31 January 2011

Dan & Kath Visit Edinburgh, Day 2

Well, the so-called Christmas lull over at our new blog, The Senseitions, has long since come and passed, with only the one Scotland backlog post to show for it. I thought I'd knock out another tonight, leaving us only one or two posts here before we retire The Educated Burgher for good.

In our last post, we saw my parents visiting Edinburgh and the Scottish Borders on their first day in town. In this post, we head north, through Fife and Perthshire and into the edge of the Scottish Highlands.

Dunfermline Abbey

Our first stop on the day trip was the town of Dunfermline, just across the Firth of Forth in Fife. (Say that ten times fast.)

Dunfermline has several claims to fame: it's the birthplace of steel magnate and icon of Pittsburgh history Andrew Carnegie, it's the site of a sprawling medieval abbey, and it's the burial place of most of Robert the Bruce. (As we saw in our last post, his heart is supposedly buried at Melrose Abbey.)

We spent our time in Dunfermline at the abbey, exploring the ruins of its former splendor and the adjacent nineteenth-century church.
If you look closely, you'll notice that the Victorians saw fit to improve upon the stately medieval abbey by adding a neo-Gothic bell tower. And yes, the tower does say "Bruce" in giant letters.

The other abbey buildings, like many of Scotland's medieval ruins, are fun to explore.

 A shot of the interior of the old abbey proper:
 It's built in an older style than Melrose Abbey--you can tell from the rounded arches and the geometric patterns on the columns.

Behind the rood screen above is the Victorian part of the church, which is still in use today.
Under the pulpit is the tomb of Robert the Bruce, with a new-and-improved slab.

Dunkeld is a pretty little town about 15 miles up the River Tay from Perth. It sits in Birnam Wood, made famous by the line from Shakespeare's Macbeth:

Macbeth shall never vanquish'd be until 
Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill 
Shall come against him

We stopped in Dunkeld for lunch and to check out its cathedral, situated on beautiful grounds beside the river.
 Nana and Kathy get their feet wet.
 Catching some of that fabled Scottish sun. It does exist!

 The old Dunkeld Cathedral.
The interior of part of the cathedral, which is still in use today. We were lucky enough to stumble upon a handbell choir concert here.

Loch Tummel and The Queen's View

We spent most of the afternoon driving a loop around Loch Tummel, which was also recommended by my dissertation advisor as one of Scotland's nicest drives.

The area is about as Scottish as it gets: dark water, thick woods, and rolling green hills backed by steep, heather-clad peaks.
You can see in the photo below why this spot was one of Queen Victoria's favorites, looking up the valley towards the high, pointed peak of Shiehallion in the background.

And that concludes Dan & Kath's Scottish adventure. Hopefully, they'll give us the chance to write about their Japanese adventures before too long!

31 December 2010

Dan & Kath Visit Edinburgh, Day 1

It's been a while, hasn't it? In case you missed the memo, Nana and I have moved to a new blog (not to mention a new continent!) over at The Senseitions. But just a few days before we left Edinburgh at the end of July, my parents, Dan & Kathy, came for a visit. 

While the Senseitions drifts into its Christmas-break lull, I thought I'd try to put up a post or two about our distinguished guest and their whirlwind tour of Scotland.


We spent the morning of our first day in Edinburgh proper, taking in the sights, such as the Castle, viewed from outside the parental unit's hotel in the Grassmarket.

 Then, after a hot drink at the Elephant House and a stroll through Greyfriar's Kirkyard, a stop at the observation deck of the National Museum.
 After which we toured the Castle itself for a bit.
 On the way down the Royal Mile, we stopped for a photo of St. Giles from Parliament Square West.

 With the Fringe Festival less than a week away, the Royal Mile was already seeing a smattering of street performers.
Scottish Borders

We spent the afternoon tootling around the Scottish Borders, taking a rural route recommended by my dissertation advisor. The photo below was taken roughly at the southern border of Midlothian, looking north. If you look closely, you can see Arthur's Seat (between our heads) and Castle Hill (to the left of my head) in the distance.
Typical upland scenery in Scotland: high, grassy hills that defy any sense of scale. (For reference, those tiny white dots in the foreground are sheep.)
The road we took wound through a municipal golf course and several working pastures, so we got pretty up close and personal with some of the sheep.
 Our first stop in the Borders was St. Ronan's Well in Innetleithen. (Innerleithen is also home to Robert Smail's Printing Works, which we posted about a while ago.)

 A pretty spot, for sure.

From Innetleithen, we continued on to Abbotsford, the palatial country home of one Sir Walter Scott.

I did my dissertation on a topic related to Sir Walter Scott, and had joined some colleagues for a tour a few weeks before, so this time I found myself playing the tour guide. A little practice for getting back in the classroom!

After Abbotsford, we stopped at nearby Melrose Abbey, one of several famous medieval abbeys in the Scottish Borders. Melrose Abbey is built in the Gothic style (check out those pointed arches). Of course, old red sandstone abounds.

We also made a brief stop at Rosslyn Chapel on the way back, but it's a hard place to take photos, so if you want to see the place I'll have to direct you to the Rosslyn Chapel Trust.

We ended the day back in Edinburgh with a hearty Scottish meal at Greyfriar's Bobby's Bar (background)--and, of course, the obligatory photo with Bobby out front.

22 August 2010

My new camera . . .

. . . is pink. We decided that means I have to take photos with both pinkies up.

The new camera is also waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof--which is how I ended up with a pink one, since the Besto Denki outlet only had the one Fujifilm WP Z in stock.

I figure, if I can get all that for under $90, I don't care if it's pink!

20 August 2010

Reminder: Head On Over to The Senseitions!

Just a reminder:

If you haven't already, check out our new Japan blog, The Senseitions (thesenseitions.blogspot.com).

Note: If you've signed up for e-mail updates or newsfeeds from The Educated Burgher, you'll have to sign up again on the new site. Same old procedure, though!

15 August 2010

Moving to New Blog: The Senseitions

Nana and I have finally decided to make the jump to a new blog, The Senseitions (http://thesenseitions.blogspot.com/), where we'll document all our Japanese adventures.

There's a chance we'll still post the occasional Scotland story here--we do have some photos from my parents' visit last month--but for the most part, The Educated Burgher has run its course. So head on over to the new site, sign up for the e-mail feed, and keep in touch!