May 17, 2007
Today we said goodbye to Kilbirnie and boarded a bus at the Buchanan
Bus Station, to Edinburgh, due east of Glasgow about 40 miles.
The bus ride was picturesque and (compared to the train) relatively
inexpensive, about $25 round
trip per person. We arrived at Waverly Station in Edinburgh
at 2pm and were greeted by Tim Hawarden, who immediately
our history tour through the notable areas of downtown, as
well as an excellent view of the city and a rock formation called "Arthur's
Seat" from the Royal Observatory, where Tim worked until he retired in
2006. While there, we got to view a
collection of rare
books, originals from the works of Copernicus and Galileo, among others,
dating back to the
14th century! After our tour, Tim drove us to their
home, on Merchiston Avenue in Edinburgh, where we were greeted by our
hostess, Tim's lovely wife, Frances. We discussed our
various world travels over afternoon tea, then Tim excused himself and
went about preparing our evening "feast". At his summons,
we were seated around the dining table for an exquisite homemade
Tim's specialty. (Jeanie enjoyed eating prawns for the first time!)
great night's sleep in their guest room (Tim's office
converted into a splendid bedroom), we headed north to Forfar and the highlands.
We crossed the Firth of Forth, a river with very strong tides and currents
and an impressive bridge, and stopped for lunch in Dundee, once
famous for its jute processing
plants, and now the home of the tall ship "Discovery",
for Antarctic explorations. After coffee and a decadent slice of
cake, we continued north to Forfar, where Jeanie's grandfather Bill was
raised until traveling to a warmer
climate! The Ednie & Kinninmonth Hardware store is no longer there,
but a shoe store now occupies the building, which
stands in great condition. A local tailor, Mr. Jarvis, quizzed us on
our genealogy and gave us directions to the local cemetery, but from the
tomb stones we did not find the resting place of Jeanie's
great-grandfather Andrew Ednie.
As it was
getting late in the evening, (although it didn't look like it yet, since
the sun doesn't set until after 9pm this time of
year), we headed for the Hotel at Glen Clova, a
beautiful hiking area in the highlands, where we spent a fun evening of
dinner and conversation. Tim & Frances first visited the hotel on
honeymoon 23 years prior. It is still a popular destination for
hikers and locals, and the food, ambiance & locale were all wonderful.
It was great to be cozy
and warm and look out at the wind and rain outside as the evening skies
darkened. After we finished a lavish highlands meal, Tim drove us
home while the three of us napped.
Saturday May 19 we stayed a little closer to home. Castles of
earlier historic times
of William Wallace, Rob Roy and Robert the Bruce graced the countryside.
Movies like "Braveheart" and others passed before our eyes as we imagined
the carnage of conquests and troubled times in Scottish history. We
stopped at the Rob Roy museum in Callendar, and a nice lunch at an
out-of-the-way cafe served as a perfect midday pleasure.
returned south to the town of Falkirk, location of the Falkirk Wheel, an
engineering masterpiece which moves vessels downriver using one ingenious
wheel in the place of 12 different lock maneuvers. What used to take
3 - 5 hours and lots of manual labor now takes 5 minutes and is completely
automated. For those interested in more about the wheel, you can
drove to the home of Frances's mother, Lynn Shaw, where we were greeted by
Lynn as well as Tim's son, Sam. The fellowship was wonderful, and we
enjoyed the hospitality of this gracious lady. It became clear to us where
lovely traits come from! A delicious home-cooked meal and good
conversation was had by all, then Sam chauffeured us back to Edinburgh.
Tim took care to point out to us the crescent moon and Venus, and the
Hawaiian star "Hokule'a" in the clear night sky.
been persuaded by Frances to stay another night, we began our Sunday
morning with a visit to the Gilmerton Dykes Church of Christ. We
shared an uplifting worship experience with some fine Scottish Christians.
Brunch of smoked salmon omelettes was prepared for us upon our return by
by a brief nap.
Frances had decided it was time for a local garden tour,
so we headed off to a home in the local community whose owner occasionally
opens her property to the public for viewing, to raise funds for the local
garden club. Frances enjoys visiting this garden often throughout
Summer, and Tim collected a jar of pond scum to investigate later under
his new microscope!
to Edinburgh was now complete, and quite delightful. On Monday we
said our goodbyes to this wonderful couple,
and Tim drove us back to Waverly Station, where we boarded the bus back to
-Robert & Jeanie