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Posts Tagged ‘George Mackenzie’s Mausoleum’


Posted by Heliocentrism on January 10, 2018

Friday, September 1st – 3rd, 2017

“This is what I thought the whole of England would look like.” – Mark

Paris vs The Whole of Britain

When Mark got to Paris, it dazzled him. All the museums and palaces where shiny and fancy. In fact, most of the buildings in Paris were sparkly. It set the standard of opulence high in Mark’s mind. He expected every city in Europe to go all out with gold plated this and diamond encrusted that.

London failed him spectacularly. In London everything is functional, user friendly, and efficient. Very few things are unnecessarily lavish. Personally, I prefer that, but not Mark.

“I want to be wowed,” he whined. “There is no wow in London. It’s just nice. When can we go back to Paris?”

He’s a ‘Racine”. The French are just harder to please.

Our first day walking up the Royal Mile and down Princes street I heard him say, “This looks like Hogwarts!” He let out a little squeal and took photos for a good 20 minutes. After Edinburgh, I never heard Mark speak of Paris again.

Edinburgh is not fancy. But, it has a fairy-tale like feel to it. It looks like it could be inhabited by ghosts yet, be the setting for A Christmas Carol. (Come to think of it, A Christmas Carol was a story about 3 ghosts…) It’s hauntingly beautiful and the bag-pipers everywhere really set the mood of the city.

What do you think of Scotland?

The interesting part of all this, is that Mark didn’t even want to go to Scotland in the first place. I had to beg, bribe, and threaten to get him there. He wanted to go to Ireland or back to France. “I know nothing about Scotland,” he complained. “I’ve heard of Irish cities and towns. Irish dancing, Irish pubs. Irish coffee. French stuff sounds nice too. But can you name one thing you know about Scotland!”

“Well,” I told him. “My grandmother is from Scotland…”

I wanted to see the land of my ancestors. I have ancestors from all over the world. But, being the descendant of slaves and orphans, it’s hard to tell where most of them came from. But I do know for sure that my mother’s mother came from Scotland. According to my mom, the family came from a town just south of Edinburgh. So, I wanted to do a tour of Scotland.

The Scottish tour would not begin here, but after we returned from Iceland. We would rent a car and see as much of Scotland we could fit in 2 weeks. We would do it properly. And, at the end Mark fell in love with Scotland. Now, I don’t think he can even pronounce the name “Ireland”.

Don’t disturb him, he’s learning about Scotland.

The United Kingdom

How to get there:

You can enter this country by land via an underwater tunnel, air, or sea.

Check with your local UK embassy for visa information.


  • Use 112 or 999 for the police, fire department, or to get an ambulance






  • If you’re going to do a lot of travel by train or bus, looking for a Rail card or bus pass before you buy your first ticket.
    • Railway Cards
    • Oyster Card
    • Even getting a day pass on a bus could be cheaper than getting 3 single passes, or a return ticket and a single pass.
  • If you’re going to travel around the United Kingdom, you might want to get membership at one of the following:
    •  English Heritage – £54 / year for 1 person
    • National Trust England – £64.80 / year for 1 person
    • Scottish Heritage –  £49 / year for 1 person
      • All of these are a little cheaper when getting a group or family membership.
      • Many come with discounts for other things, like:
        • The Scottish Heritage gives you 20% off at all of their gift shops and cafes.
        • English Heritage gives you free parking at many of their sights.
      • As a bonus, it helps you when planning what to do and see in the country.
  • If you are going to stay in hostels, join Hosteling International, or any of its subsidiaries.
    • YHA – England & Wales
    • SYHA – Scotland
      • Membership at any of these will get you the discounted rate at any of the other hosteling organizations.
      • These hostels tend to be better than most hostels.

Edinburgh Castle

Basic Information



  • £17.00
    • Free with Historic Scotland membership
  • Adult £3.50
    • 20% discount for Historic Scotland Members


  • 9:30 – 17:00



Things to look out for:


Posted in Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom, The | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

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