Saturday, Aug 25, 2018
We woke up early as always and did our exercises, had a cup of tea before Sriman was up and about. Soon Kiran was up as well and it seemed like a working day rather than a Saturday!! The busiest amongst us was of course the youngest member of the family, Sachin, who had too many activities lined up – football, trampolining and some maths.
We the tourists were going out on a day long tour with Sriman. Kiran couldn’t join us as she had to hold fort with the kids and their activities. Sriman had told us that it will be a 12 hour day starting at 8.30 in the morning. Yeah, doesn’t it look like we are on a schedule ? :):). We ate some great tasting idli and sambar that Kiran had made for breakfast and Sriman started packing our picnic lunch. He packed a good picnic lunch as we were to discover later – especially the snacks and fruits.
I think I managed to get ready in time but we started off ten minutes later than planned… As soon as we sat down in the car, we met Sriman the seasoned guide. Sriman actually had a sequence of places to see with their zip codes and approximate timings, all neatly written on a sheet of paper, like a tour sheet. Krishnan and I were truly impressed and very touched that he would do all this. As Sriman started to drive, and beautiful Edinburgh was revealed I told him that we didn’t have to see any places specifically… every place was so beautiful that just driving around seemed like a tour. Here is a collage of pictures that Krishnan took as we started the tour.
Our first stop of the day was at Forth Bridge, an iconic cantilever railway bridge across the Firth of Forth. The bridge has been in use since 1890 and we went over it a couple of days later when we took the train to Inverness. Apparently painting this bridge was a task because by the time they completed painting it fully, they had to start again as the sea water kept peeling off the paint. Finally a new kind of paint was used in 2011, that lasts for 25 years so the painters were relieved.
And right at the Forth bridge we discovered another Sriman – the professional photographer! Thanks to Kiran gifting him an amazing phone, he clicked awesome pictures and selfies as you will see through this post.
Our next stop was at the Forth and Clyde Canal system. This canal was opened in 1790, crossing central Scotland and it provided a route for the seagoing vessels of the day between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde. It was a system of gates that opened and closed to increase or decrease the water levels depending on the depth required for the ships. Its no longer in use, but its setup as a museum of sorts.
Our third stop was at the National Wallace Monument. Sir William Wallace is a national hero who led the first Scottish war of independence. Read about him here – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Wallace. This monument is on top of a hill and I was a little apprehensive about my knees holding up. It was an easy climb but while getting down my knees did squeak a little but they have improved significantly as I was to realise at the end of the day.
As we reached the monument two costumed actors enacted the scenes from Sir William Wallace’s life which we watched for some time before climbing down.
Our fourth stop was at the Stirling Castle. We got a parking slightly away from the castle, and in the process managed to find beautiful streets and pretty flower patches as we looked for parking.
As we left the Stirling Castle we started to feel hungry and started munching on oranges and some snacks … those easy peel oranges were so good that even Krishnan who doesn’t like oranges ate them. We went to the Doune Castle after this … but that will be in part 2.