you were not aloud to take photos, War Museum and Destiny stone. We also shared our visit with hundreds of students , all speaking different langues . Lets just say some were not interested !

The Great Hall

A wonder of medieval Scotland, the Great Hall was completed in 1511 for James IV and stands at the heart of the castle.

Its magnificent wooden roof is one of the most remarkable in Britain. Giant beams rest on stones engraved with heads and important symbols like the thistle – a badge of Scotland.

 Thinking of Ragged Robbin I often look for Green Men....
Later in the week we spent some time in St Giles Cathedral, there are supposed to be 66 there hidden in the roof !

St Margaret's Chapel

St Margaret's Chapel, in Edinburgh Castle, is the oldest surviving building in Edinburgh, An example of Romanesque architecture, it is a category A listed building. It was constructed in the 12th century, but fell into disuse after the Reformation. In the 19th century the chapel was restored and today is cared for by the St Margaret's Chapel Guild.

IT'S A VERY small chapel - it doesn't hold more than about twenty people

We were now ready for a coffee and cake, back down the Royal Mile to

Patisserie Valerie

A must... it was lovely.

Filled with sugar and caffeine we walked across the North bridge to

Princes Street.

Still lined with amazing buildings

Balmoral Hotel

Balmoral Hotel

The Balmoral is a luxury five-star property and landmark in Edinburgh, Scotland. It is located in the heart of the city at the east end of Princes Street, the main shopping street beneath the Edinburgh Castle rock, and the southern edge of the New Town.

Scott Monument

The Scott Monument is a Victorian Gothic monument to Scottish author Sir Walter Scott. It is the largest monument to a writer in the world.It stands in Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh, opposite the Jenners department store on Princes Street and near to Edinburgh Waverley Railway Station, which is named after Scott's Waverley novels.

Scott Monument

The tower is 200 feet 6 inches (61.11 m) high, and has a series of viewing platforms reached by a series of narrow spiral staircases giving panoramic views of central Edinburgh and its surroundings. The highest platform is reached by a total of 287 steps. It is built from Binny sandstone quarried near Ecclesmachan in West Lothian

And yes we climbed to the very top , I was soooooooo scared as it was so high but very windy. The chap who had just come down from the very top said the building was moving, this did not help. As you walked up the steps got tighter and smaller, OH could just fit through. At one point I thought  my legs were going to give way as they were shaking so much..

Just half way up...

.In total (excluding Scott and his dog) there are 68 figurative statues on the monument of which 64 are visible from the ground. Four figures are placed above the final viewing gallery and are only visible by telephoto or (at a very distorted angle) from the viewing gallery itself. In addition, eight kneeling Druid figures support the final viewing gallery. There are 32 unfilled niches at higher level.

In the middle there is a room, with stained glass windows all the way round.

Glad to be on the ground we had a walk along Princes Street and back along Rose Street, which is just behind.

Later that night we had a walk down to the bottom of the Royal mile and discovered

Scotland's Parliament building

Scotland's Parliament sits at the foot of Edinburgh's famous Royal Mile in front of the spectacular Holyrood Park and Salisbury Crags. Constructed from a mixture of steel, oak, and granite, the complex building was hailed on opening as one of the most innovative designs in Britain today.

(this photo was taken from Calton Hill. )

Right at the bottom of The Royal Mile is

Palace of Holyroodhouse
 (referred to as Holyrood Palace)

The Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh is the official residence of Her Majesty The Queen in Scotland.


Sadly we did not get time to look round.

Well we have made it to the end of Tuesday  and we were shattered !!

Tomorrow is the zoo and  Calton Hill.

Five wonderful days in EDINBURGH....Day one