After a great breakfast I went with Frank to the heritage museum at Summerlee. First up was a row of small houses that were decorated and laid out the way they were from the late 1800s, 1920s, 40s, 60s, and 80s. Complete with different heating sources, lights, beds, etc. Then I took the short tour down part of an old coal mine. It was pretty insane to see the conditions and type of work that the miners did in there. The ‘elevator’ was totally a death trap.
From there we went into the museum portion. There was a ton of old machinery for mining, foundry work, etc. Many of the machines were still operational. There were also sections talking about the war efforts in the local area, the geographic makeup of the region, and the issues surrounding whether alcohol should be legal or not that existed in the past.
Out big viewing windows we could see a whole bunch of foundations left over from the foundry that used to be on that location.
After that I got dropped off at Cathy’s and she took me over to see the time capsule, which is the local community centre essentially, which has 2 pools, fitness area, and an ice rink. We also went to check out the little mall nearby, and I grabbed a couple small things to finish off.
Hung out for an hour or so at Cathy’s and then got picked up to go out for dinner with most of the cousins. Dinner was great and it was really cool to have everyone together and hanging out.
Back at the house I had the fun job of packing, printed off my plane ticket, wrote this, and I get to be up in about 5 hours. Yay!
Goodnight and so long Europe!
Got up nice and early to have Bill drive me into Edinburgh on his way to work.
The drive was just over an hour and I got dropped off a few minutes after 8am. It was bitter cold first thing in the morning, so I walked the little ways up to the main street and then stopped at a McDonald’s to get a small bite to eat and warm up. I also used the WiFi there to confirm the location of the free walking tour in Edinburgh.
Had about 2 hours to kill before the tour, so I walked out and down towards the base of Edinburgh castle, and came into the gardens right at the base of one of the cliff faces. I walked through the gardens, past the outdoor theatre, went to the memorial to the Royal Scots soldiers, and then up to the National Gallery. I was going to go in there, but it didn’t open until 10am and I still had time before that. Instead I kept walking and went in and around a few areas surrounding the royal mile, checked out where the train station was that I’d be using later, and then found the meet point for the tour. It was at a Starbucks, so I got a hot chocolate and used some WiFi there as well. Spent about a half hour or so there and then it was tour time.
We started at Tron Kirk, went by city hall, talked about the Mercan (?) cross where thieves were nailed to the wood and where all public announcements are made to the people.
We went past the big old church, the grave site of John Knox, and then started up the royal mile (which is apparently not exactly a mile long)
Walked under the other side of the castle from the way I went earlier, went over to greyfriars church/graveyard where we saw the graves that inspired several names for the Harry Potter books, including Tom Riddle (spelled Thomas Riddell on the headstone)
Also heard a brief history of the Covenanters and how their spirits haunt the graveyard.
Then we saw Bobby’s grave, the loyal dog that stayed with its master for many years after his death. Past the statue of the dog, and walked past the cafe where JK Rowling wrote a bunch of the first Harry Potter novel.
Oh yeah, along the way we also saw the writer’s museum.
Made our way back to the Royal Mile, and then to the edge of the cliff face looking out over the new city.
A group of us went with the tour guide for lunch afterwards, and I sat with an American guy, Brazilian guy, and a girl from BC. I had fish and chips, which were very good.
Jen and I both wanted to do the bottom of the royal mile and Arthur’s seat, so we headed out together and the others went their separate ways. Walked down the mile, past the palace and the Scottish parliament, and then out to Arthur’s seat. It’s this massive couple of hills right on the edge of the city. We climbed right to the top of the highest peak and had a spectacular panoramic of Edinburgh, the north sea, and all of the surrounding areas. On the way down we got an amazing shot of the sunlight breaking through the clouds directly over Edinburgh city.
We parted ways shortly after that, and I went and bought a few gifts for family back home. Then I took the train back to Glasgow, got picked up by Francis and Paul, we went out to see the fireworks and some bonfires for Guy Fawkes celebrations and then we went to Kevin’s place to play some poker.
As is standard, I had the absolute worst luck. In the first game I had slightly better than 2:1 odds to win the big hand I pushed, and lost. In the second game, I was doing well until I went big on a hand that I had a 9/10 chance of winning and lost on the river card. Obviously the cards were not on my side. I had a lot of fun though and met some of the family that I hadn’t seen yet so that was great. Francis dropped me off, I talked to Frank for a few minutes, then had a chat with one or two people from home and went to bed. I failed on my plan to get some pics with my phone to post, but I’ll be home very soon and then there’ll be more pictures than you can handle.
Got picked up by Anne and Pat and went out for some sightseeing.
Started at the lochs in coatbridge, walked a loop around there and then grabbed a drink in the visitor centre there.
From there we went out to Strathclyde Park, which was being set up for both the Commonwealth games and for the Guy Fawkes celebrations for Nov. 5. There’s also an old Roman bridge and the remains of a Roman bathhouse, so we stopped in to check those out as well.
On the far side of the lake, we walked a bit and then crossed the road to go over the bridge over the river Clyde. We walked out to where Hamilton palace used to be and saw the mausoleum that’s right near there.
Walked back to the car and went over to Chatelherault, the former hunting lodge of the Hamilton estate. Walked the front of the grounds and took in the sights over the countryside, then went inside for some lunch.
After lunch I took a quick walk through the exhibit inside the building, and saw some of the historical artifacts and information that was on display.
We went outside and went for a walk through some of the forested area in behind. We went to the remains of Cadzlow castle and then up to a small grove of oak trees that are about 300 years old.
Came back a slightly different way on the paths to see a few different things, and then took the car back to their house. I had dinner with them and their son Paul, one of the people I was out with on Friday.
After dinner Paul and I went to see Thor 2, and then he dropped me back off afterwards.
Got up and had a great breakfast, then got picked up by Bill and Bernadette to go for a tour.
We went out to Loch Lomond and took a boat ride around part of the lake. In the distance we could see a white cap mountain, just the start of many of the highlands.
From there we drove into Glasgow and went for dinner. After that we went to a cinema and watched escape plan, it was a decent straight up action movie.
Got some great shots out on the water.
Slept in nice and late, got up and ate breakfast, then went back to bed for a while.
Got up and went out with Francis to a couple bars, had dinner, went by a casino and played some blackjack. I came out even, he went up £20.
After that we went to a big old irish bar, they were playing some good music so we hung out there for a bit and then headed home.
I realized I haven’t taken any pictures with my phone to upload, so I’ll try to rectify that. (This is a couple days late as it is…)
Had a bit of a sleep in, nice big breakfast, and then did some writing.
I spent some time talking to the people that I’m staying with.
In the evening I got together with a few of the cousins here and went for a wee pub crawl. Needless to say, turned into a bit of a long night. Tried out a few different places, and had a bunch of different drinks. It was a lot of fun, and then I had a great, long sleep.
Slept in a bit, finalized travel details, checked out, and left the hostel.
I had a bit of time to kill, so I stopped at Subway to grab some food and I did some reading on my Kindle.
Went to the station, bought a ticket for Glasgow, had a bit of a wait there and then got on the train. Continued reading for the 3 hours or so on the train, and got to Glasgow without incident.
Had another bit of a wait before being picked up, so I hung out at the pub in the station for a pint.
Got picked up by my uncle’s family, came into town, chatted a bit, had some dinner, and got some sleep.
This is the central library from Manchester. It’s right next to City Hall.