when i first said i was coming to ediburgh i was met with an unheralded chorus 'I LOVE THAT CITY!' i have to say that i agree, this city is absolutely amazing. the architecture is pure georgian, 18th beautifully preserved tall buildings in the midst of magnificent monuments and a wonderful castle capping off the skyline. since it was never bombed or engulfed in flames, the city is totally preserved with just a couple modern buildings jutting out over the skyline.
we woke up and headed immediately to the small but well stocked national gallery of scotland. the art museum has a spectacular collection of old masters including a very impressive collection of early italian rennasaince paintings including some wonderful raphael and daddi works. there were also quite a few baroque italian and flemish works including a room of rubens and a fantastic 7 painting collection by rococo painter claude lorraine. breathaking
unfortunately, the impressive collection of impressionist and realist works were being restored though there was a gaugin that i studied still there. oh well. the basement had some impressive works by scottish painters. yes, there are scottish painters and they are quite accomplished including sir david wilkie who i will seek outin the US
after that, we left and met my good ole lovely and dear canadian friend stef and a friend of hers. they took us to 'worlds end' which is a slightly touristy, albiet, very acclaimed pub. i ordered haggish. i ate haggish. i really cant see what the big deal is! its quite good! its like ground meat and bulger. it was delicious! ive had it again since and confirmed that it is heavy but good. black pudding is still gross though regardless of what sauce you put on. its still ironey and disgusting.
stef went with us to holyrood palace, the queens residence when visiting edinburgh. while not as impressive as buckingham, it was quite lovely. the rooms had a stately and simple elegance which seems to be the trend for the royalty
the ruins of the 12th century abbey the palace was built attached to the palace and after the perfectly executed audio tour, we walked around the gardens and ruins. again, they were beautifully restored.
stef left us and cathy and i parted ways for a bit. i went to cadenheads, the largest independent scotch distillers in the country. i had myself a nice little tasting of some of their malts which the supply to major scotch producers like glenfiddich and glenmorangie and a chat about distilleries to visit up north. they also slagged the tourist scotch places :) ftw cadenheads. i ended up purcashing a half liter of cask strength 17 year single malt (for 12lb!).
that night, i went to dinner...ahem...alone. i needed. no CRAVED indian food. so cath and i split. i went to mother india and ate my weight in indian food. sooooooooooo good. it was tapas style and everything down to the perfect coriander chutney was amazing.
and so ends day 1
finally i ate a traditional english breakfast (in scotland). more haggis along with ham, sausages, eggs, beans, tomatoes, and mushrooms...and coffee. lots of coffee. i had a weird dream the night before about smuggling monkeys into the US. and my coworkers were there too. no idea.
we went back to the national gallery to see a ticketed exhibition on spanish art in british collections which included quite a few works by murillo, zubraran, valesquez, and goya. twas a fascinating exhibit and since its not a traveling show, this was the last chance to see all these works together with interepretations by classic british artists john constable, wilkie, turner, and gainsborough among others (nice copy of las minenas by wilkie)
then we went to edinburgh castle and was daunted by the size of it. of course, we might have been tired by the hundreds of steps to get up there. still, it was a very impressive castle in which every building that wasnt still officially used was filled with supplemental historical informationa nd exhibits on american prisoners kept and an interesting bit on the fascinating history on the scottish crown jewels which had been stolen, hidden, and change hands more than a slutty scot on a saturday night.
lets see. whats next.
oh yeah. we went to the national museum of scotland (not the national gallery) and saw more ancient scottish ruins, archives, and things. we are getting sick of history but its impossible to ignore the incredible of stuff that has occured on this little island. this museum had someo f the best preserved vases, metal, and leather ive ever seen going back to 4000 BC! or 30 BC if youre a religious person (and thus, wrong)
then: coffee at elephant house, a great coffee bar where harry potter was imagined by jk rowling (or so the place claims). then shopping.
now im blogging.
ok, i cant write anymore. i drank a nice nip of scotch and am getting ready for another traditional roast dinner. it wont be as good as liz's but im hoping for goodness nontheless.
3 more nights...