Friday, November 30, 2012

I Spy Friday Christmas!

Now that Thanksgiving is over, we are finally allowed to discuss Christmas.
(I will post about our amazing Thanksgiving Supper Club soon.) 

The Brits don't have a distinctive starting signal for Christmas like we do.  
They just kind of start sliding into it around mid-November.  

Like a good 'merican, I ignored all things Christmas until after Turkey Day. 
But now, let the games begin!

We are chugging our way to Belgium and Germany
for my first experience with the Christmas Markets!
I'm so excited!!

Gluhwein and sausage and beer, oh my!
Have a lovely weekend!!

Here are some pics from the famous Liberty department store from about 6 weeks ago.

 My first London Christmas is ahead of me. 

What should be on my list of perfect London Christmas experiences?


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Edinburgh Etc.

Right.  So, it's Thursday night.  I've had two glasses of wine.
And I'm on holiday tomorrow.

This is my final Edinburgh post until our next visit.  And just in time, too.
Because tomorrow we are heading out in the morning to visit the Christmas Markets!
One night in Brussels and two nights in Cologne.  The camera batteries are charging.

While in Edinburgh we also managed to squeeze in...

It was okay.  TE enjoyed it more than I did as he actually enjoys a taste of whisky.  
I just make funny faces and shudder.  It usually smells much better than it tastes.  
He purchased a book of 101 Whiskys of the World and now has a new challenge.
(Because whisky and excel spreadsheets are made for each other.)

The Angel's Share is the 2% that evaporates through the distilling process.  

We also visited The Real Mary King's Close which is a Must See!!

A close is just a narrow street with tenement housing on either side.  As Edinburgh was built up, many of these areas were just sealed up and built over.  Our dramatic guide lead us down and through homes and streets from the 16th century.   It is a fascinating place full of stories of murder, hauntings and the plague.  

Pre-book your tickets on line.  It's history come to life.  

And lastly, we visited The Royal Yacht Britannia. It is amazing and another Must See.
Obviously, much more recent history and it's located at a shopping mall which is odd. 
But, we had a great time and it was special to see.  

For over 40 years, this was home-away-from-home for Her Majesty and the Royal Family.

Many famous moments have happened aboard this yacht.

It's five levels are divided into spaces for the Royal Naval crew and Royal family. 
It even includes a post office and surgery.

The other half is a residence for the Royal Family.

His and Her accommodations for Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip decorated to their individual tastes.

Gin & Dubonnet is the Queen's favorite drink.

Above is her personal office where she received the Official Red Box every day, even at sea. 

This is the room where Charles and Diana spent their honeymoon.

This Royal Dining Room has played host to Presidents Eisenhower, Ford, and Reagan,
as well as Churchill, Mandela, Boris Yelstin and so many other famous world leaders. 

It's been said that this boat was the one place where the Queen felt at home and free from the scrutiny of her position.  It was someplace where she could just be Mom Mum and Grandma.  

It was decommission in 1997 and the stoic monarch shed a tear as she said goodbye.

It is a special place with a distinctive place in modern history.
What do you think?


Monday, November 26, 2012

Edinburgh Hollyrood Palace

At the other end of the Royal Mile you will find my favorite spot in Edinburgh.

Holyrood Palace is the official residence of the monarchy in Scotland.
Queen Elizabeth spends time there each Summer.

It has been the home of Scottish royalty since the 15th Century.

It was the home of Mary, Queen of Scots and
you can visit her chambers in the older Northwest Tower
and see the spot where her private secretary Rizzio was murdered.

Unfortunately, no cameras allowed inside. 
However, the true highlight for me was outside
and I could take pictures to my hearts content.

The ruins are what remains of the Holyrood Abbey
founded in 1128 by King David I of Scotland.

Again, I'm just at a loss for words.
When I step into a space like this, it's like stepping into another time.
It's consuming and breathtaking.
I so wish I had the words.


 I hope the pictures can give you some feel of the place.
It's fantastic and I get chills just thinking about it.