Friday, April 27, 2018

Edinburgh Castle

Having never been to Scotland,  Grayden and I decided to take a couple of day trips from the Lake District to visit a part of the northern third of Great Britain.  Edinburgh Castle was our first day trip on the agenda.  We drove up the M6 excited to see our first glimpse of Scotland!

The early morning fog was giving way to glorious sunshine.

It wasn't too long before we see the sign we've been waiting for!

Scotland is that beautiful green and lovely land like England.  We pass many evergreen forests that appear to be planted for logging purposes.

We get on a smaller A road on our way to Edinburgh.  Passing many sheep farms and lovely pastoral views.

As we reach the outskirts of Edinburgh, we see the iconic Hackney Carriage.  

We also see the Edinburgh Castle up on the Castle Rock!  Now we must find the parking deck and hike up the hill to visit.

Edinburgh is a bustling city with lovely architecture around every bend.  You can view Edinburgh Castle from almost every street.  

Make sure you have comfortable shoes on, because we are walking up....

And up...

And up....Stopping to take photos, we can take a breath!

A castle built on this rock was a very good idea!  Protection on all sides certainly would hopefully keep you safe from harm.   Can you imagine that a royal castle has been here since the 12th century to 1633?  Since the 17th century it has been used as military barracks.  Scotland's history is all tied to the castle--The Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century to the Jacobite rising in 1745.  It is believed that Edinburgh Castle is the most attacked site in all of Great Britain.  Because of it's storied history, it is the most visited site in all of Scotland.  We can attest to that fact as it was quite popular on the day of our visit.

I couldn't help but take a photo of one of the many gentlemen proudly wearing the clan tartan.

Portcullis Gate

We enjoyed an easy entry as we bought the Three Day Scotland Explorer Pass before leaving the US. 

The views from the top are amazing!

Scottish National War Memorial

Like most castles, Edinburgh Castle is a city within itself. 

The Royal Palace clock tower in Crown Square, and our stomachs, remind us our breakfast is long gone.  There are several places to have lunch, so I hope you will join us for our first taste of Scotland.

Yes, I think we'll enjoy this spot!

I ordered the Rosemary Chicken Ciabatta sandwich.  It was delicious!

Grayden had the Eggs Benedict.  He said it was great!

Grayden and I normally split a lunch, but today we were both quite hungry.  After lunch we'll explore the castle more extensively.

I can't begin to recount all that has happened at Edinburgh Castle.  We toured the Royal Apartments.

The Great Hall

An interesting display of Royal Keys to Edinburgh Castle!

While touring we also were able to view the Scottish Crown Jewels.  Of course, no photography is allowed.   

Edinburgh Castle will always have a special place in our memory. 

Many shops in the area carry all things Scottish!

Riding back "home" was lovely.  

Our first time in Scotland was exciting and we'll return soon. ♥

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Daffodils and Spring Flowers

Did you know that daffodils originally came from the countries around the Mediterranean?  These little jewels of spring were first mentioned two or three hundred years before Christ. Even though they were grown by the Greeks and Romans they were basically forgotten until the 1629 when a group of Englishmen took the flower out of the weed category and put them in the garden!  Thanks to them the daffodil is now our hope of Spring.  Do you plant these little jewels in your garden?  I hope you do as they are easy and are not bothered by most garden pests.  Even voles don't like them!  As well as squirrels that seem to love to dig up everything else, leave them alone.  I started growing my daffodils when our children were young in elementary school.  For annual fund raising, they always sold these little bulbs to raise money for their school.  These little bulbs have multiplied and given us much pleasure.  

As I began to garden more, I planted other varieties of daffodils.

No matter the variety of daffodil, they always say Spring to me! 

The garden is waking up now, even with the crazy twists and turns of the fickle Spring.  

Veronica Speedwell is trailing across the garden bed.

Bleeding Heart is beginning to bloom it's tiny hearts.

Grape hyacinths (Muscari) are popping up.

Hosta are growing by the inch on warm days.

The pansies are still happy that we have cooler temperatures.

My Grandmother's lilacs are blooming!  This makes me so happy to see them blooming in my garden.  Do you have any plants that belonged to your family or special friend?  I have many and always remember them when I'm in my garden.

"Just living is not enough... one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower." 
Hans Christian Andersen

Yes, Spring is finally here in Virginia in our little corner that we call home.  I hope she visits you soon, my friends! ♥