Saturday, November 22, 2008

Edinbrrrrrr! (Fri 21/11, 7:15pm)

After another long drive, we're finally ensconced in Edinburgh.

We started off from the park just outside Liverpool, heading back to Anfield about 8:30. About a quarter of the way there, a double-decker bus emblazoned with an ad for Anfield Stadium & Museum tours pulled in front of us. Sure enough, at the bottom: "Open everyday from 10am to 5pm". So no point going back to Anfield then, we needed to get on our way.

A few taps on Betty, and we set course for Lake Windermere in the Lake District. It took us a couple of hours, and a exciting trip down a narrow country lane, but we arrived at the Aquarium of the Lakes. It's a small aquarium, based mainly around the wildlife of the Lake District, but they also had Amazonian piranhas, red-tailed boas, birdeating spiders, hissing cockroaches, and pygmy marmosets!

I liked the aquarium, but Juliette wasn't so impressed. (Didn't stop her cooing over the otters and marmosets, though!). We stopped by the two gift shops, and I managed to grab some photos of the lake, before getting some coffees and heading back to the campervan.

Since we were in the Lake District, Juliette's mum suggested we visit some the the Beatrix Potter attractions in the area. Because of time constraints, we only had a chance to visit one: The World of Beatrix Potter. And it was fantastic. They had a short film about the books, then you take a walk through scenes of the various books. Absolutely wonderful. Of course, another gift shop (including Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddleduck soft toys for Sheryl), and we stopped for lunch at the little cafe they have. Juliette had the soup (and almost ordered seconds, just so she could have more of the garlic-flavoured croutons!), while I had a potato stuffed with baked beans and Lancashire cheese!

The next stage of our trip was the most demanding yet. Our destination was the small Scottish village of Roslin, home of Rosslyn Chapel (of The Da Vinci Code fame). Betty, in her infinite wisdom, decided that the fastest way was along the A592, through the hills of the Lake District, popping out near Penrith and setting us along the M6. Now, A roads may be the next step down from motorways, but the A592 is like the Akatarawa Road. Narrow, blind corners, and local nutters blatting along as fast as their motors can carry them. Combined with the wind buffeting the van, the journey was a little hairy, to say the least. About halfway along, the van started complaining about 'low outside temperature' -- about 4 degrees Celsius. We stopped at a lookout point (ignoring the couple getting intimate in the front seat of their car) to get a few shots of Lake Ullswater, and it started sleeting. I beat a hasty retreat to the van (Juliette having wisely decided to stay put), and got a little worried when I turned the engine on, and got an 'engine malfunction' warning. Fortunately, it disappeared after a few minutes driving, so I think it was just a little cold.

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It took quite a while -- about three hours -- but we eventually pulled into the carpark at Rosslyn Chapel about 4:30. They shut at 5pm, so we quickly shot inside. Unfortunately, you can't take photos or videos of the inside of the chapel, and the outside was more or less masked by scaffolding. But we found it to be a very beautiful, peaceful place. We lit a couple of votive candles, and hastily left before we got locked in the carpark!

Finally, we headed for the Edinburgh Caravan Club Site, just outside Edinburgh. After battling the incomprehensible intersections, we eventually made it to the campsite, only to find that they'd lost power to half the park, so everybody was crammed into the other half! A bit chaotic, but we're settled into our berth now. We've had a bit of dinner, and can update the blog via intermittant wi-fi access, but I'm knackered and ready for bed.

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