2011 UK and Ireland travel blog

Old Course at St Andrews

Golf Course at St Andrews

Carnagie Centre at Dumfermline

Mercat - Merchant`s Square

Joan and Pat at Mercat

View down one of the streets from High Street in Dumfermline

The Abby

Inside the Abby

More of the Abby

Grave of Sarah Wood

William Wallace`s Mother`s Grave

A Thistle

Nice view from our hotel in Edinburgh

We had a good night at St. Andrews and nice relaxed morning. With only a short drive to Edinburgh today we did some morning touring of the St. Andrews area, the large number of beautiful high end and famous golf courses. With many tournaments going on our access

as casual tourists was greatly discouraged. Last evening Joan & I walked about the old town and its wonders. Like all the towns and villages and cities we have visited, the ancient stone structures and mazes of narrow streets and lanes still delight. As we departed the hotel this morning I chatted to the concierge about our evening before in Inverness with the large contingent of Icelanders. They are early he said, mostly they come down in November to Glasgow, do their Christmas shopping, drink their faces off, then head home. Sort of like BCers going down to Bellingham or Seattle. Joan & Mother had breakfast at the hotel, I headed up into the High Street for a venti Starbucks with a shot of espresso. I like my coffee bitter and black like a 1960s radical. There are a lot of North Americans here and back at the hotel I overheard the concierge and some American guests exchanging friendly banter. Now this fellow was thick with the Scottish

brogue but this delightful poke at his countrymen needs repeating. What is the difference he said between a North American`s morning dental routine and a Brit`s. After a pause was this statement: a North American uses a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and mouthwash, a Brit has a cigarette. A lot of truth here, a whole lot of Brits smoke and have bad teeth.

Driving then out on the coastal loop of what this county is called (the Fife Kingdom)

we caught the lovely southern coast of the Firth Of Tay and then the open expanse of the North Sea. Before Edinburgh we are visited Dunfermline just across the Firth Of Forth from Edinburgh. Dunfermline is where my Granny was born and where she lived till she was 16 when my great-grandfather and great-grandmother uprooted the entire family and emigrated to Los Angeles, California. Dunfermline did not disappoint, another of the wonderful old bustling towns of Scotland. Especially endearing to Mother, we walked the cobbled roads that Granny walked as a child. The High Street she used to often tell me about, how she and her sisters used to call it walking up the Mountain from their home as it is on the highest part of the town and quite a vigorous walk up any one of the many narrow cobble stone lanes. We spend a couple of hours wandering about visiting the ancient and spectacular Dunfermline Abbey. Eight to nine centuries of history here, the resting place of Robert The Bruce, the grave site of the mother of William Wallace and with help of the site`s attendant, found the burial plot of whom we believe is Granny`s great-grandmother, Sarah Wood and her husband William Peebles. Granny`s middle name was Wood, and she always said she was named for her great-grandmother. The graveyard is an old graveyard, dating back to the 14th century, with so many of the gravestones mossed over to make the inscriptions impossible to decipher. Mother was so pleased to discover this and as we left (I`m going to get mushy and sentimental) a warm breeze seemed to sweep around us. We took it to mean that Granny was thanking us. Ah my dear sweet Granny and how I miss that kind old girl and the her gentle loving dignity. I`ve never known anyone like her. And this is where she was a girl so very long ago.

On to Edinburgh, cross the Firth Of Forth and unbelievably with no trouble whatsoever drove right into the very downtown and found our hotel as easy as finding a Starbucks in North Vancouver. Tomorrow`s blog will tell of Edinburgh. Enough to say that we are staying just off The Royal Mile, Edinburgh is stunning beyond London or Dublin. Joan & I walked along the Royal Mile tonight in the warm evening finding a nice old pub for dinner. Just one complaint. Again these tight Scotchmen are really ripping us off. 10 pounds for 24 hours of WiFi! A Scotchman will never ever miss an opportunity to get a farthing out of you or to save a penny or to cut a corner. One of yesterday`s highways was a prime example. A long ascent up from Inverness on a quite modern highway was one lane and of course backed up in a long queue behind several plodding lorries. Yet right beside us for the entire stretch were two lanes descending the long hill. The Scotchmen obviously figuring that it is cheaper to build two lanes going down than two lanes going up. From our hotel room we see the beautiful old buildings of Edinburgh lit up, the palaces, castles and monuments. Tomorrow we explore. It`s been a grand and sentimental day. So goodnight to all from Steve & Joan & Patricia.

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