Sunday, October 11, 2020

Driving from Edinburgh to Isle of Skye through scenic roads- Amazing Scotland

In this episode of Amazing Scotland series, we invite you to join us on this scenic drive to Isle Skye from Edinburgh. There are several routes to Isle of Syke from Edinburgh. We have travelled through some of those highlands roads during our previous visits. This time, we decided to take the most scenic routes of them all which will take us through Cairngorms National Park and Snow Road. You can see the video of our trip here (if you liked what you saw, please subscribe the channel and show your support)



The 90 mile stretch of Snow Road is said to be an amazing sight in the winter. We read that it is no less beautiful during the summer as well. As we are never tired of beautiful sights, we jumped at the opportunity to see new sights and explore new routes.

You'll see that our decision was right. As we left Edinburgh behind, we were treated with some amazing scenery - it was literally feast for our eyes and soul. We couldn't have asked for more (except, perhaps a better weather :) ) On the way, we passed through some lovely towns and villages. Stopped a couple of times to enjoy the views of Cairngorms National Park. Breathing in that fresh crispy air felt heavenly. The heart was filled with joy.

We drove on through the valleys, enjoying the sights of small rivers and rivulets flowing by, clouds kissing the mountains, rains making it all disappear and sunshine bringing rainbows. It was a rollercoaster ride of a different kind. Nature can be such a good entertainer... We stopped near Balmoral Castle gates and enjoyed some views befitting the royals. We knew we couldn't get a view of the Queen's private residence even from afar. We would've loved to get a glimpse of it at least from far. But her majesty was in residence there at that time and so there was no way we could have managed that.
Spending some time by the side of River Dee was refreshing. It felt really nice to be able to see and feel nature up close. It was both a poignant and relaxing moment at the same time.

We then went on to the next item on our itinerary for the day - a distillery tour. You can catch the details of that visit next week. Stay tuned...

Friday, October 2, 2020

Royal Mile Walk Malayalam Part -2|| Edinburgh || Amazing Scotland

If someone asks us 'what to see in Edinburgh Scotland', we would say 'Royal Mile without any hesitation. Well, you want to know why, check out the earlier blog here.

Here is the second part of the Vlog where you can enjoy these sights on our YouTube Channel Wanderscapes. Don't forget to subscribe and show your support while you are there.

In this second part, we continue from where we left off last week- we bring sights from the Edinburgh Castle (https://www.edinburghcastle.scot/). Although we didn't go inside this time due to the pandemic situation, we had been inside a couple of times and so we know what's inside.

Edinburgh Castle

If you are in Edinburgh and go in, make sure your time your visit to see the daily gun shot which happens precisely at 1 PM. This happens daily, except on Sundays, Christmas and Easter.
The other attractions include the Scottish Crown Jewels - the crown, sceptre and sword used during the coronation of Mary Queen of Scots. There are several towers, museums and a small chapel. A detailed visit will take 3-4 hours. The view is fabulous from the top - a rewarding sight once you climb up the small hills.

Once you've seen everything the castle has to offer, it is time to walk back. As you go down Castlehill, you may try the Scotch Whiskey Experience (https://www.scotchwhiskyexperience.co.uk) to understand how whiskey is made. Enjoy the tasting session and you can even buy some whiskey if you liked what you tasted.

Bagpiper
The Harry Potter connection
As you walk down the castle hill, you will see and hear the bagpiper stationed at the bottom of Castlehill playing the bagpipe. Listen to him and enjoy the Scottish music to your heart's fill. At Lawnmarket, take a diversion towards the George IV bridge for some unique views of the city. marvel at the architecture of this elevated street. It is really awe inspiring to see the buildings on the so called bridge, including the Scottish National Library. And as you walk past the Scottish National Library, you'll find a small cafe painted in red. Harry Potter fans, that's elephant house (https://elephanthouse.biz) for you - J K Rowling spent many a days writing Harry Potter in this small cafe. If you go in, don't forget to visit the toilet - the graffiti on walls by Harry Potter fans are said to be very interesting.
If you walk further on towards the candle makers row, you will see the Greyfrairs Bobby. Somewhere in the vicinity is the graveyard from where J K Rowling is said to have got inspiration for the names used in Harry Potter series.
Adam Smith's Grave 
Walk to the opposite direction, towards the Princes Garden. There, a tall structure would attract your immediate attention. That's Scott Monument, dedicated to Sir Walter Scott. This 200-feet tall structure is said to be world's second largest monument dedicated to a writer. (https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/venue/scott-monument) Back on Royal Mile, pause to look at the Heart of Midlothian. It was the site of a prison in the old days and so don't be surprised if the locals look at it with disgust. One you look around the place again, enjoy the stroll back to Canongate - this might be a good time to remember all those famous Scots - Alexander Fleming, Alexander Graham Bell, James Watt, Arthur Conan Doyle, R L Stevenson, Adam Smith, Sir Walter Scott and others.

At Canongate church, you can visit the grave of Adam Smith. Further down the road is the house he lived in.

Queens Gallery
Soon we will be back at Holyrood after experiencing the unique sights and sounds of Edinburgh. There is more to see in this beautiful city. We shall leave those for some other time, shall we?

#wanderscapes #amazingscotland #royalmilewalkmalayalam

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Royall Mile Walk Part #1 - Edinburgh - Amazing Scotland

Royall Mile Walk Part #1 - Edinburgh - Amazing Scotland 

Ok, so before anything, let me lay down the cards - this is a travelogue based on our trip to Scotland. We are making a vlog series of it. So, if you would rather watch it than read it here, click here to watch on our YouTube channel, Wanderscapes (and while you are there, consider subscribing to the channel too) 

Royal Mile

Now, this is the second episode of our Amazing Scotland Series. We have just reached Edinburgh. In this blog, I tell you about some of the must see sights of Edinburgh. In the video, you'll get a glimpse of Holyrood Palace and Scottish Parliament before we go on one of the amazing walks through the city. Since this blog is about Royal Mile, I don't intend to go into the details of the palace and parliament. 

Holyrood Palace - Front View

Royal Mile is a one mile stretch of road extending from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace.
It is a collection of five streets - Castlehill, Lawnmarket, High Street, Canongate and Abbey Stand. Royal mile is the busiest and most favoured destination of the tourists. Royal Mile walk is a favorite activity of tourists visiting Edinburgh.

This walk is like no other. Here we can see an amazing blend of the old with the new. As we walk along the clobbered street after a quick look at the symbols of both monarchy and democracy, we are ushered into a magical world - truly one of its kind.

Inside the Scottish Parliament 
First, we see the 'close's and 'wynd's and learn the reason behind the strange names. Close was closed to the public - as it led to private, gated properties which could not be accessed without permission. Wynd was a thoroughfare used freely by the public. As we descend thorough the closes and wynds we will be astonished to find unexpected sights - it is like discovering a world within a world. For, beyond the steep descend, sometimes through steps, we will find homes, streets, offices, garden, park and what not. Climb down the unsuspecting flight of stairs to land in a completely different set up. You'll feel you left Royal Mile and entered another world altogether.

'Wynd'ing down 
Once you have explored enough closes and wynds that they cease to be a novelty (although the temptation to walk down a close is too strong to ignore), proceed along the royal mile to enjoy some window shopping. There are dozens of shops selling curios, mementos, gifts and other little (and big) things you would love to take home as a reminder of your visit to this amazing city.

 What a view!
A road to somewhere
If you feel you need something to energise you, pop in to one of the numerous eateries along the way. Better still, pop in to one of the pub or tavern to enjoy a drink or two along with some fascinating stories of its origin. Some, like Old Tolbooth Tavern are rumoured to be haunted - look up the stories and enjoy some good old tales.

Not into myths and tales? No worries - there are numerous museums to quench your thirst of knowledge and facts. Visit Museum of Edinburgh to know more about this fascinating city or pop in to Museum of Childhood - first of its kind in the whole world- to satisfy your urge to know more. Writers museum, People's museum and if you don't mind wandering off a bit from Royal Mile, The Dynamic Earth and the National Museum of Scotland is worth a visit - say hi to Dolly the sheep from us if you happen to visit the national museum :)


Nether bow Wellhead with a view of Royal Mile at the backdrop

Are you looking for some traditional clothing? well, there are so many shops specialising in kilts and tartans that you will have trouble choosing. You can buy some tweeds, cashmere and more from some of these iconic and long standing establishments. If you are low on energy, head to fudge house and enjoy some of their delicious fudges - they have a wide range of flavours from traditional to some innovative. If you are a chocolate lover, the milk chocolate one is a must - our chocolate loving son couldn't have enough of it!

Hey, don't rush off - that's not just a random collection of stone in front of you - it is the oldest surviving well head. People used to line up here to collect water for their daily needs. If you were rich enough, you could pay the urchins to collect water on your behalf - that way you don't have to wake up in the middle of the night to collect precious water.

The mouth that quenched the thirst?
Moubray house is the oldest residential building and John Knox house is not so new either. Both have stood the test of time. So make sure your pause and take a good look at them.

John Knox House
It is never too early to do Christmas shopping when you are at the Nutcracker Christmas shop. Tardis, you said? Nah, that old police box is the ticket counter of Edinburgh City Tours. Not a cheap box though - someone paid more than 100000 pounds for that! Can you believe that?

St Giles Cathedral
Stop at the St Giles Cathedral to admire the building - the inside is even more pretty. Don't forget to see Adam Smith's statue near by. Explore the premise and you'll find more interesting stuff here.
Camera Obscura

Adam Smith

Ok Ok, time to walk ahead - no that's not a church. It is the Hub. Yes, it is the highest point in central Edinburgh. Yes, Camera Obscura is a must visit. At least have fun looking at those installations outside... And finally, go on and enjoy the awesome sight of Edinburgh castle perched upon the hill. Worthy of royalty, isn't it? #wanderscapes #royalmilewalk #edinburgh






Edinburgh Castle