July 31st and Aug 2nd through 3rd, 2002
July 31st-August 3rd in Scotland: Home of the Loch Ness Monster!!!!
My mom, sister, and I decided to take the train (4 1/2 hr trip) to Scotland so that we could see the countryside. Dave had to work that day, so he took a flight to meet us. We got up early on Wednesday and made it to our train just in time (about 5 mins to departure)! Characteristic of England and Scotland it was rainy and foggy... We didn't suffer any though, because our internet special deal included first class seats for the train to Edinburgh, Scotland (pronounced like Eddinburra). This means we got free coffee and tea, and occasionally they came by with some cookies too! Not too shabby!!!
The landscape along the way was beautiful. The train to Edinburgh
goes north up the east side of Britain. Most of the northern country
of England was rolling hills and then as we moved into Scotland the
tracks followed along the coastline of the North Sea. Every now and
then we got glimpses of the coast which was sandy and grey in the
overcast weather. Passing through the city of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne,
we reached the eastern point of Hadrian's wall. Hadrian's wall runs
a total of 73 miles straight across from the west coast to the east
coast (but we couldn't see any of it from the train). It was built
by the order of Emporer Hadrian in AD122 "to separate the Romans from
the Barbarians", but more specifically to mark the northern boundary
of his empire. "Every Roman mile there was a milecastle guarded by
at least eight men. Between milecastles were two equidistant turrets
where sentries kept watch. Thus a close check could be made on the
movement of goods, people and animals crossing the frontier. To the
north of the Wall was a deep defensive ditch and to the south another
ditch, the Vallum, flanked by mounds of earth. The Vallum, with
crossing places at forts, was the Roman equivalent of the barbed-wire
fence controlling civilian movement into modern military sites."
By the early 400's Britain became cut off from Rome and over time
pieces of the wall were dismantled and used for building farm houses,
field walls, and churches. This wall is just south from today's
border between Scotland and England. (picture taken from internet website)
Here is the website for more information about Hadrian's Wall, www.hadrians-wall.org
We pulled into Edinburgh in the afternoon, dropped off our bags at a
B&B, and went in search of food. At the suggestion of the B&B owner,
we ate at this little hole in the wall fish and chips place. It was
actually really good! Then, armed with our umbrellas and rain jackets,
we setoff sightseeing. Edinburgh's main drag is called "The Royal Mile"
and runs the length of the Old Town. Edinburgh Castle (dating back
to the 12th century) lies at the top of the one end of the street and
the Palace of Holyroodhouse at the other. We didn't get to go into
the castle since it was late in the afternoon and preparations were
being made on the grounds for the beginning of "The Military Tattoo
Festival", but it was magnificent from the outside! Today the castle
houses the Scottish Crown Jewels and the Stone of Scone (coronation
stone for Scots kings). The Palace of Holyroodhouse, dating from the
16th and 17th centuries was once the home of Mary, Queen of Scots.
Upon arriving back in Edinburgh, we had to find a place to stay for the night. This proved to be very difficult as this was the first day of the big festival. With the help of the tourist office, we finally found a place way outside of town on the coastline. So we hop on a city bus and head to the B&B. As luck would have it, the bus driver doesn't know exactly where we should get off and we end up getting off on the wrong stop... time for a walk again (turns out there was a bus stop directly in front of the place)!
Anyway, the next morning it's raining again, but we decide to take a little walk along the waterfront before heading back. It's hard to imagine that the beach there would ever be fun since the weather wasn't that great! Lunch in Edinburgh and I finally got to try the Haggis! In the old days this dish used to be all the leftover pieces of the lamb (kinda like hotdog meat), oatmeal, onions, pepper, and salt put into a the large stomach bag from a sheep and cooked basically like sausage. Today the dish is a little more refined. It doesn't come in the stomach bag, but instead with a side of vegetables and potatoes. It basically consists of the same things... lamb, oatmeal, wheat flour, beef, onions, salt, and spices. It was very tasty and I would definitely have it again (with a pint of beer it hit the spot)! Alas, we had to return to London, so we caught the 2:00 train and headed back home!
While we were in Scotland, we learned all about the history of the
Cunninghams! It seems that the Cunningham clan was located in the
south western part of the scotlands. Their moto is "Over Fork Over"
and their crest is a unicorn. (Dave thinks he should be called Lord
Cunningham now). And over here, everybody pronounces our name more
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