12 December 2009

Book Early, Book Often: Justin and Nana Present Justin and Nana's Family and Friends Edinburgh Visit Package

Justin and Nana cordially invite you to apply for a whirlwind weekend of Edinburgh delights, via the Justin and Nana's Family and Friends Edinburgh Visit Package!

What manners of gaeity await? Why, hearken! (Note that all photographs on this page are courtesy of satisfied customer and sister/in-law Meghan G.)

First, invigorate yourself with a bracing hike up Arthur's Seat!

Visit the 15th century ruins of St. Anthony's Chapel in Holyrood Park...

... and take in spectacular views of sunny Scotland. (Note: neither views nor sunniness guaranteed.)

Tour the University of Edinburgh, and grab a pint in the Library Bar. Perhaps you'll even catch a glimpse of a kilt in uni tartan...

Then it's off to the bustling Royal Mile. See the lovely St. Giles's Cathedral

… and Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh's most famous landmark....

... and maybe even this guy!

Have your picture taken with a cannon with the same name as you!
(Note: Service only available to visitors named Meg)

Try Scotland's culinary delights, like haggis, neeps, and tatties, or a famous British pie.

Try Scotland's holiday beverages, like mulled mead and hot whisky! (Christmas visits only).

Also available: our special Harry Potter tour add-on! Could four-towered George Heriots' School be the inspiration for Hogwarts?

In atmospheric Greyfriar's Kirkyard, see how many Harry Potter surnames you can spot. Can you find the original grave of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named?

Then proceed for a nice snack at The Elephant House, where you can try to guess which chair J.K. Rowling sat in to write her first international blockbuster....

… and see the Hotel Balmoral, where she wrote the last book.

Check out our stirring testimonials:
"scotland is legit." - satisfied client Meghan G.

There you have it, folks! Book early, book often!

11 December 2009

Choose Your Own Adventure!

The term papers are slain, and it's time for Nana and me to finally get out and make some use of our Historic Scotland memberships.

We have a week before Christmas and a week after New Year's, and while we've done some research into what's actually open this time of year, we still haven't been able to choose where to go! So I thought our loyal readers might have some suggestions.

Where would you like to see us go?

Glasgow: Scotland's largest city; Britain's third largest. Big and bustling (and modern) compared to quaint little Edinburgh, but with a history just as ancient. Notable for its industrial heritage, as the Clyde region was once shipbuilder to the world.

Stirling: An ancient stronghold city at the lowest crossing of the River Forth and one of Scotland's medieval capitals. The bridge over the Forth was the site of an important victory by William Wallace in 1297, and nearby Bannockburn was the site of the defeat of the English by Robert the Bruce in 1314. The castle figured in just about every major conflict in Scottish history in the last thousand years.

St. Andrews: Although not quite the birthplace of golf (the oldest course in the world is actually the Musselburgh Links, right outside Edinburgh), St. Andrews is most famous as the sport's spiritual capital. It was also a major religious center in the medieval era and is home to Scotland's oldest university.

: Skiing in Scotland, you say? Turns out they already have snow, or at least some ice, in the Cairngorms (my favorite gorms). And even if the weather doesn't cooperate, the Highlands offer some great winter photo ops.

The Borders: The Scottish Borders are home to a cluster of major medieval abbeys, as well as the home of Sir Walter Scott, who is widely seen as Scotland's greatest novelist. (You probably know him as the author of Waverley and Ivanhoe.) This is also where border collies come from!

Craigmillar Castle: One of several castles in the Edinburgh area with a connection to Mary, Queen of Scots. This is where Mary recovered after the birth of James I, and also where she did (or did not, depending on who you ask) plot to kill her husband, Lord Darnley.

Linlithgow Palace: Situated about halfway between Stirling and Edinburgh, Linlithgow was the home of most of the Stuart kings.

Dunfermline: Both the birthplace of Andrew Carnegie--and the site of the first of the world's many Carnegie Libraries--and the final resting place of Scotland's medieval royalty.

Most of these are within day-trip range of Edinburgh; we could probably hit 2-4. Any thoughts? E-mail me or post your votes in the comments. We'll make our first trip on Monday!

10 December 2009

Update: Seminar Paper Purgatory

Just so you know, we haven't fallen off the face of the earth--we're just finishing up our term papers. Expect a post about the St. Andrew's Day Ceilidh shortly!