Edinburgh and Glasgow, Scotland (9th and 10th December 2005)

Day Three – December 9th 2005
We didnt do a whole lot as we were heading to Glasgow later on that day. We left our luggage stored in the hostel and headed to the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre, not a big Favorite of mine. It was £6.50 entry and I really would not go there again or recommend anyone to do so. You get a free glass and a small squirt of Teacher’s (blended) whiskey. You can check out the museum
www.whisky-heritage.co.uk

This center makes the case for the Scottish national drink, whisky, by illuminating the traditions associated with its making. A film and ride on an electric car past 13 sets showing historic moments in the whisky industry are included in admission.





Edinburgh

Taken on the 9th of December 2005

An interior shot of the so called Whiskey museum.

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All you get is three crappy short movies, with little input from the guide (a talking manequin) and a 5 minutes ride on a very, very slow bumper car. Ouch.





Edinburgh

Taken on the 9th of December 2005

On the Royal Mile we spotted this piper making a little bit of cash busking. Pretty good, he was too and decent enough to have a chat as well.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size





Edinburgh

Taken on the 9th of December 2005

A friend decides to practice her accomplished Highland Fling dance routine on an unsupecting public.

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We got back to the hostel after lunch (I had a little hangover) and walked to the train station (£5.35 to Glasgow every 15 minutes) and it takes an hour. It was dark when we got there but the tourist office there was SUPER helpful. I have been in alot of tourist offices, but they staff here were the best. Free maps, printed directions. They knew every street, every bus stop and all questions answered from nightlife to bus numbers. First impressions. While Edinburgh is a tourist destiantion with a laid back town feel, Glasgow has an amazing big city buzz, which I love. I already prefer Glasgow over kitsch Edinburgh hands down.

We decided to take the metro to Kevinsbridge in order to get to our hostel. We were staying at the Glasgow
Youth Hostel

Glasgow’s youth hostel, overlooking GSC in the elegant Park Circus area, caters for groups and individual budget travellers. The Best Hostel in Town! Glasgow Youth Hostel, situated in the heart of the historic West End of the city, offers great value quality accommodation. Fully refurbished in 2004 and awarded 4 stars by VisitScotland, the hostel is perfect for independent travellers, families, and groups. All rooms are en-suite with good self-catering facilities available. Discover Glasgow’s art galleries, glorious architecture, friendly culture, shopping and fantastic nightlife.

While there are 25-30 hostels in Edinburgh, all of relatively good standard and review, Glasgow, even though a bigger city, has 5 all with risky reputations for cleaniness, theft and security.

We got slight lost as its a minute minute walk from town. Its a really attractive area and the hostel is excellent. £13 for an ensuite quad room with amazing facilities. TV room, big kitchen, clean, fresh, hot water. While its not a party hostel, its an excellent place to stay.

We headed down sown to a place called Merhcant City

The Merchant City has been at the forefront of the city’s development from St Mungo who founded Glasgow at the Cathedral, to the eponymous City Merchants’ who built the city’s prosperity and the leading arts and cultural entreupeners now spearheading the city’s current city renaissance.

Please check out the website for the area above. You can sample the delights of the Merchant City using pdf guides whether you are a culture vulture or looking to eat, drink, shop, bop and drop the Merchant City is the place to be.

We got a very nice meal at BAR GANDOLFI
64 ALBION STREET 0141 552 6813 f: 0141 552 8911
Once part of the old Cheese Market, Café Gandolfi in Albion Street, first opened to the public in 1979. The first conversion in the regeneration of the Merchant City continues to grow with the opening of the new upstairs café-bar in late 2002. Scottish and continental beers, an eclectic wine list and the same commitment to quality and service that made Gandolfi a Merchant City institution.

We also got some drinks at a place called ARTA
13-19 WALLS STREET 0141 552 2101

Not to be missed. A glorious Mediterranean experience. Authentic tapas restaurant, opulent Main Bar, internal courtyard, two basement club rooms and the live entertainment venue, Canvas. Cocktail are £3 at all times (except champagne cocktails at £5.50), Thurs and Sun & 5-9pm every Fri & Sat. Half price pasta all night Sunday to Thursday from a selection on the a la carte menu and the pre-theatre menu is available all night Sunday to Thursday, and from 5pm till 7pm Friday and Saturday, 2 courses are £10.50, 3 courses are £12.95. Housed within the former Corporation Cheese Market. Open 5pm ’til 3am Fri & Sat and 5pm ’til 1am Wed, Thurs & Sun. Free entry wed, Thurs & Sun. Free entry before 11pm Fri & Sat. Enter via 62 Albion Street after 10pm.

A really weird place. It was opulent, in a brothel sort of way. Looks of overdressed women (described in unpolite terms by many I met), gold diggers and wanna bes. More bouncers than patrons. Seen to be believed. See their website for pictures.

Anyway, we had a pretty early night. Glasgow was buzzing though. Great city atmosphere.

Day Four – December 10th 2005

We were up pretty early and put our bags into free storage. i lost my room key. I was expecting a hefty hostel fine, but they said no proble. Great hostel. We walked down towna nd took in a city bus tour.





Glasgow

A Glasgow Church. Its anme escapes me but I think its fameous.

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Glasgow

Taken on the 10th of December 2005

Alot of money is been spend here. Remember Glasgow for a a long time was the second most important city in the Empire and exported goods far and wide. If you want to see urban regeneration in action, go to Glasgow.

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Glasgow

Taken on the 10th of December 2005

Waxies near Parhead (Glasgow Celtic Football ground) has seen better days.

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Glasgow

Taken on the 10th of December 2005

Close to the birthplace of the industrial revolution I believe.

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We caught the score of the Celtic- Hibs match that was been held today (Celtic won) and had a nice pub meal with a few decent pints thrown into the mix. They have a nice Guinness type stout here nicknamed “Heavy”.

We caught the 5ish train abck to Edinburgh. We knew where we were going (the same hostel we were in) so it took so only 10 minutes walk. We grabbed a bite to eat and headed out. Last nite and all that. We had to be up by 7am but hey it was Saturday night in Edinburgh and the place was buzzing.





Edinburgh

Taken on the 10th of December 2005

An external shot of Edinburgh castle at night. It looks very attractive and imposing at night with all the lights focused on it.

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Edinburgh

Taken on the 10th of December 2005

An second external shot of Edinburgh castle at night but much closer taken at the top of the Royal Mile.

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Edinburgh

Taken on the 10th of December 2005

Just beside the castle on the Royal Mile is a camera place. It has one of those 20th century lenses on the top of the building to get panoramic views of the city. The camera obscura in the Outlook Tower at the top of the Royal Mile, next to the castle was established in the 1850’s by the optician Maria Theresa Short and was originally known as Short’s Observatory. The optics were replaced in 1947.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

From Wikipedia

The camera obscura (Lat. dark chamber) was an optical device used in drawing, and one of the ancestral threads leading to the invention of photography. Photographic devices today are still known as “cameras”.

The term “camera obscura” was first used by the German astronomer Johannes Kepler in the early 17th century. He used it for astronomical applications and had a portable tent camera for surveying in Upper Austria.

The development of the camera obscura took two tracks. One of these led to the portable box device that was a drawing tool. In the 17th and 18th century many artists were aided by the use of the camera obscura. Jan Vermeer, Canaletto, Guardi, and Paul Sandby are representative of this group. By the beginning of the 19th century the camera obscura was ready with little or no modification to accept a sheet of light sensitive material to become the photographic camera. Portable and box camera obscuras from our collection are shown on another page on this site.

The other track became the camera obscura room, a combination of education and entertainment. In the 19th century, with improved lenses that could cast larger and sharper images, the camera obscura flourished at the seaside and in areas of scenic beauty. There are several pages that features images of camera obscura rooms such as this page on US park camera obscuras from our collection. Today the camera obscura is enjoying a revival of interest. Older camera obscuras are celebrated as cultural and historic treasures and new camera obscuras are being built around the world.

An Appreciation of the Camera Obscura

  • Flash Animation – Flash Animation that explains how the Camera Obscura works
  • The Camera Obscura in San Francisco – The Giant Camera of San Francisco at Ocean Beach, added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 2001
  • Vermeer and the Camera Obscura by Philip Steadman
  • Sinden Optical Company – Camera Obscura manufacturer.
  • Some cameras obscura have been built as tourist attractions, often taking the form of a large chamber within a high building that can be darkened so that a ‘live’ panorama of the world outside is projected onto a horizontal surface through a rotating lens.





    Edinburgh

    Taken on the 10th of December 2005

    Taken from the Old town looking at the Ferris wheel at the other side of the river. Nice Christmas setting.

    Click on the picture to see it in its original size

    Edinburgh, Scotland (7th and 8th December 2005)

    Day One – December 7th 2005

    We arrived in Edinburgh around 7.45pm. It wasnt as cold as expected and you can get a £5 open-return bus ticket from there to the city centre. Its not a pretty ride into town with the same shops fabricated from the rest of the UK from Boots, M&S etc. We got dropped off 20 minutes later at Waverly bridge and we walked another 15 minutes to our chosen hostel called “Budget Backpackers” which had some good good reviews from Hostelworld and BugEurope. We didnt botter with a guidebook as it waa a short break. It was a really, really nice hostel. Bright, good security, kitchen on each floor. £12.50 per person in a 4 quad room. We were there 5 minutes and we heading off to sample the nightlife. Most pubs close at either 1am or 3am.

    We concentrated on Waxies and Dropkick Murphys. It was a Wednesday night and a bit quiet. Still, the Guinness is decent up here. We also had a gander at the Royal Mile and got a good look around. In the city centre, they had set up an amusement park and a Christmas (German style) market with Mulled Wine, Bradwurst etc.

    Day Two – December 8th 2005
    We were up pretty early but lazed about. We headed to the Royal Mile (old Town). Generally, it was good but old in general is a tourist town, although if you move off the main drag you venture into some nice areas like the grass market.

    The “Royal Mile” is just one long length of shops selling Kitsch, Kilts and junk althought physically the buildings are great.

    The Old Town lies at its heart, with the dramatic feature of Edinburgh Castle at one end of the Royal Mile, which follows the spine of a hill down to the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

    And thats where we headed. Thursday at noon is First Minister question time at the Sottish Parliament and I wasnted to see the Scotish Parliament and Democracy in action.

    The highlight for me in ALL of Edinburgh was the Scotish Parliament. You can visit their Web site at www.scottishparliament.uk

    After much controversy over its cost — the better part of £500 million ($925 million) — and the time it took to construct, the new Scottish Parliament finally opened in autumn 2004. Designed by the late Barcelona-based architect Enric Miralles, it is a remarkable bit of modern design and perhaps worth the expense and delays. The abstract motif repeated on the facade was apparently inspired by Raeburn’s painting of Rev. Walker skating on a Duddingston Loch, which hangs in the National Gallery of Art. Visitors can take a free, self-guided tour or pay to be led about by a guide.

    There were some hard questions for the First Minister especially from an MSP for the Scotish Socialist Party which were pretty persoanl. It had to do with the Ministers refusal to meet Cindy Sheedan who was visiting the building at 1.00pm.

    Cindy Sheehan’s son Casey was killed in Iraq . She caused a storm of political embarrassment for George Bush and helped reinvigorate the anti war movement in the USA by setting up ‘ Camp Casey ‘ outside Bush’s ranch. Rose Gentle (her British Army son was killed) went to the USA in the summer to join forces with Cindy and now Cindy is coming to Scotland to join with anti war campaigners and military families here before speaking at the International Peace Conference in London on 10th December. (more details www.stopwar.org.uk )

    You can see a BBC new report here about her visit.





    Edinburgh

    Taken on the 8th of December 2005

    Ha, Ha, Tony Blair mask (isnt he always wearing one – with his plastic smile) in the window of a piercing shop.

    Click on the picture to see it in its original size





    Edinburgh

    Taken on the 8th of December 2005

    Rose Gentle, 40, has criticised the UK’s presence in Iraq since her son Gordon, 19, was killed this summer.

    Click on the picture to see it in its original size





    Edinburgh

    Taken on the 8th of December 2005

    More anti war protestors at the Scotish parliament.Rose is holding a picture of her son.

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    Edinburgh

    Taken on the 8th of December 2005

    The media scrum (scum) around Cindy Sheehan once she arrived. Hey, I would not mind been a photo journalist. It was quite exciting getting in elbowing the other more “established” photographers.

    Click on the picture to see it in its original size





    Edinburgh

    Taken on the 8th of December 2005

    An external shot of the Scotish parliament. i did not like its exterior. Seems somewhat fabricated or over barcelonized. The debating chamber inside is magnificent, though.

    Click on the picture to see it in its original size

    We did not a whole lot the rest of the evening.We walked up to the castle to get some pictures and got some dinner. We planned to get some drinks in that night. We started at the Oxford at around 8.00pm and hit about a half a dozen other places before a 2-3am end at a GAA function in Dropkick Murphys.

    The Oxford Bar is an unassuming little place on Young Street, well away from the main centres of interest for visitors to Edinburgh’s pubs. But for a number of reasons it has to rank amongst the best handful of pubs in central Edinburgh.

    The Oxford Bar, or “The Ox” is actually quite fascinating in itself: the door opens straight onto the far from roomy bar. Off to one side a doorway leads through to a traditionally furnished side room wrapped around a fireplace and with a window in the front wall.

    But the first thing that makes the Oxford Bar really special is the quality of its beer. It features in the 2006 CAMRA Good Beer Guide, meaning that it has featured in five out of the last six annual Good Beer Guides. This makes it one of the very best pubs in central Edinburgh for beer.

    The second reason, and why a steady stream of folk make their way to the Oxford Bar, is that it is the favourite pub of Detective Inspector John Rebus, the fictional central character in the series of crime thrillers produced by bestselling author Ian Rankin. You can’t expect to meet Rebus here, but you will probably meet others looking for him: and you might just bump into his creator, who shares Rebus’s love of The Ox.





    Edinburgh

    Taken on the 8th of December 2005

    Not so nice flats opposite the Parliament building at the bottom of the Royal mile. Nothing wrong as such but I liked the spiral steel stairs and the concrete.





    Edinburgh

    Taken on the 8th of December 2005

    An external shot of the a church on the Royal Mile.

    Click on the picture to see it in its original size





    Edinburgh

    Taken on the 8th of December 2005

    Edinburgh, trying to be funny, eh.

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    Edinburgh

    Taken on the 8th of December 2005

    An external shot of Edinburgh castle.

    Click on the picture to see it in its original size