ToLt Days 14, 15 and 16

You might guess it, the trip is coming to an end. Sadly…

Our last full Edinburgh day was a half day, in fact. In the morning we were all, including the dog (especially the dog!), extremely tired. So I dared uttering the words: should we go back to sleep for a few hours. Thinking that Siobhan would knock my head off. She didn’t. Insteadt even she felt drawn back to sleep. And so we actually did it. It was genius, in the end. Because when we did go out in the later afternoon, we were wide awake and had fun again. Before, especially to me, Edinburgh felt like ticking off the tourist-to-do-list and I had lost the fun in taking pictures. Which usually is a sign that I need a break. So in the afternoon we soon crossed over Princes Street to get away from the crowds around Old Town, and strolled through Dean Village. I have to disappoint those of you who are now expecting the beautiful road most of us know from the many Dean Village pictures. I was otherwhise engaged, because there is also Leith Walk there. Also I had it in my head to get to Calton Hill in order to get some pictures of the city at sunset and of the fireworks at the end of the Edinburgh Tattoo. On the way from Dean Village to Calton Hill we stopped by ‚Urban Angel‘ (remember?), where we treated ourselves to tasty smoothies and got a huge treat otherwise. But I am not allowed to say, so… Sammy was allowed in the front part of the ’shop‘, by the way. Anyways, I was getting a bit stressed since I remembered very well the line of photographers up on the hill at sunset from last time and I wanted a good space this time. And so it was. When we came up Calton Hill, there were quite a few there, even a camera team who were doing a piece there for The Fringe. Very nice guys. I parked my tripod right next to them. They knew a lot about the Sony A7-series and it was fun talking to them. They didn’t stay for the fireworks though. But many others were. Some have come there every night for two weeks! There was a nice girl who immediately joined the Sammy-Fanclub I still have to found yet. She took a cute picture of him and promised to send it. I hope she does. Next to where I stood there was this German Girl, Steffi. We talked a little about photography and what one can do in Scotland until the fireworks finally started. After that everyone scattered and we left also. I love how people come together at that spot, watching the sunset, the city at night, how the lighting changes over the Firth of Forth. It’s very companionable.
As you might imagine I had to go back down the Royal Mile to Abbey Strand/Horse Wynd, where my lovely little houses are standing. I just had to repeat that picture with the Sony. After that we went home. It was well past midnight then. I am really glad we did the break during the first part of they day, since this brought the fun back and we were all fit to do the things we wanted to.

Since we had already packed a bit in the afternoon, the next morning worked out just fine. Thanks to Jenna, the girl who tends the appartment we stayed in, we had found a parking space just one street off. We re-organised all our bags and suitcases and backpacks (you wouldn’t believe what you can fit in a Corsa and even leave enough space for the dog AND a view through the back mirror), so that for the last two night a small bag would suffice – and then we were off.

Leaving Scotland was an emotional thing for both of us. Already we felt far away from the Highlands and the Hebrides while we were in Edinburgh and the Lowlands. But crossing the border really got to us. Our hunger for Scotland is not stilled. On the contrary, it’s gotten even bigger.

We took the route along the east coast and then via Ripon to a village called Hebden in the Yorkshire Dales. To be honest, that day was not too good. We were so lucky during this trip, one unlucky day is allowed. This was it. So unfortunately, there are no pictures of this beautiful landscape I had wanted to see for years. To describe it with words: The Yorkshire Dales are a lot like the Highlands of Scotland, only they are softer, greener and tamer, but in a good way. The hills are green and purple, there are stone walls all across them and within the walls there are hundres of white dots. Sheep of course. The streets are steeper than we ever experienced in the Highlands. One thing is for certain: Yorkshire is a trip of its own and will have to be done in the future. We stayed at The Clarendon. It’s a traditional Pub / Inn that surprises with the fact that the chef there started his cooking career in Alsace, France, and ended up in Yorkshire. There is even a book about that him and his story and how that all happened. In the end, we decided to sample the kitchen and it was, of course, the best food of the trip. Also Siobhan managed to sample the Dalmore Whiskey. When we came by the distillery (the day I had to shoot the oil rigs on Cromarty Firth) we were too late to go into the visitor center, but now she had her chance. She was delighted by it, by the way.

We went to bed early, got up early as well, had a wonderful breakfast and were off at about 10.30 a.m. 9 hours and 30 minutes later we actually arrived at Folkestone – at the Burlington Hotel, again. We didn’t get the same room as last time (which was insanely luxurious), but we got one that was also recently refurbished and had a wonderfully clean and spacious bathroom. I don’t remember enjoying a shower as much as tonight. However, we were just in time to nip down to the beach for some ball-tossing, holding our feet into the cool ocean and finding interesting stones. The Folkestone beach has wonderful examples of stones to collect. Also, during the time we were touring Scotland, they had remodelled their restaurant and bar, so we could enjoy that, too. Well, not Sammy, who is allowed in the bar upstairs, but not the restaurant. But since breakfast was served downstairs, in the new restaurant, and we had to nip down to the buffet (otherwise eating in the bar), we could explore it, anyway.

We are now finishing the day early, so maybe tomorrow morning we will be up for sunrise. Well, at least we’ll try. After that there won’t be much to tell, because from Folkestone we’re heading home. Coming back with the most beautiful memories, that cannot be taken from us in this lifetime.

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