Saturday, October 31, 2015

Going to Glasgow

Today we are going to Glasgow to see the Burrell Museum.  Again we eat in the hotel restaurant with a view of Edinburgh Castle.  What a way to start the day!  Our trip will take us a couple of hours north of Edinburgh.  Two great things happen on the way to Glasgow.  The bus driver found my FitBit on the bus and I get it back.  Yeah!  Then when we get on the bus, Fearless Leader gives us a kit.  I love it.  It is a flame stitch pin cushion.

We make a pit stop to use bathrooms along the way.  It is a beautiful place filled with plants and a little cafe.

While I am there I have a chance to ask Amy Mitten about "Diligence".  She gives me a hint to what it might be.  Fun.

The tour guide tells us about the patron saint of Glasgow, St. Mungo.  There are symbols relating to St. Mungo's miracles on street lights all around Glasgow.

The bird that never flew
The tree that never grew
The bell that never rang
The fish that never swam

We get to the museum.  I have time to look around before it is my group's turn to see caskets up close and personal.  There are some very nice embroideries on display.  They have some rooms filled with William Morris furniture and designs.  I love William Morris stuff.  The museum shop is filled with good stuff and I buy a bunch.

 A girl I noticed at breakfast for her pretty dress comes up and introduces herself.  She and her sister are on the tour (the youngest ones here) and they read my blog.  I am thrilled.  Maree and Cheryl are from  half way around the world: New Zealand.  Maree is an expert in Or Nue. She has photos of her work.  She does amazing things.  Can you believe Marilyn Manson in Or Nue??  It was truely amazing.
We get to go behind the scenes to see embroidery that is not on display.  Fantastic.  I'm not showing photos of the caskets because there are rules and papers to sign and restrictions on what you can do with your photos.  I have a treasure trove of photos to help me decide what I want on my caskets.

There is a path up to a house near the museum.  I try to walk up to the house but it is too far and I have to turn around and go back so I don't miss the bus.  I get some nice walking in though.
The Burrell is a very nice museum.  Glasgow looks like a very nice city.
On the bus ride back to the hotel, we see some sights like Stirling Castle.
But our day is not done.  We have a little while to freshen up before going to Prestonhouse for a Spirit of Scotland Dinner and entertainment.  A piper is playing as we go in.

 There is music and dancing and a presentation of the Haggis.  We each get an appetizer of Haggis.  It wasn't bad.  The food is really good and the entertainment is fun.

 At one point Fearless Leader and Master Cabinetmaker join those dancing.  Very funny.  What a nice way to end our stay in Edinburgh.  Tomorrow we check out of the hotel and are on more adventures.  What a day it has been!  This is my souvenir from our hotel.


Friday, October 30, 2015

The National Museum of Scotland

I asked at the front desk of our hotel if anyone had found a Fitbit.  They are not sure what I am talking about but make a note.  Our Fearless Leader (Tricia) eats breakfast with us this morning in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle.  (Pinch me!)  I have to explain what egg whites are to the waitress.  I find out that bacon means ham here.  I also try some of this just to see what it is.  It is sort of like shredded wheat.  Dry.

Today we are going to the storage facility of the National Museum of Scotland to view some caskets and other needlework.  We get to see stuff that is not currently on display.  The storage facility is on the outskirts of Edinburgh.  It is interesting to see another side of the city. This building had such beautiful flowers.

 We pass the Royal Yacht Britannia.  The storage facility is a nondescript industrial building.  I was in the first group to go in to view the caskets.  There were five caskets and a very fine white work piece on linen.  We couldn't touch the caskets of course but we could take photos up close and personal.  The curator opened each casket (very carefully!).  We got photos of them inside and out.  The more you looked at them, the more things you noticed.  It was a dream to see them in person and see how big they actually are.  I can't believe I got to see them in person after having seen them in books. What was very interesting was the master cabinet maker was in my group and he was looking for secret drawers and things that moved.  After an hour it was the next group's turn to come in.  We had a cup of tea and waited for them.  Then the bus took us to the National Museum of Scotland which is not far from out hotel.

Janet and I had lunch in the Museum Cafe.  We looked at some of the museum and had fun shopping in the museum shop.  I bought some cards.  Actually, I copied Janet.  She bought this very nice card so I had to go get one too.

I got a couple of gifts. (Wine stopper, magnet, pen).  Then we went to hear a lecture by Naomi Tarrant.  She wrote a book on Scottish samplers called Remember Now Thy Creator.  We are so lucky to get to hear her talk and ask her questions.  This is the view out the window from the museum.

It is very hard to understand people with a strong Scottish accent. Sharon and I went to an Italian restaurant for dinner.  There is a pub crawl tonight but we are totally exhausted.  Tomorrow we are going to Glasgow.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Tour Begins!

Excitement is in the air!  Sharon and I eat breakfast on the top floor of the hotel where we can see Edinburgh Castle.

  My room is very nice and has an interesting view.

 The bathtub hits me at mid-thigh so it is very challenging to get in and out without hurting myself.
You have to put a room key in so that the lights work.
This ceramic alligator is in the entryway to our hotel.

 I've emailed my roommate so she'll know our room number.  She has been in Scotland for ten days already. I am so antsy, I ask Sharon to walk up to the local Sainsbury's with me to get some hand lotion. We pass a sweet garden on the way.

 The tour group is supposed to meet in the lobby at 11:00.  My roommate Janet arrives.  We are from different states and have met twice so we are hoping that each other is a normal regular person.  I know that Janet is the most creative person  ever and has exquisite taste in all things nifty.  I can't wait until 11 to go down to the lobby.  So I walk through a bit early and see that bags for each tour member are being set up.  Yeah!  They give us our bags which have itineraries in them along with two name tags (one to wear around our necks and one to put on our luggage),  and an empty book with a thistle on the front to record our adventures in.  We are to meet the bus at noon to go up to Edinburgh castle. The castle actually is close enough that you can walk up there if you want.  Janet and I take the bus.  Since Janet has been here before she tells me some things to see.   I look to see what time it is on my FitBit and I find that my FitBit is missing.  I've lost it somewhere!  Oh no!  Well, I'll have to be careful about the time as we are supposed to meet in half an hour at the cafe for afternoon tea.  The castle is very old.
There a tons of people here.

 I wander around and see stuff.  I buy a pencil with a crown in it at the store.  Then I see where the cafe is.  Afternoon tea is wonderful.

 The views from the castle are beautiful.

 It is a lovely lunch.  We have a bit more time to look around before we go back to the bus for the ride to Holyrood Palace.  This is my first castle and it is fun to see all the history here.
Then we go on the bus to Holyrood Palace.  The Queen actually stays here once a year I think.  There is needlework and a casket to see here.  If I remember right, we couldn't take any photos but it was great to see the needlework.  I love the sweets bags.  It is interesting to see some of Mary Queen of Scots' needlework.  Some of it seems amatuerish to me.

 Princess Anne's daughter got married in the garden behind the Palace.

It is very nice to walk in the garden.  I picked up a piece of holly there.  I bought a hand towel in the store that says Buckingham Palace on it.

 Wow, seeing a castle and a palace all in one day.  Sharon and Janet and I walk around Edinburgh that evening.  We see the cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter, The Elephant Cafe.

I can't believe I am actually here!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Most Wonderful Tour Ever

I got back last night from my whirlwind tour.  The tour exceeded all my expectations.  It was fabulous!  I can't believe I actually got to go.  (Thank you Janet for getting us in!)
I would love to tell you everything right now but there is just too much so I will take it day by day.  Then you can take this tour with me vicariously.
I left on a Monday afternoon worried about everything!  Silly me, everything was fine and I handled it.  There were three flights to get to Edinburgh.  The first was the easy 25 minute flight to Detroit.  The difficult flight was the 8 hours overnight to Amsterdam (I waved to Edinburgh as we flew over it!) where we arrived at five in the morning.

I've never been in a foreign country airport and it was set up a bit differently than I am used to.  Luckily many people speak English and I was able to find my gate and the correct waiting room.  Reminder to self:  never eat on a plane.  The food sat in my stomach like a rock.  I'm not good at changing my bio-clock but this time I was determined to try.  I dozed off a couple of times on the plane but didn't really sleep.  I was a bit loopy when I arrived in Edinburgh which was an industrial looking building.  I changed my money at the first booth I came to.  Then I waited for a lady (Sharon) who had emailed me and wanted to share a taxi to our hotel.  I was hoping she would recognize me since I didn't know her.  We met up without any problem and got a taxi.  I could never drive in Edinburgh.  The streets are convoluted and I could never get used to driving on the other side of the road.  I would be lost in two minutes anyway.
Our hotel (Apex International) is very nice and the people at the front desk were wonderfully helpful even though we are way early (9 a.m.) to check in.  They let us store our luggage there and were going to notify us when our rooms were ready.  Sharon and I went exploring around Edinburgh.  We went up to the Royal Mile.  We were looking for the Writer's Museum.  We couldn't find it.  Turns out it was down and alley.

  There are many alleys in Edinburgh.  It was in a very old house.  Many houses have names over there.  I think this one was "Lady Stairs".  It had the most treacherous dangerous uneven stairs I've ever seen.  But we managed.  It has displays on Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson and Robert Burns.  You could see from the photos that Robert Louis Stevenson was brought up in a wealthy household and was well cared for.  The house was very interesting in itself.  It was quite old and had uneven stairs to trick any nighttime  intruders.  There was a woven tapestry of the three authors heads.

 I probably would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't been so tired.  I was so pooped that I wanted to go back to the hotel and take a nap.  After a 2 hour nap, I felt much better.  I was ready to go in search of fish and chips.  Across from our hotel were a bunch of restaurants.

Sharon and I picked a pub and ate there.  I didn't know what to drink since I don't like beer or alcohol.  So I chose "Victorian Lemonade".
  It was so sour, I couldn't drink it. I got a coke instead.

 This area gets many visitors.  There were lots of people and tour groups walking around.

I stayed up as late as I could.  The tour officially starts tomorrow and my roommate will be here in the morning.  I'm terribly excited!