Sunday, September 17, 2006

Holyrood Palace

DSC01394, originally uploaded by cameronduff.

This was the last point prior to dinner on Ang's tour - the Queen's residence in Scotland. The old Cathedral in the foreground was destroyed at some point - uprisings seemed relatively common for a while there! I guess these proud Scots don't much like the yoke of a foreign monarch - fair enough! Yet best to stick to flogging them in every ball sport yet invented rather than armed insurrection methinks.

Arthur's Seat and the New Scottish Parliament

DSC01392, originally uploaded by cameronduff.

This magnificant geological structure - Arthur's Seat - lies just on the outskirts of the old city next to the Holyrood Palace and the new parliament. The Queen's palace backs onto an extensive stretch of park lands and commons. We spent an hour or more wandering around though we didn't muster the legs to climb Arthur's seat after the rigours of Carlton Hill earlier in the day - next time!

Carlton Hill and the Old City

DSC01390, originally uploaded by cameronduff.

On our last glorious day in Edinburgh we were treated to another decidedly un-Scottish burst of sunshine and fair temperatures. Andrea planned the most action packed itinerary including galleries and monuments and lookouts - like this one at Carlton Hill over-looking the old city. Here one can walk around all sides for panoramic views of the entire city and out to the Firth of Fyre (the harbour waters). We sat here for a long time admiring the views after a long up-hill walk.

Welcome to Loch Ness

DSC01385, originally uploaded by cameronduff.

We had just returned from our hour long ferry tour of Loch Ness as this photo was taken. Not even an hour of turgid commentary on the supposed whereabouts of "nessie" the elusive monster could dampen our enthusiasms on such an ace day. That said I really don't care if I never hear another lame loch ness monster joke again.

The Scottish Highlands

DSC01378, originally uploaded by cameronduff.

On our second to last day we booked a backpackers mini-bus tour to Loch Ness through the Scottish Highlands. Remarkably, the clouds parted and we were blessed with the most magical clear skies as we entered into the highlands. The trip was an absolute blast - complete with acerbic highland commentary on every historical massacre along the route from our espically learned driver. Apparently the Campbells and the MacIntoshs still don't speak after a certain infamous highland skermish some three centuries ago...still the views were amazing!

Nice Spot for Lunch?!

DSC01359, originally uploaded by cameronduff.

In a move of either utter madness or inspired leadership the conference organisers dispensed with the customary arrangements for lunch at such international events (ie poorly catered sandwiches and coldcuts) and instead set aside two hours in the middle of each day for "lunch networking". And yes they actually called it that! So all delegates were left to make their own arrangements for lunch each day. I found this gorgeous little laneway around the corner from the conference centre - somedays I even made it back for the afternoon sessions. Well it happened at least once!

The Old College

DSC01352, originally uploaded by cameronduff.

Now this - if you can believe my good fortune comrades - was the site of this year's conference!! A truly majestic conference hall housed inside this medieval University building. The walk up through Princes Park was magnificent as well! A beautiful to start the day and an awe-inspiring venue. I think we also did some work and some people got up to speak from time to time - some such nonsense to distract one from the environs!

The Royal Mile from North Bridge

DSC01362, originally uploaded by cameronduff.

Coming from Vancouver where nothing is more than 70 or 80 years old to a city where architectural history is measured in centuries was a real buzz! Everywhere you look the architecture is overwhelming - most locals seems utterly blase! Oh to be so spoiled.

Edinburgh Castle from Princes Park

DSC01318, originally uploaded by cameronduff.

We took this on the morning of our first full day in Edinburgh - a wonderfully imposing edifice as one strolls down the Princes Park high street into the centre of town.

William Wallace

DSC01323, originally uploaded by cameronduff.

In a homage of sorts to our bastard Scots ancestry (I think we can each claim more than our fair share of highlands blood!) here is the statue of William Wallace that stands at the gates of the great castle in the middle of Edinburgh. At the other entrance waits Robert the Bruce - another great thorn in the side of tyrannical English monarchs. Now a people that love sticking it up the English as much as we Australians - good work gents!

Friday, September 15, 2006

robot dance !

Ok so y'all know my particular penchant for the robot (like it's 1985 as they say!) well OK so just watch the huckster in the orange jumper! This boy is all rubber and hinges!