Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Friday 21 October 2011

A weekend in Edinburgh

For a Londoner born and bred, it would be a bit hypocritical to make a great deal of my Scottish ancestors. I have been to Edinburgh plenty of times to find out more about them (and for what it's worth, as is no doubt statistically probable with most people, there is much more geographical and ethnic diversity the further back you go, of which more later); so while my sister-in-law looked up her family history this weekend, my brother and I went along just to visit.

After I arrived there was time for a lung-stretching stroll up, round and down a bleakly wet Calton Hill for its perspective over Edinburgh city centre before meeting their train, and an evening stroll to catch a view of the Castle by night:

Friday saw us checking out the Surgeons' Hall museum: not just body parts in bottles, but an overview of the development of surgical techniques, with a detour to explore the origins of Sherlock Holmes, and a chance to test your skills at manipulating remotely-controlled instruments. Fortunately I already known I can never get the teddy bear in those things on seaside piers, so there'd be no chance of my killing someone trying to do a similar job in surgery. Then we stretched our leg muscles down the Royal Mile and up again, calling in at the Parliament for coffee (the Debating Chamber wasn't in use, so visitors could walk in, admire its light and functional interior - and note that, if debates become too heated, the Presiding Officer has a fire extinguisher within easy reach), peering down narrow closes (and discovering the charming Dunbars Close Garden), stopping off to visit St Giles's Cathedral, the Writers' Museum and a very windswept Castle Esplanade. A chance glance at the posters outside the Canongate church revealed a concert that night by the Kammerchor Chemnitz and an Edinburgh University choir, which turned out to be an unexpected treat.
John Knox's House

Edinburgh Castle Esplanade

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