On Boxing Day, we had dinner at the Sweetman home. Afterwards, we all
sat around the kitchen table playing Jenga. We also discovered some
rather interesting reindeer in the house.
The next evening, there was a freezing fog. By the following morning,
everything was covered in a rich coat of ice crystals. We did not let
the fog deter us, and we took a drive over to Framlingham, home of
Framlingham Castle, to have dinner with Gavin & Lynn on the eve of
their Mexican holiday.
Our friend Elspeth put us up in her quaint little house, The
Coach House, for a few days. It's right next to the park, in the
heart of Ipswich. On December 29, we went by train to London. We did
some shopping, saw a show, The Wind In The Willows, and went to
the Victoria and Albert Museum.
One of the highlights of the museum was Tipu's Tiger. It
is a carved and painted wood effigy which simulates the growls of a
tiger and the cries of his victim. The victim's left hand is even
jointed so it may move during the process. A low, wide door opens to
the right of the handle, exposing some of the inner workings. The
tiger was built and presented to the Sultan of Mysore during the
1790s. After his death at the siege of Seringapatam, it was seized by
the British in 1799. Stef was rather grossed out by this exhibit, but
Reb loved it!
We celebrated New Year's Eve with Elspeth and her
family. The evening was spent telling stories, and at the midnight
hour we listened to Big Ben chime on the television, had a toast, and
then wished each other a happy new year.
On January 2, we drove to Peterborough and caught a train to
Edinburgh, Scotland. It was quite foggy, and we saw little of the countryside
during the drive and train ride. Fortunately, by the time we got to
Edinburgh, most of the fog had lifted.
Once in Edinburgh, we walked the few blocks to our hotel, and passed
the last part of Edinburgh's Hogmanay (Scottish New Year) celebration.
The next morning, we met Elspeth's friend Billy. He took us around the
city and showed us the sights. Much to Billy's delight, the first
thing we wanted to see was the famed rail bridge over the
Firth of Forth. It took eight years to build, and opened in March,
1890. It is over one and a half miles long. At the time of its
construction, it was the biggest bridge in the world, and
the engineering marvel of its time.
Standing next to it, you can't get a good idea of the sheer size of
the bridge until you see a train go over it. (See picture on right) If
you look carefully, you will note that each of the three main sections
of the bridge is different. Also, there are two spans which are
actually cantilevered out between the three main ones. Next to the
rail bridge is a road bridge which was opened in 1964. Its opening
brought an end to ferry service across the Forth, which had been
active for some 800 years.
Dean's Village is one of the most picturesque parts of Edinburgh. Even the new
buildings manage to fit right in.
Just off of High Street, Café Florentin provided us with a good
place to relax for a while after a long day of sightseeing. It has
numerous kinds of tea and coffee, along with a variety of delicious
Back at Billy's flat, we sat back, listened to music, and relaxed some
more. Of particular note is the circa 1900 coal burning stove that is
still used to provide some of the heat in the apartment. The stove is
complete with almost all of its original attachments. These move the
heat to the oven and hot areas on top which were originally used for
One of the most interesting things in Edinburgh is the monument to
Walter Scott. It was opened in 1840, and it rises 200 feet, 6 inches.
Although it is in the Prices Street Gardens, from the top it seems as
if you are almost as high as the castle. We climbed its 287 steps to
the highest of four viewing platforms. Why not use this
ticket to view the monument?
If you would like more information on Edinburgh, you may wish to visit the Edinburgh and Lothians Tourist Board. Back to the Café
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