Summer course 1 - July 2016 - difficult group - lesson 6
Edinburgh is definitely the most Scottish of all cities. Around Castle Hill, the tourist centre of the city, all the tourist clichés come true.
Double-deckers form red spots in the Scottish rain. During all seasons you'll always have to take the rain into account. But who would get into a bad mood because of that? Scotland without rain would only be half as impressive!
The ancient St.Giles Cathedral is one of the most important sights in the city. The first mention of a church at this place comes from 854. The building of today's church began in the year 1120. After a fire in 1385, the church was rebuilt in the Gothic style.
Of course, bagpipers shouldn't be missing. They stand on almost every corner along the Royal Mile, and play characteristic melodies.
Edinburgh Castle, a fortress at the core of the city, has always been well-protected. Today, however, the guard doesn't have to fight the English or the Anglo-Saxons trying to capture the city. But they work as a reception committee for tourists from all over the world.
From the Castle Rock downwards leads the Royal Mile, which is lined with cafés, restaurants, and shops selling whisky.
Because buildings are decorated with flags and coats of arms here, the lovely street carries its name rightfully.
One of the most famous symbols of Edinburgh is the Gothic Scott monument. It's dedicated to the famous writer, Sir Walter Scott, and the view of the city is definitely worth it. The writer was born in Edinburgh in 1771. With his work he popularised historic novels throughout the world.
Today, the Renaissance Castle, where Mary Stuart lost her lover, is the official residence of the British Queen in Scotland. There are many personal items of Mary Stuart exhibited in the palace from the time that she spent in prison before her premature death.
There is Royal splendour in the port, too. Britannia, the former yacht of the Royal Family, anchors here.
In the evening, after the tourists have returned to their hotels, Edinburgh enters into a unique dreamy atmosphere.
THE LOCHS OF SCOTLAND
The most famous lake in Scotland is, surely, Loch Ness. Thanks to Nessie, the legendary monster which is supposed to inhabit the depths of the lake. The lake so peacefully set into the landscape is an inspiration for more or less serious fantasies about monsters. The legend was smartly raised to cult status, helping to attract thousands of tourists every year.
Gordon, a Nessie explorer, is convinced that the Loch Ness Lake is home not only to fish. He wants to prove that with a sonar picture.
"There's a little red dot just about here, which has a fish. That's to give you an idea of comparative sizes. Then there's this thing here, which is well clear at the bottom, and it's about 5-6 metres long."
So, does the monster Nessie really exist?
"For me there's something in this loch. But, certainly, the word 'monster' I will not use, because I don't think it is a monster. 'Monster' implies that it's evil. I don't think it's evil, I think it's just a creature that's living here."
And Gordon sets off again on an expedition. He's always tracking the mysterious inhabitant of the lake. Naturally, with many tourists on board.
CANALS OF SCOTLAND
To get to know Scotland from a border ship is one of the most adventurous ways to travel along the land of Lakes.
Motor yachts are sold or rented for weeks and offer solid and comfortable equipment. The only thing you have to give up is TV, but this shouldn't be a problem at all, because of the magnificent landscapes lying ahead of you.
The Caledonian Canal was built in the 19th century to make the distance between the North Sea and the Atlantic shorter.
But the aim of the majority of today's travellers isn't to get from place A to B as fast as possible. Quite to the contrary, the stop is not regarded as an interruption of the voyage, but an opportunity to learn something from other 'holiday captains'.
An absolute highlight of the voyage, Loch Ness. It seems mysterious even without the stories and legends about Nessie. The ruin of Castle Urquhart on the shore of Loch Ness bears the scars of two hundred years of fighting and siege.
Long and narrow, Loch Ness has the greatest amount of water of any of the lakes in Great Britain.
On our way from lake to lake, we have to pass through lochs again and again.
From water to the mountains. Scotland shows its rough and unkind aspects in the Highlands. Only with a four-wheel drive you can make a trip without problems to the characteristic hills, the mountain world of Scotland.
"This is the Scottish kilt. There's eight meters of tartan involved in this kilt. There's a front apron,and then there's an apron under there, and it's all pleated here at the back, and there's eight meters of tartan in it. Um, sometimes it's best left to the imagination as to what's worn underneath the kilt. On a windy day, then, a lot of people soon find out."
Back in Inverness, the capital of the Highlands.
Inverness isn't only the capital of the Scottish Highlands, it's also the only town in the Highlands.
'Inver' means 'estuary' in Gaelic. It's a nice proud town with suspension bridges over the Ness, and old stone buildings.
In Elgin, on the east Scottish coast, you can reveal the secret of Scottish kilts. Not what is worn under them, but how they are produced.
In the Johnston's Factory for Woollen Fabric, with has more than two hundred years of tradition, you can watch how wool or Scottish skirts are produced.
Sheep wool is, of course, provided by the population of local sheep.
At Johnston's, the Scottish tartan also gets new fashionable colours.
Whether checked with small or large squares, a classical present from your trip to Scotland is a garment with a traditional Scottish pattern.
A walk in the park behind the corner has something from a trip to the Highlands.