A Travellerspoint blog

7 October - Scotland

Edinburgh - Gilmerton

sunny 16 °C


Had a huge morning running around trying to squeeze a bit of Edinburgh into our psyche before moving on. Did the Big Bus Tour, The Real Mary King's Close Tour, National Turst Property dating from 1520 onwards. And, most importantly, haggis hunting!

We met Brett for lunch at a pub we were recommended that served haggis. Steve was most disappointed to not receive some festering offal material complete with valves and blood and guts oozing out of a thick stomach lining. Instead he received a round moulded artisitcally presented layer of haggis topped with a layer of sauted leaks and topped with a layer of mashed potato. He was gutted, so to speak!

Brett then took us to the cafe that JK Rowlings wrote part of the first Harry Potter called The Elephant. There was a fabulously sun lit rear to the cafe with huge windows that were drenched in sun the day we arrived and there was a terrrific view over Edinbugh Castle out the windows too!

We finally decided we had to move on. We finally had to say a fond farewell to bonny Edinburgh and Brett. Thanks so much to our fine tour guide! We had a great 24 hours in Edinbugh!

Brett suggested a route for us to take that he stumbled upon with Antony, so we decided to take in Perth and take his advice. We arrived in Perth in time for dinner. Found this great restaurant called The Bothy. The waiters are all dressed in gorgous kilts - the real ones, not the skirt varieties that are sold in all the tacky tourist shops. The waiter asked where we were from and we said Perth, the other one. He laughted and said every time he goes "down south" and mentions he's from Perth, they always say, "what West Australia". He said just goes to show how many people from Perth, Scotland, actually travel!

We chucked a left and headed up a one laned winding road into the hills... Found a layby and parked...

Posted by cssc 22:34 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

6 October - Scotland

Newcastle - Edinburgh

sunny 19 °C


Arrived a bit bleary-eyed but it was nice to be back in an English speaking country. We were surprised after returning from the land of free sex and drugs, that we just breezed through customs on arrival!

Slowly cruised up the coast to Edinburgh. We were planning to overnight along the way, but now desperate to get the van up on ebay for sale, we were again having difficulty finding an internet cafe. So we drove on through. Arrived around 5:30pm and stumbled on a brand new cafe in Edinburgh. Listed van, and bombarded the poor subscribers with millions of updates from our lack of internet access yet again! (sorry folks!)

The we met up with Brett and his friend Antony over from Dublin for the weekend. Went out on a pub crawl, which was great fun. Antony was a hoot. Such a crazy travller guy. We all had some great philosophical travel discussions over many beers. It was a great night. Brett showed us all the great local haunts in the classy parts of Edinburgh. He also gave us directions to a lovely quiet park to park the van and sleep the night!

Posted by cssc 22:02 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

5 October - Netherlands

Amsterdam - England

semi-overcast 18 °C


Spent a great day at the Van Gogh Museum. Surprised to learn his career only spanned 10 years and he appears to have amassed alarge collection of pictures in that time.

Also did the De Beers Tour (not alchol, but shiny sparkly things) Steve was worried! It takes over 10 years for a diamond cutter to get trained up to cut diamonds!

Just made it to the boat for the overnight ferry to Newcastle. Onboard were 3 restaurants, 2 bars a cinema room and huge shop! The cabin was really well laid out and spacious.

Didnt know that Holland had such a huge collection of wind turbines out in the water, with heaps more still being installed. The water was dead calm and sunny. Trip was 15 hours long!

Posted by cssc 10:51 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

4 October - Netherlands

Epernay - Amsterdam

sunny 17 °C

Drove the long 500 odd kms to Amsterdam. What a hell of a place to try and park at 2.6m high bus!

Town full of hip hoppers, rappers and wheel clamps - and we also spotted a few dykes along the way.

Interesting town. If the trams dont get you, the cars or bikes will! Watch out!

Did a not very good boat trip around the canals. Not enough information given, shame as we had so little time. Did jag a nice hotel though and a safe and secure and expensive parking bay for the bus, after witnessing a car two spaces up from us with a broken rear window. The owners were quite distraught.

Walked around and took in the hugely multicultural atmosphere and eateries of Amsterdam.

Posted by cssc 10:46 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

3 October - France

Champagne - and keep it coming!

overcast 20 °C


Had an interesting torturing time trying to decide what Champagne to bring home...

Did tours of both Moet & Chandon as well as Mercier - both incidentally owned by the same Moet conglomerate, along with Mumm, Pommery, Dom Perrignon, Louis Vitton (surprised!) and several others... it seems its bigger business than we originally thought!

There are over 100kms of underground tunnels under the streets of Epernay. They are all pretty much joined together underground by the conglomerate that owns all the big labels. So we decided to bring home some of the small family (hopefully) owned stuff to try out.

Could go on for hours about what we learned about the business and politics of Champagne and the agencies that run it, but wont bore you with it unless you want to know more...

Pictured is Mercier's large 120,000 bottle sized barrel which he made for the 1889 Paris Exhibition which took over 30 years to make! And an incredible effort to transport to Paris before they had to purchase houses in the city to bulldoze to get it into the exhibition centre! It came second only to the Eiffel Tower!

I am the small object to its left!

Posted by cssc 10:38 Archived in France Comments (0)

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