September 24, 2023

Edinburgh (1 of 2)

The beautiful city of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Edinburgh (1 of 2)

We had breakfast in the B&B in Windermere. The English know how to do breakfast! And we got another hot chocolate, yum.

I literally licked the plate clean haha.

We got a taxi over to Oxenhulme and waited a bit for our train to Edinburgh to arrive.

Charming old train station. We got 1st class seats this time, it was worth it. So much quieter, fewer people, and they served us a hot lunch.

Mitzi took some pictures of the countryside as we sped by.

The bathroom in the 1st class carriage is quite large. It has a motorized rounded door and button controls to shut, lock, and open it. Pretty cool!

Arriving in Edinburgh we hired a cab to take us the half mile to our rental. The apartment is in a building from the 1700's. A narrow 'close' to get back to the door, then steep and narrow stone steps to go up two levels.

We walked around Edinburgh a bit. Our apartment is right next to the huge cathedral.

We stopped at a convenience store. This chicken curry sandwich looked interesting. I took a bite and decided not to eat any more. It was all mayonaise inside, too much :)

We stopped in a bakery and enjoyed some macaroons.

In the evengin we ventured out again. The light was incredible. The Leica M11 is a master at capturing light. The photos with the iPhone are good but just can't raise to the same level as the Leicas.

We went to a Mexican restaurant for dinner. It was great! Who knew we'd find excellent Mexican food in England and Scotland?

We are glad to be in Edinburgh. It's a beautiful place, what we've seen so far. We are looking forward to experiencing it in more detail over the next 5 days.

Day 2

We didn't have much of a plan today. We thought we'd visit the Farmers Market that is open only on Saturdays then wander around and figure out what to do.

I started the day by taking this picture out our 2nd floor window. We overlook LawnMarket street.

Edinburgh Castle wall from below. It seems crazy to build this huge structure so close to the edge. Any erosion and it seems doomed. It was built in the 11th century so I guess they knew what they were doing, since it's still here.

One of the first booths in the Farmer's Market had this huge roasted pig. I got their pulled pork sandwich. Buc-ee's pulled pork is better, but this was much more visually interesting!

Mitzi found a bakery booth and got a delicious cherry tart.

Then we spotted this sign, "Probably The best Mutton Pies in the World!" I had to try it. Mutton is a tough meat, I expected chunks of chewable and very tough mutton.

HOWEVER, it was the best mutton pie I've ever had (even though it's the only)! Seriously it was amazing. So tender and flavorful and juicy. I had no idea mutton could be so good. Mitzi won't let lamb of any age pass her lips so I didn't share and ate the entire thing :)

I was very happy, to say the least. Not happy about not sharing with Mitzi, I was happy it was so delicious :)

After the Farmer's Market we walked through this old grave site next to an old church.

I've been practicing shooting the M11 from the hip. This requires setting the focus to a specific distance, then judging by eye that the distance is correct from the camera to the subject and then pressing the shutter button at the right time and distance. If I misjudge the distance by even a few inches it will be out of focus.

Surprisingly most of the pictures were in focus on the subject so I did well. It's fun, and I find it interesting to see what comes out of it. Humans are interesting.

Mitzi is an expert with the Leica Q2. It's been fun to see her enjoy photography. She's very good at composition and getting the focus just right.

She envisioned this picture before she took it. She wanted the statue and the line of buildings all in the same view.

It wasn't easy because the base of the statue was in the way. And there was a road a few feet away so she couldn't move further away from the statue. She analyzed it carefully and figured out how to make it work, and it's a wonderful photo!

We enjoyed part of the National Galleries of Scotland. There were some paintings I recognized, like the self portrait of Rembrant. It was quite an experience to see the original art work so huge on the wall when before I had just seen a small photo of it.

I found that the longer I stood in front of a painting the more detail I would notice. Fun!

Through my study of landscape photography I've learned a lot about light and depth. These landscape paintings show that these artists from hundreds of years ago were experts at light and depth.

Notice how the foregrounds are detailed and have a lot of color. They use light and dark to draw the eye through the picture. And for things further away, the colors are muted and there are almost no details. Those are some of the elements that make depth appear on a 2d surface.

Okay this one is super interesting. This was painted around 1500 by Gerard Davis in the Netherlands. It's the Three Legends of St. Nicholas. Yes the same St. Nick that is now Santa Claus.

In the first panel Santa Claus is standing naked in a basin, thanking God for his birth.

In the second panel Santa Claus is saving three impoverished girls from prostitution by giving money to their dowries.

In the third panel Santa Claus brings back to life three boys who had been murdered and salted down as meat during a famine.

I say 'Santa Claus' for dramatic effect and don't mean it literally of course.

This is about as far away as can be from the Santa Claus of today. Ever hear of Jolly Old St. Nick restoring dead humans to life? Freeing girls from prostitution? Praising God as an infant?

Humans weave stories. Characters from the past are used and turned into what the story teller wants them to be. Whoever the real person was, in this case the Archbishop of Asia Minor in the 4th century, is not the person we know today. This seems universally applicable.

Edinburgh is so unique and beautiful.

We spot a T.K. Maxx! We bought a couple pillows because the pillows at this rental are not very friendly to our head and necks.

The wool products here are works of art, craft, and beauty.

She's so cute and fashionable!

We visited the first floor of the National Museum of Scotland. It's a wonderful museum with artifacts from all over the world and many time periods.

Benson loves astronauts so this picture of astronaut Grammy is for him.

I love mechanical things so this picture of a steam engine from the 1700's is for me.

We walked into the University of Edinburgh campus.

We stood across the quad from each other and took a picture of the other person taking a picture of the other person taking a picture of the other person taking a picture of the other person taking a ... (we are in an endless loop, programmer humor haha).

I didn't get the pose just right, but close!

We spotted Mother India Cafe and thought we'd give it a try for dinner. This is the Indian food we've been looking for! So good!

Heading back to our apartment in the Royal Mile on Lawnmarket street.

Here's our BeReal picture of the day for Mitzi's girls. I asked Mitzi if her daughters had commented on my tongue sticking out. She said no. So I said I was going to stick it out as prominently as possible to see if they would comment. Nope, still no comment haha.

I don't know why but it seems like sticking tongues out in BeReal pictures is the thing to do on that platform. So here we are trying to fit in, and given that nobody notices, I guess we do!

Day 3

We left our apartment and I immediately started doing some street photography with the Leica Q3. It's a different experience than with the M11. The lens on the Q3 is wider and it presents a different perspective. It came out really nicely, I like it.

We first went to The Haggis Box to try out the traditional scottish haggis. I didn't really know what it was other than some kind of sausage and masked potatoes.

After eating most of it, and Mitzi cautiously had some too, I looked it up. Here's what I found out:


I didn't want to tell Mitzi what she had just eaten. But she insisted. And we had a good laugh, kind of.

We headed over to The Nether Bow Port for lunch.

Eggs Benny! Had to send that one over to Sydney :)

It was a very nice lunch. The salmon was smoked and so flavorful. I didn't get a picture of Mitzi's salad. Grilled chicken.

Saw this box while waiting to use the 'toilet'. That's what they call them here, not restrooms. I thought it was interesting "Tested for Quality", I'd be curious how you test eggs for quality.

After lunch we visited some shops with wool and cashmere.

At 3:30p we had a ticket to visit the Edinburgh Castle. Many humans have experienced this place in a variety of ways over the last 1,000 years.