Edinburgh – Sights and Secrets - Gerald Biebersdorf - ebook
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edinburgh – the beauty in the north. Edinburgh. Nestled in an idyllic natural landscape between the shores of the Firth of Forth and the volcanic hills that are the gateway to the Scottish Highlands. A small capital, on the fringe of Europe – but so much more, and with so much more to discover. Climb King Arthur’s Seat for a view of the rugged scenery that surrounds the city. Discover buildings, streets and areas with histories richer and deeper than Edinburgh’s emblematic castle. When the weather turns, take shelter in breathtaking museums and galleries like the National Museum of Scotland or the little Writers’ Museum – many of them absolutely free. Partake of a pub experience like no other, or join a traditional Ceilidh dance evening. Around every corner, the charm of small shops, cafes and restaurants invite you to abide and wander. No doubt you’ll want to join in a malt whisky tasting – or perhaps you’ll even pluck up the courage to try Scotland’s famed and infamous national dish, Haggis? But for all this delightful city’s charms, don’t miss your chance to venture out and discover the treasures that wait just outside it. Enjoy the gentle sea breeze in Portobello – the Brighton of the North. Lose yourself in the mystic atmosphere of Rosslyn Chapel, immortalized in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. Enjoy discovering!

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edinburgh – the beauty in the north

Edinburgh. Nestled in an idyllic natural landscape between the shores of the Firth of Forth and the volcanic hills that are the gateway to the Scottish Highlands. A small capital, on the fringe of Europe – but so much more, and with so much more to discover.

Climb King Arthur’s Seat for a view of the rugged scenery that surrounds the city. Discover buildings, streets and areas with histories richer and deeper than Edinburgh’s emblematic castle. When the weather turns, take shelter in breathtaking museums and galleries like the National Museum of Scotland or the little Writers’ Museum – many of them absolutely free.

Partake of a pub experience like no other, or join a traditional Ceilidh dance evening. Around every corner, the charm of small shops, cafes and restaurants invite you to abide and wander. No doubt you’ll want to join in a malt whisky tasting – or perhaps you’ll even pluck up the courage to try Scotland’s famed and infamous national dish, Haggis?

But for all this delightful city’s charms, don’t miss your chance to venture out and discover the treasures that wait just outside it. Enjoy the gentle sea breeze in Portobello – the Brighton of the North. Lose yourself in the mystic atmosphere of Rosslyn Chapel, immortalized in Dan Brown’sThe Da Vinci Code.

Enjoy discovering!

the scottish parliament – green from the roof to the loo

text sabrina wendling, photo werner gritzbach

It’s a sparkling gem amid rolling wildflower meadows, ponds, and woods of wild cherry and lime trees. Viewed from above, the Scottish Parliament building even looks like the leaves of a tree. That’s by design – nature is the recurring theme in its architecture, and the building itself merges with the landscape. Or, as the architect Enric Miralles puts it, the parliament “grows out of the land.”

Even inside the building, you will find the shape of leaves almost everywhere. In the garden lobby, you stroll under a forest canopy of leaves – in glass and steel – adorning the roof.

But there’s also real nature inside the parliament: gutters at the windows bring rainwater down to the lavatories – where it is used to flush the toilets. A building green from the roof to the loo.

Even in the debating chamber, where the 129 representatives discuss issues such as agriculture, environment and health, you will feel close to nature. The representatives have a spectacular view to the hills, which the visitors can also enjoy. But do plan to visit early – the Scottish Parliament is a hot spot for both tourists and locals. In fact, often there are more visitors than representatives in the chamber.

Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh EH99 1SP.

Tickets: Tickets for First Minister’s Question Time can only be booked by telephone on 0131 348 5200 or freephone 0800 092 7600. Textphone users can use 0800 092 7100. Tickets for other debates can be booked online:www.scottish.parliament.uk

Guided tours are free. There are also theme tours on art, history and literature.

edinburgh castle – symbol of the city

text and photo michaela schneider

Steeped in history, Edinburgh Castle dominates the Old Town skyline, brooding atop its great volcanic rock. It is the very symbol of the capital and the turbulent history of Scotland itself: kings were born here, prisoners imprisoned, guests assassinated and treasures hidden. Visitors passing through its granite gates can stand alongside the heavy guns here to enjoy panoramic views of the city. Entering the castle, visitors are greeted by the twin statues of freedom fighters William Wallace and King Robert the Bruce.

The first castle was built here in the Middle Ages, but apart from St. Margaret’s Chapel and one section of David’s Tower, little remains from this era. Close by lies the heart of the castle, Crown Square with the Royal Palace, the Great Hall and the Scottish National War Memorial. Not to be missed is the museum, where visitors will find the Honours of Scotland. The beautiful crown, sceptre and sword are the oldest crown jewels on the British Islands, and the legendary Stone of Destiny has been part of the coronation ceremonies of the Kings of Scotland, England and the United Kingdom for more than a thousand years. But the modern and descriptive exhibition of the history of the Scottish Kings also make a visit to the museum more than worthwhile: where else can you meet the historic monarchs of Scotland, like Robert the Bruce and Mary Stuart?

While you’re here, also look into the royal apartments – today used for official receptions. For those interested in military history, there are no less than three military museums on the castle grounds, and the National War Memorial, bearing the names of every fallen Scottish soldier from World War I, is a place for silence and reflection.

Another of the castle’s attraction is the firing of the gun – every day (except Sunday) at one o’clock. In the 19thcentury, the people of Edinburgh set their clocks by the shot, and sailors on the Forth would calibrate their chronometers by it. But why at one o’clock and not at noon? Conventional wisdom has it that it’s down to the Scots’ legendary frugality: why fire twelve cannonballs, when one will do?

The best approach is to discover the castle on a guided tour or with an audio guide. Budget at least three hours.

Tip: If you love animals, take a walk to the dog cemetery - for over 150 years, the final resting place of the regiment’s mascots and officers’ dogs.

Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NG.

1 Apr - 30 Sep 9.30am - 6pm, 1 Oct - 31 Mar 9.30am - 5pm.

£16, audio guide £3.

www.edinburghcastle.gov.uk

fore!

The world-famous St. Andrews Links Course may be acknowledged as the Home of Golf, but Edinburgh is its cradle. Visiting Edinburgh as a golfer means following the sport’s origins. Golfers can meet up at The Golf Tavern, the world’s oldest golf pub, learn about the very earliest rules of golf as they were defined at Leith Links, or drop in at the world’s first golfing society, The Royal Burgess Golfing Society of Edinburgh.

the golf tavern – the first golf pub in the world

text and photo sascha ihns

The Golf Tavern, also known as Ye Olde Golf Tavern, is the world’s oldest golf pub and clubhouse. It was founded in 1456 and is located at the edge of Bruntsfield Links. Today, the short golf course is part of a public park area where golf has been played since the early 1700s. People who like to hit the ball can rent golf clubs and balls at the Tavern’s bar for £3.50 as a single player or £10.50 for a family card. The pub itself offers a cosy, warm and relaxed ambience. Wallpaper made from golf-related newspaper articles and an unusual collection of knickknacks around the walls add to the charm of this traditional pub. Mains like a tandoori chicken skewer can be had for £11.95, while more traditional “pub grub” choices such as homemade burgers or stone baked pizzas are on offer from £8.75 to £9.95. Of course, the Golf Tavern also has an extensive selection of drinks, from the expertly compiled wine and whisky list to beers for every mood, as well as a number of delicious cocktails.

30-31 Wright’s Houses, Bruntsfield, Edinburgh EH10 4HR.

the commie – first pool for everyone

text and photo ev tsakiridou

The Royal Commonwealth Pool, also known as the Commie, is one of the best swimming pools in the world – and that’s not just what the locals say. A well-known travel guide ranked Scotland’s “First” Pool among the top ten worldwide. It’s not just down to history, although the Commie, built in 1970, has hosted two Commonwealth Games. Pure and simple, it’s a national institution, and it also enjoyed a complete makeover only two years ago. So ask yourself, what could be nicer for a traveller than seeing some local history and getting some exercise at the same time?

The Commie was built as a quadratic, split-level pool facility. The foyer has a view across the 50 m pool, high dive tower and spectator gallery. Lanes separate fast swimmers from those who prefer a more relaxed approach. Whether fast or slow, all respect each other. The pool serves the community as a training facility for specialist swimming. A barrier divides it into two areas, but don’t worry, there’s plenty of space all around. Be aware, though, that at 29 degrees Celsius the water may be a touch too warm for fast swimmers. Friendly personnel are on hand to tell you everything you need to know. Fitness classes, soft play equipment, gym, café and even WiFi are nice extras.

Tip: The Commie’s management company, Edinburgh Leisure, offers swimming and diving courses for everyone.

Dalkeith Road, Edinburgh EH16 5BB.

Admission fee: £5.90.

Mon - Fri 5.30am - 10pm, Sat 5.30am - 8pm, Sun 7.30am - 8pm.

www.edinburghleisure.co.uk

the world of whisky – global trends

text kai simmerl, photo gerald biebersdorf

2014 was a humiliating year for the famous and proud Scottish whiskymakers: not one Scottish malt made it into the top five of Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible, the world’s leading whisky guide. This year’s number one comes from Japanese distillery Yamazaki.

But there was good news for the Scottish whisky industry as well, in the growing demand for whisky worldwide, and especially in the Far East. This has meant a big boost to Scottish whisky culture (and prices), but the down side is that it is getting more difficult to find reasonably priced, quality whiskies matured in good casks. The traditional sherry casks, in particular, are getting extremely scarce - people just aren’t drinking enough sherry.

the diggers

text kai simmerl, photo gerald biebersdorf

Hardly any tourists venture out to this traditional pub, as it’s a bit outside the city centre. But mingling with the regulars at this classic neighbourhood pub with a hundred years of history might just be a highlight of your trip.

For the whisky lover, it’s heaven on earth: an amazing collection of malts, and at the unbeatable price of just £2.50 for a 35 ml dram. But just as importantly, the regulars are more than willing to share their recommendations on which whisky to drink, and how: adding a little water to the whisky and drinking a small glass of beer in-between drams are some of the tips heard from experienced whisky drinkers, who affectionately call their national drink the “Kiss of God”.

1-3 Angle Park Terrace, Edinburgh EH11 2JX.

fall in love with lovecrumbs

text and photo sabrina wendling

One strip bar, another strip bar, and then there it is: Lovecrumbs. No naked girls in this shop, but youwillbe tempted by some sweet delights here. Please do leave your clothes on - though you may open your trouser button to create more room for your stomach.

Just a look at the dozens of mouth-watering cakes, cookies and scones in the large cupboard will get your heart racing. Baked fresh every day: chocolate caramel brownies, fig and pomegranate cake, coffee and macadamia cake, even a vegan chocolate and rose cake. Get ready to discover that vegan is sexy! Just don’t blame us when you find yourself fantasising about a bar of dark chocolate melting on your tongue and fluffy cocoa crumbs dancing in your mouth. Or for your chocolate orgasm.

You won’t be disappointed if you choose the fig and pomegranate cake. Sweet figs and exotic pomegranates in a ménage-à-trois with a slightly boring sponge cake that would have been frumpy on its own – but all together, a very racy scene indeed. Then freshen up with a lemongrass and marigold or cinnamon and anise rooibos tea – you’ll get a thermos flask of hot water to refill your cup.

There’s also free wireless - but please don’t google the calories. Better to bring some friends so you can all taste a bit of everything – after all, shared calories don’t count.

155 West Port, Edinburgh EH3 9DP, near Grassmarket.

Mon - Sat 10.30am - 6pm, Sun 12noon - 6pm.

www.lovecrumbs.co.uk

arthur’s seat – a getaway from the urban world

text hanadi siering, photo andrea weil

Arthur’s Seat in Holyrood Park is an extinct volcano and Edinburgh’s highest hill (251 metres). Though just a stroll from the city centre, atop it you feel far away from the urban world. In the 18th century, geologist James Hutton was the first scientist to explain the Earth’s inner workings based on studies of rock formations he found on Arthur’s seat.

There are many stories about how the mountain got its name. Is it really named for the legendary King of the Round Table? Or is it merely a corruption of the GaelicArd na Saigheid,“height of the arrows”, as some say? Whatever it is, those who are up to the challenge of a hike up Radical Road to the top won’t regret it! The view of the city and its surroundings is breathtaking, the air is fresh, and you will really get a sense of what Scotland’s Highlands are like. You’ll pass both joggers and fully equipped hikers on your way. As the paths are in their natural state, you are strongly advised to wear hiking shoes.

On your walk you can find yourself below the hilltop in the ruins of St Anthony’s Chapel and St Margaret’s Well (both built in 15th century) and see the Bawsinch Nature Reserve beside Duddingston Loch, home to a huge biodiversity of birds.

Tip: Grab your climbing shoes and go to the Salisbury Crags South Quarry next to Radical Road. Permission from the Holyrood Park Education Centre for bouldering and free climbing is required.

IMPRINT

First edition August 2015

Copyright © 2015 by Ebozon Publishing

a brand of CONDURIS UG (haftungsbeschränkt)

www.ebozon-verlag.com

All rights reserved.

text and photo copyright © 2015 by »The Magnificent Travellers«

Gerald Biebersdorf

Melanie Dworaczek

Werner Gritzbach

Nadine Haase

Sascha Ihns

Patricia Kämpf

Lydia Ranke

Michaela Schneider

Susanne Schramm

Hanadi Siering

Kai Simmerl

Ev Tsakiridou

Andrea Weil

Sabrina Wendling

book design and layout

Gerald Biebersdorf,Elina Rehbein,Andrea Weil

photo editing

Melanie Dworaczek,Werner Gritzbach

text editing

Kyle Wohlmut

web presentation

Patricia Kämpf

publishing coordination

Sascha Ihns, Patricia Kämpf, Michaela Schneider, Ev Tsakiridou

public relations

Sascha Ihns

special thanks to:Paul Finch, Mary Gordon, Lutz Kessner, Jeremy Maki, Sally Maki and Dorothy Rankin

ISBN 978-3-95963-169-3 (PDF)

ISBN 978-3-95963-167-9 (ePUB)

ISBN 978-3-95963-168-6 (Mobipocket)

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»We hope you enjoyed reading our travel guide and that it helps you discover this delightful city. We always appreciate any feedback, so if you have any comments please do let us know!«