» Scotland: Edinburgh - Bòidheach prìomh-bhaile (Beautiful Capital) I.
Scotland: Edinburgh - Bòidheach prìomh-bhaile (Beautiful Capital) I.
When one is in Scotland he/she should’t miss Edinburgh, its capital. This city located near the sea is worth at least several day stay. Still, you should bear on mind that you wouldn’t see everything.
Fortunately, unlike other cities, there is available affordable and quality accommodation for backpacker; thus the ordinary man wouldn’t be ruined by several night in a hostel right below Edinburgh Castle. The castle stands on a high hill; this hill together with the Holyrood Hill and Calton Hill are sort of orientation points. Moreover, the so-called Royal Mile begins at the castle and it goes through the city until it reaches the Holyrood palace, the summer residence of Queen Elizabeth. During a walk along the Royal Mile you would encounter many interesting stops; right few meters from the castle there is an entertainment center the World of Illusion. There, except various optical illusions, you would the the Camera Obscura. This local attraction is a mysterious system of mirrors and lenses that will bring an image of the street right in front you on a table. However, don’t expect any hi-tech, for this was an attraction for aristocrats 150 years ago.
Near the World of Illusions there is one of the most beautiful of local cathedrals, the St. Giles. Inside this Gothic marvel is the so-called Thistle Chapel finished only in 1911. It serves an order of the same name, this order is considered the oldest and most honorable and its member is Queen Elizabeth herself; she confers knighthoods there. The whole cathedral is very impressive and you wouldn’t think that during the reformation it was very far from dignity. After the death of local reformer John Knox the cathedral was used for everything in following 300 years; there was a police and firemen station, school, coal shop, and also a “Maiden” stood there, a Scottish type of guillotine, and in a corner there was a prison for “harlots”. Mr. Knox would be unpleasantly surprised, perhaps as a sort of apology later they built his life-size statue in the cathedral.
The Mile continues along many interesting houses until it reaches the Holyrood Palace. Around is a vast complex of houses that is in UNESCO’s World Heritage list, it is the Scottish Parliament compounds. The construction began in 1999 and it took three years longer than it had to and, particularly, it cost 300 million pounds more than it had to. The public doesn’t like this, but experts like the buildings. The low buildings within the compound symbolize connection of Scottish nation with nature.
Other decorations at minimalistic house of commons are inspired by „Skating Minister “ by Henry Raeburn. The painting is located in the National Gallery nearby, together with other galleries they make a large collection of art from all around the world, there are pieces by Leonardo Da Vinci or more contemporary authors. Also, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery .
Its inner decoration makes it one of the most famous buildings in Edinburgh, moreover, it is the first portrait gallery in the world. The building is covered with portraits of historical figures, from statesmen to poets. Two great heroes – William Wallace and Robert Bruce, guide the entrance to the gallery. It is pointless to say that you would meet them there for the last time. The Scotchmen are proud people and on your visist of their land you will understand why.
To be continued...
Text/photo: Lucie Mařasová
So what next you should miss when in Edinburg? For example Royal Yacht Britannia that traveled astonishing 1 million naval miles in its existence, it is as if the yacht traveled around the world for 40 times. In 1997 it was put out of service and today it is opened to the public.
After a short introduction to Glasgow in the last part of our series, today we move on to its streets to explore the most famous sights and places.
Today, we visit one of the four countries creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is Scotland which is situated in the north of the island. The Atlantic Ocean creates its boundaries on the north and the North Sea in the east.
Autumn is an unusual time of the year to travel. For a long time, we were thinking if to even set out despite less dayilight time, winter, often rains yet Scotland captured us with its beauty and we would eventually buy our flight tickets. There is a regular connection between Prague and Edinburgh. Glasgow is about an hour of car ride from Edinburgh. Yet first we would travel bit further to the west and make a trek in the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park.
In the morning, we set out to beautiful Highlands situated in the northwest. On our way, we pass snow-caped mountains veiled in morning mist. This tempts us to stop and take a beautiful picture. This time we are heading to a place to what we are looking forward the most to – Skye island. A road bloc complicates our travels. It absolutely confuses our GPS which frighten us a bit. We are running of fuel while gaining kilometers and there are not many gas stations around. Eventually, everything works out well and we continue in our journey.
When I first went out into the world at 18, it was Scotland. I still remember the moon in it, when I almost traced it all to this day. For 7 years I wanted to go back and finally it was time. I got on a motorbike in Prague and set off for about 2000 kilometers long way to the northwest.
My visit to Scotland was coming to an end, but I still had about 2,000 kilometers to go home. But Scotland is beautiful, so why hurry? So I stopped at several places on the Isle of Skye and gradually reached the highest mountain of Ben Nevis.
The Scottish referendum is popular topic in world media. Even if the Scots decided not to get out of three hundred year long relationship with England. It is almost certain that London would loosen its tight to Scotland. It is a question how would Scotland do as an independent country and how its would fare on international level.
Fortunately, in south part of Lewis there are hills that flawlessly continue to Harris. Islanders also need wood so they planted there a small forest. Now I lay in a warm sleeping bag, in a tent attached to three trees, I listen to an ugly sound of drops constantly hiting my tent. Well, I have to get up eventually. After all I come here to learn about the islands, not to lay all day long.
I have almost no water, no battery in my cell left, thus I travel to Mallaig, a port town from where ferries heading to Skye, Rum, Uist and other, smaller, islands depart. Right next to the port, there is a small train station. Its loading platform has not been used for a long time, obviously. It has two platforms.
Again, I woke up cold. This time it was not on the Orkneys. It was about half the way between Inverness and Perth, close to A9 road. Islands on the north, I had left 19 hours ago. Strong wind is blowing outside. Fortunately, it does not rain.
Cold and raindrops hitting a side of my tent wake me up. It would be better if there was no thermometer for knowing that it is just 1 degree above zero is not very encouraging. Fortunately, the wind got better. I quickly pack my tent hoping that my hands will not freeze.
After a half-an-hour ride I get off in Aberdour, a fishermen town in the Forth Bay. I have no idea where to go so I just follow arrows of the Fife Coastal Path. The reason is perhaps that it goes along the railway (and thus along the coastline as well).
Already in the summer of 2011, I was in Scotland for a few days visit. But this time it was different. And maybe even a little crazy. At this time I was a fresh adult student, only with a flight ticket to home, about three hundred pounds in his pocket and an overnight stay for the first night.
The last part of our visit of the islands we spent on Mainland and neighboring island on the south. These islands are interconnected with the so-called Churchill barriers.
We continued along the coastline to east and we were amazed with a beautiful road without holes and patches. There are just three main roads on Mainland, however, unlike ours they were in splendid condition.
Near the village is Yesnaby, perhaps the most popular cliffs we just had to visit. A look from above on wild waves made took one’s breath. After we explored the surroundings we headed to mysterious stones.
The Orkney Islands are located on massive cliffs north of Scottish shore. There are 70 islands and only on about 20 there is some permanent settlement.
Today, we get to the last part of the series of articles on rough yet magical Scotland.
A mysterios seaport time in the southeast of Scotland is place where movie legends such as Sherlo...