02.05.2013 - 02.05.2013
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We left the higher latitudes (around 58 degrees) to head to the cultural and political capital of Scotland, Edinburgh. As we headed south and traversed the Pass of Killicrankie the temperature dropped to a mere one degree and snow began to fall. It seems spring comes quite late to these parts.
By the time we got within 50 miles (yes we measuring our trip in imperial units during this part of our trip) of Edinburgh the temperature had risen to a more tolerable 10 degrees and the snow and rain had ceased. We took a little detour from the highway to find a nice place to picnic. We stopped amidst some pastureland that hosted a sizeable flock of sheep. The sound emanating from so many sheep was unfamiliar to our ears. The cacophony of deep and high bleats in various staccato rhythms sounded comical. The sight was that of innocent beauty since there were such an abundance of newborn lambs. We also saw quite a few ring-necked pheasants which I was unsuccessful in photographing but at least witnessed firsthand which I can't say for the red squirrels that the residents of the area are so protective of that they have produced signage for the squirrel's safety.
Our apartment, in the heart of Edinburgh, was easy to find but difficult to get to as many streets are being torn up to install new tramlines. A few passes through the neighbourhood finally revealed an unobstructed route and we were soon carrying our bags up six flights of stairs. Our location couldn't be much better. We are a few blocks from Edinburgh Castle and the beginning (or end) of the Royal Mile.
The kids chose to stay home while Muriel and I walked the Royal Mile from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace. It is a walk that takes you through some great architecture, notwithstanding the blackened stonework from centuries of coal burning. Edinburgh used to be called "auld Reekie" from all the chimneys in the city burning coal. At the end of the Royal Mile is the Queen's official residence in Scotland, Holyrood Palace. I would be curious to know what the Queen thinks about her new neighbours across the street; the Scottish Parliament. No greater juxtaposition of architectural styles could be imagined. The "modern" architecture of the Scottish Parliament leaves a bit to be desired. I think Elizabeth might be forgiven if she is spending a little less time at her Edinburgh residence these days.
By the time we got to the end of our walk I was thinking that I must be pretty tired from our car ride as the distance seemed much longer than two miles. I found out from Muriel that The Royal Mile is actually one Scot's mile long, which is 1.12 statute miles or 1.81 kilometers. The mile as a unit of measurement was not fully standardized until 1959. I guess you can't say Scots are cheap on distance.
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