A Travellerspoint blog

Day 35

Edinburgh to St. Andrews

rain 17 °C

We picked up a rental car this morning and took the easy drive to St. Andrews. we stopped for breakfast at the Waverly Cafe in a small village called "Burntisland". We could have the large breakfast or the small breakfast. The small breakfast consisted of bacon, sausages, eggs, baked beans, haggis and toast. The large breakfast? too much to describe. This was my first ever haggis and probably my last. I found the taste neither good nor bad, just something I wouldn't be looking for again. Liz couldn't/didn't eat hers.
It started to rain during breakfast and it rained quite heavily all the way to St. Andrews but it lightened up as we got there and ended up fine in the afternoon.
Well St. Andrews is all that we hoped for and more. We spent the afternoon looking the old course and the surrounding area, taking photos and looking in the many golf shops in the town. It is so exciting to be here after seeing this place so many times on TV. To walk on the course and see so many of its famous landmarks is awesome, much better than I expected it would be.
Our accomodation, a B&B, "Five Pilmore Place", is less than three minutes walk to the 18th green of the Old Course and close to everything else as well. It is also really well appointed and comfortable.
The only problem with St. Andrews is parking. Being an old city there is a shortage of parking in the city area so most accommodation doesn't have parking. You have to find a park in the street near your accomodation which can be difficult. But we found one eventually and now we are set. Parking at the golf courses is no problem.
Tommorow, if the weather is OK, we will play golf on the Eden Course which we are told is the second easiest course of the 5 proper golf courses at St. Andrews but not by much. We will see. Looking forward to it.

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Posted by John McReynolds 13:23 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)

Day 34

Edinburgh

overcast 17 °C

A cloudy and cool day in Edinburgh today with a maximum of 17 degrees and a little rain. We started with breakfast in a little cafe just of the Royal Mile and then took the short walk to Edinburgh Castle. The castle is very interesting and has great views of the city. The Scottish Crown Jewels and the War Prison are the pick of the exhibits but it is just a nice place to look around. I recommend that if you visit, come early. We had a pretty easy time of it but it was getting very busy by the time we left. After the castle we just walked around Edinburgh, there is lots to see, and then we had lunch in at "Malt Shovel Inn".
In the afternoon we took it easy at our apartment but in the afternoon were rewarded with a great view of the annual "Riding of the Marches" through our front window.
Another walk around Edinburgh in the early evening, it really is a nice place to explore, followed by dinner at Howie's Scottish Restaurant (recommended by our host) which provides traditional Scottish fare. Very simple food like lamb steak and veg., but good.
Another nice day with the chance to relax a bit, much appreciated.
Tomorrow we pick up a car ad drive to Saint Andrews.

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Posted by John McReynolds 12:43 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)

Day 33

Versailles-Paris-Edinburgh

all seasons in one day 15 °C

We stayed in a nice hotel in Versailles last night, one that provided breakfast. Have been missing breakfast. Then we headed for Paris. It was raining today so we limited our sightseeing to what we could see driving around Paris. We saw most of the famous landmarks and watched the other tourists struggle with umbrellas and wet cameras.
Vianney dropped us off at Charles de Gaulle airport and after fond farewells we flew to Edinburgh.
We were delighted to reach our apartment in the centre of old Edinburgh and find that it is perfectly located in a really interesting building surronded by equally interesting buildings and equipped with everything we need.
Dinner and a couple of pints in "Blackfriars Bobby" (pub) topped of a good day of travel. Looking forward to exploring Edinburgh tomorrow.

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Posted by John McReynolds 09:11 Archived in France Comments (0)

Day 32

Versailles

sunny 24 °C

An early start in Dijon today to travel to Versailles and beat the crowds to the Palace of Versailles. We achieved that and managed to enter the Palace fairly quickly but it was still pretty crowded. The palace was a bit of a disappointment, partly because we had been there before and partly because of the other tourists. With everyone carrying a camera of some sort and the craze for taking selfies in front of every attraction, it is almost impossible to view anything and difficult to get quality photos. I actually only wanted to go for the gardens which we didn't really look at last time as it was winter and the gardens were not enticing at that time. The gardens are spectacular and huge and we spent quite a bit of time exploring them. But again this experience was spoilt by the "art" that is currently on exhibition in the gardens. The artworks, by Anish Kapoor are large and totally incongruent with the palace and gardens (apparently that's the point) and to me destroy the symmetry which is the outstanding feature of the gardens. I think people go to Versailles to see it as it was and this modern art spoils it. Others might disagree but the fact that one of the works, "Dirty Corner" has been vandalised 3 times since it was installed says something.
Versailles is quite a nice city with a strong French feel and again, the architecture is almost all old and attractive. The restaurants are everywhere, as in most French cities, and good. We actually ate lunch today in a brasserie/pub and we had dinner in a very nice small family owned creperie.
Tomorrow is our last day in France and we are sad to leave France and our friend Vianney. But we go to Scotland tomorrow and we are looking forward to that.

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Posted by John McReynolds 13:28 Archived in France Comments (0)

Day 31

Dijon

sunny 24 °C

More relaxed day today. Slept in then went to the nearby bakery to pick up breakfast of French Pastries and coffee. Not the healthiest of breakfasts but delicious.
After breakfast we went to explore Dijon. What a charming city. With just over 300,000 population it is a small city but the downtown area is just like a little French village only bigger. We expected some old and some new but it is all old but very well maintained and very pretty. Notable of the old are Les Halles covered market built in the 19th century and Maison Milliere built in 1483. We were very impressed by the architecture but perhaps more by the the food shops, the cheese shops, butcher shops, mustard shops, pate shops, fruit and vegetable shops, all wonderful, and the many restaurants, all small and very typically French. Dijon really looks like a great place to live and Vianney says he feel lucky to live here.
We had a loverly lunch at "Lescargot", which obviously had snails on the menu, which we avoided. The meals we had were superb and we left satisfied and ready fo a nap, which we did not avoid.
Dinner of meats, salads and cheese in the courtyard again tonight, never get sick of that, followed by an early night.
Early start tomorrow as we head for Versailles

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Posted by John McReynolds 13:10 Archived in France Comments (0)

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