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Liz 

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Scotland Trip 2007

My sister, Anita, and I visited Scotland and Rena in February of 2007. Our first day in Glasgow, we walked around Kibble Palace Botanic Gardens. You can get more information about it by clicking on the link below.

The Kibble Palace glasshouse, situated within the Botanic Gardens, is one of the most prestigious iron and glass structures remaining from the Victorian era.

It was a beautiful place filled with fantastic flowers and plants. You can see some of them below. Then you can see some of the typical architecture around the city and the front gates of the University of Glasgow.

Our first weekend was spent in London, England. You can see China Town in the pictures below, all decorated for the Chinese New Year. Then Trafalgar Square and we spent time in Covent Gardens where there are constant street entertainers entertaining you and lots of great shopping. Below you can see some of the entertainers...some are like sculptures that will move and do things to get some money in their hats. Anita is contributing. We had a great time in this area.

We saw all the great sights, but many were later in the evening with not enough light to get good pictures. We saw Big Ben, The London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, St. Paul's Church and much more on our first day. Below you can see some interesting sculptures on a building that we saw on our way to visit Buckingham Palace. Those sculptures caught our attention because they were so horrible. I don't know what they are supposed to mean. But then the next pictures were taken outside Buckingham Palace. You couldn't go inside and the Queen never came out, but it was a bit cool. There was security on horseback riding around all the time. After that, we saw a parade on the streets of racists chanting about terrorists. But I think they were becoming terrorists themselves, wanting to eliminate certain kinds of people. That parade was totally surrounded by police in lime green coats and ahead of the parade was at least 7 vans full of police and the same thing followed behind them, ready to stop any confrontations these people might start.

Next, we went to see the Tower of London, the Tower Bridge and London Bridge. In the pictures below you can see some of the engravings in a sculpture on the ground that show some of the history of London. I took a few close up pictures of these engravings. It's amazing to see that in 1136 London was destroyed by fire and in 1209 the first stone London Bridge was built. In 1600 the population of London was 220,000 and Trafalgar Square was built in 1840 and the subway was built in 1890! Wow! Not much going on in Canada in those days! There's a picture of the famous Double Decker buses that go all around London. We rode on those buses several times and always went up to the top deck to sit in the front seats. Boy, that was fun! The Tower of London was started in 1066 and one of the original stone walls of the old Roman town of Londinium Augusta still stands beside it. I took a picture of this amazing stone wall and then Anita and Rena went up examine it.  There's more pictures of the complex and also some showing the amazing difference between the old and very new buildings that can be seen in London. The lower pictures are of the amazing Tower Bridge. It was very impressive whereas the London Bridge was very ordinary. I suppose it was rebuilt...is that why there's the song, 'London Bridge is falling down...'? We also went shopping in a place called Spittlefield.  Then we went to Brick Road where the people stand outside their restaurants and work hard at convincing you to eat at their place. We took an Indian restaurant that offered us 25% off and a whole bottle of wine. It was a great dinner. We also got to Camden Town for some shopping before we left.

 

It was so nice to see all the flowers blooming everywhere! Crocus were just popping up in lawns everywhere and daffodils were doing the same thing! Another fun shot in London was this very strangely named pub!

 

Back in Glasgow, the oldest church in Scotland is the Glasgow Cathedral. Built in 1197, the building has been blackened by the pollution of the nearby industrial plants in the early 1900's. However, it still maintains its gothic charm and elegance.

Behind it is the Glasgow Cathedral Cemetery called the Necropolis that has Gothic 18th century mausoleums and grave monuments. The Necropolis remains one of the most significant cemeteries in Europe, exceptional in its contribution to the townscape, its symbolic relationship to Glasgow Cathedral and to the medieval heart of the City.  It is a major attraction to visitors from the UK and oversees. 

On to Edinburgh and the castle which was built on an extinct volcano and offering stunning views! The second picture shows King Arthur's Seat - Its name stems from a little-known legend that King Arthur watched his army's defeat of the Picts from there. To get to the castle, you climb the Royal Mile - Probably Edinburgh's oldest street, The Royal Mile connects Edinburgh Castle with the Palace of Holyrood House. You can see how narrow it is! Along this street you could see bagpipers and a character dressed up as William Wallace. Also there's Mary King's Close - Closed after the plague of 1645, this building is sometimes open during the Festival, but there are guided tours into the underground to show how people had to live.  We had fun walking around the castle and learning it's history. Within the castle boundary is St Margaret's Chapel - Edinburgh's oldest building which dates from the 1100s. It's a very small chapel but weddings are still performed there today. We caught a bride during her ceremony. There is also a graveyard within the castle for dogs of soldiers!

Now we are heading to the highlands and towards the western coast of Scotland. We stopped along the way to capture some truly beautiful sights along Loch Lomond. You'll see some unusual signs too. Here's one below. We stopped at a famous resting place called 'Rest and Be Thankful' in the Argyll Forest Park. In one picture you can see a farm down in the valley and the road we took to get to this spot.

Along the way we saw the Inveraray Castle and far above it in the hills was a look out tower, probably used to send signals to other castles or armies.

Of course Scotland is filled with sheep and Highland Cows...there was one really pretty cow who enjoyed watching us as much as we did watching him!

We drove by Loch Awe and talked with some fishermen who were not having much luck that day. But we got some pictures of a nice spot of trees and the famous castle ruins across the loch, along with some more castle like buildings.

We turned to another route from here, and came across a beautiful water falls, an unknown castle ruins and some alpacas in a farmers field. The roads in this area are only one lane and very narrow! When a car comes from the opposite direction, you have to stop and one of these cars has to back up to a small section where the road has been made a bit wider just for letting other vehicles pass you. Believe me, there's no room to spare!

Then we came upon Kilmartin Valley, an area rich in megalithic remnants. There were fantastic standing stones and cairns. First we stopped to look at an old church and graveyard near Lochgilphead. After taking pictures, we decided we would stop in at the one and only coffee shop/restaurant/pub, but after parking and walking over to it, we found they don't even open until after 5 pm! I guess everyone around there was either in school or out in the fields tending to their farms. Some of those graves were really old, the oldest was so worn you couldn't make out any engraving, but a sign told us it was back to the year 1300.

Out in the farmers fields we found cairns and standing stones.

Then we took a closer look at the cairns which were called stone circles. The stone circle called Temple Wood was constructed 4000 years ago. It is described as a stone circle and has a burial cist in the center. The cist is surrounded by a stone circle and there is a second circle further out. The larger circle is about 40 feet in diameter, while the smaller is about 10 feet. There were several stone circles at this location.

There were also stones with carvings on them And that cute little town had some more strange signs and unusual places to put a mailbox...

Now we've taken a ferry across to the Islands of the Hebrides, in particular, the Isle Of Mull. There are 1,000 foot sea cliffs, powder white sand beaches and a huge mountain range with the highest mountain, Ben More, rising 3,000 feet from a very blue and crystal clear sea. The coastline alone covers 300 miles. These mountains are dotted with sheep, cows and deer, which we saw plenty of. Of course our whole drive was done with our Canadian flag proudly flying! Here's Christian taking a picture of it and I must admit it was his idea to fly our flag.

We drove all around that island stopping to see various places. Then we headed to the northern town of Tobermory. It was a very pretty seaside town as you can see! It was very small and when we asked at our B&B where to find a restaurant for dinner, they told us to go down to the Main Street by the seaside and we would find something there. Well, the only place open was a pub, so we went in and had some good pub burgers for dinner. The following morning we took pictures of the town before we left to catch the ferry back to Oban on the mainland and then headed back to Glasgow so we could catch our flight home. Along the way to the ferry, we didn't think we'd see a sign for Calgary!

Here's some more interesting signs we saw while there....

The first sign was on the boat, but we didn't know what naked lights might be....the second sign is posted in many areas around Glasgow and is a speed limit sign! The last one was in a small rest stop along the way where they boasted the cleanest Loo around!

I hope you enjoyed looking through the pictures of my trip. Let me know if you have any questions. You'll find links to my email address or use liz at bivens.ca.