Scotland for the day
Trip Start Jun 20, 2012
62Trip End Aug 05, 2012
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The castle and gothic-styled city buildings were impressive; I watched a Scotsman announce noon by playing his bagpipes in front of a beautiful structure called the 'Scott's monument'; I went inside a haunted hotel which caters exclusively for druids, witches, magicians and as far as I could tell only serious costumed folk; I took a stroll through the botanical gardens where I was greeted by squirrels playing in the trees and along the grass, watched the perfectly elegant looking white pigeons and discovered more amazing architecture in the ancient garden-houses dotted throughout.
I poked my head into a workshop-come-museum where you could watch the making of kilts and tartan-wear; went around the corner to a whisky brewery and then hurried off to find the bus which would take me to the Edinburgh Zoo
A tourist-help office led me to The Mound as Edinburgh's hub street for buses, but upon reaching it I found that the road along Mound street is being resurfaced. I chatted with one of the workman; he with his thick scottish accent and me trying desperately to keep up; and was told to head instead for Rose street and grab the 26bus straight to the zoo. He also explained that because of Edinburgh's always-cold weather and constant rain they had to basically cook the roads as they worked to ensure they sealed, dried and hardened. It was both interesting and loud to watch this happen.
The pandas were the final push in getting me to the zoo; all pandas are owned by the chinese government and are released on loan to international zoos, making them so rare. The pandas were very impressive and the zoo itself was beautiful with open parks and a large garden with farm-esque paddocks with many creatures. The walking safari tour was good and so were the monkey houses, butterfly enclosures (differently temperature-d) and the otters' river. Seeing pygmy hippos; black panthers; sea eagles; the Arctictis Binturong, whose musk smells strongly of freshly buttered popcorn; silver cloud rats; an aardwolf; Indian one-horned rhinos; Kudu; mongooses; maned wolves; black and white tapirs and more giant anteaters was great. The zoo is built on quite a steep hill slash small mountain so walking it helped keep me warm despite the grey clouds, biting wind and drizzly sky.
I took a walk down Princes' street for a little window-shopping and then headed back to the airport on a bus which took me past Arthur's Seat, but not up it.
Scotland, in all, was a success and I'm excited to one day head back; hopefully with a little more time up my sleeve and you by my side.