Mid term break 2006 - Scotland


The mid term break this year was to a bit different than our usual way to have a trip away from Birkeroed.
This year we were of to Scotland for 4 days and then on to Malahide for another 4 days to visit the Irish clan and celebrate Paul’s 40th birthday.


We left Birkeroed Sunday morning on the 15th October 2006 to go to Copenhagen Airport.
There was hardly any traffic getting there and absolutely no queue in front of the check in counter.
We were advised to arrive at least 2 hours before departure and we were there 2½ hours before so we had plenty of time to kill before take of.


Getting in to Edinburgh we encountered a traffic jam so we had to circle round in the air before we landed safely. 
We took a taxi from the airport to Fountain Court Apartments, 123 Grove Street.
It was very central, so we were able to walk to Edinburgh Castle and all the other sights we wanted to see.


After settling in our two bed roomed apartment, had a cuppa and worked out the TV we decided to go for a walk a do a bit of shopping,
although there was a complementary breakfast package already in the room.
On our way back we stopped for a pint of Guinness. Although it was nicely poured and cold the taste wasn’t Irish. So we had to wait 4 days before we were able to taste that.


When it was time for dinner we hit the streets again. That was a bit of an experience for us all.
A large crowd of young men probably football fans came out of a bar and disappeared around the corner.
Shortly afterwards they came running back and the police right behind them both on foot and in police cars with sirens. 
We quickly told the boys to stop and stand still so we weren’t arrested by mistake.  The police were able to catch some of the hoodlums and they were arrested and handcuffed.


We went across the street and on wards in our search for a place to eat. We ended up in an Italian restaurant.
When we came back to our place we watched King Kong with the boys before they went to bed.


The next morning we had a good lie in before we left for Edinburgh Castle. There was a lot to see at Edinburgh Castle. 
The Castle is at one the end of the Royal Mile which connects the Castle with Holyrood Place which today is known as Queen Elisabeth II’s official Scottish residence.





















Over the entrance gate you find the words – Nemo Me Impune Lacessit – Those who provoke me shall not go without punishment. 








































We walked around the castle for hours and saw and heard the one o’clock gun go of.  Overlooking Edinburgh we spotted “Isengard” or at least it looked like it.




















Inside the castle we visited the National War museum of Scotland. Here Sean and Axel stood guard.




















Of course we had to go and see the dungeons.







































At exactly one o'clock the gun went of so all of Edinburgh could set their clocks accordingly. The gun is fired at o'clock and not at twelve because it is cheaper to fire shoot instead of twelve.


























































After a nice lunch we left the castle and went to visit the Scotch Whisky Centre. Here we had a guided tour through the art of whisky making. Scotland is divided into Lowland, Highland, Speyside and the islands. Most of Scottish whisky is made in Speyside because of the water here.  There is single Malt whisky and blended whisky. And it is here the blender comes inn. We learned how important the nose is to a blender. Naturally the tour ended in the shop where they had approximately 50 different whiskies on display. We bought 4 different sample bottles and decided to test them first before we came back for the big ones.




















Now it was time to head back. Axel was very tired and wanted to be carried. But after a nice chocolate bar he had his energy back. We decided for take away and got a free coca cola from the shop. We all watched Karate Kid I before the boys went to bed.


Tuesday was another great day in Edinburgh. After a good nights sleep we decided to walk the Royal Mile or at least some of it to find the Dungeons of Edinburgh. But before we found it we visited the Tartan weaving centre where we saw loads of fabric being woven in all the different clan patterns. And then we spotted Isengard again. And a backpiper.




















The Dungeons was very spooky. Sean and Axel were holding our hands very closely though the entire tour. We experienced how people were tortured in the old times, how we had to run to escape the rowing fire of Edinburgh. We met the few survivors of the McDonald Clan just before they were attacked by the Campbells and barely escaped the house before it burned down.




















Well back in the street we went looking for a place to eat. Right next to the Waverly station we went into the Princes Mall where Sean and Axel had McDonalds and John and I had KFC – something we hadn’t had for years. After a nice rest we decided to head back to Fountain Court. On our way back we had to clime 123 steps in order to get back to the Royal Mile, where we passed the Real Mary King’s Close. An underground Close and houses which were build over in order to make room for the Scottish Exchange. It was a very interesting tour but very tiring tour for the boys. We walk back and had a cuppa and a scone with butter and jam. We decided to try another whisky sample – Glengoyne 17 years a single Highland Malt and Glen Maray – 16 years a single Speyside Malt Whisky. They weren’t as nice as the Benriach 20 years single Speyside Malt Whisky we had yesterday.  We ended up with the Bunnahabhain 12 years single Islay Malt Scotch Whisky.


Wednesday was to bee our last day of sightseeing. We had decided to take the sightseeing busses and get the guided tour of Edinburgh. Our first stop was at the end of the Royal Mile where we wanted to see Holyrood Place and the very modern Scottish Parliament building.  All we ended up doing was to get a cup of tea in the small coffee shop within the Parliament. Then back on the bus again. Sean and Axel were passing time blowing water of the railing waiting for the bus. We passed Holyrood Park, Scott Monument (Isengard) and about 38 other interesting sights. One of the last activities of our day was to visit the Dynamic Earth Centre where we saw the history of earth and what will happen if we don’t take care of it.



























































It was now time for lunch and for Axel to meet the local dinosaur before we went back on the bus again. On our way back we went back into the Whiskey Centre for normal size bottles of the good whisky we had yesterday. It turned out that the nice Benriach 20 years we had tried was 50£, so we went for an 18 year old Glenmorangie and a 12 year old Bunnahabhain. Maybe we will find the Benriach in the airport tomorrow. Sean and Axel posted their postcards to their school classes. At this point Axel was very tired as the photograph clearly shows. We decided to eat in on our last night and went into the nearest shop for a couple of TV dinners. 








































So how was Edinburgh? It was great. Hopefully I’ll be able to convince the rest of the family to come back in August next year for the Tattoo in Edinburgh Castle. That would be a great experience for all of us. And to any one who visits Edinburgh for the first time – be sure to do the sightseeing tour first and the claim some of all the discounts from the ticket afterwards. That way you would be able to save a quid or two.



Thursday it was time to move on to Ireland and Malahide for Paul's 40th birthday.


Have a look on our photos from Malahide