Saturday, 22 December 2018

A Bus Trip to Edinburgh. An Illuminated Christmas. Part One.

                                               ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN
Nowadays, photography is the main driving force for getting me out the house and exploring new places. I'd been to Edinburgh at night before, last year, but there was still plenty of new things to see at night in the capital that I hadnt seen yet in darkness so that gave me the interest and curiousity to jump on the bus and go there. Not in the morning this time but around lunchtime to arrive a few hours before darkness fell.
Ramsay Gardens near Edinburgh Castle- a floating confection in white and red rooftops.
The fountain in West Princes Street Gardens. Now fully restored and looking spectacular.
and next to it the Polish War Bear statue.
The helicopter ride they had last year. So much- so familiar.
but they didn't have this last year. Silent Light Street Lights.
Big Wheel. Princes Street Gardens.
Christmas Lights 2018.
and I had not been here at night with a camera. The curving street of West Bow, once the home of a notorious wizard who was killed for his self confessed crimes, now a many levels high warren of shops, restaurants and bars.
A narrow and hidden steep passageway links West Bow to the Royal Mile, one of the delights of old Edinburgh is its tiny ancient lanes and steep stairs linking streets together, often eight to ten levels apart in height.
This is that linking stairway.
and a view from halfway up.
not that far away there is another multi level vantage point and semi hidden stairwell. Plenty of exercise to be had in Scottish cities while exploring.
And the Royal Mile leading up to the castle.
Full of red lighting.
Silent Light display again.
George Street Lights.
Back street walkers near the castle... me descending to the Grassmarket via another steep flight of stairs.
George Street again.
Harvey Nichols window display. Suitably extravagant and decadent with a model collapsed over a champagne bottle for Christmas. Not sure if Absolutely Fabulous was in part inspired by Harvey Nichols or if this was a tongue in cheek homage to the modern TV characters instead but its certainly eye catching . Despite my working class roots and general disdain for posh shops I always take in the windows here as it's right beside the bus station back entrance and elevators. Always something to see and it reminds me of the film Mannequin, about window dressers. I used to know someone who was one and I quite envied his artistic talent while I was crawling about under houses or working in factories after leaving school. Compared to that life of grime and toil it seemed glamorous and he always turned up surrounded by attractive females any time we met on the street. Probably shop workers and maybe just friends on occasion but certainly a different world to mine. It was an unusual profession to go into from a council estate background but he was always artistic and creative in class. Took acting lessons as well.
The main shop in St Andrew Square and Multrees Walk. I don't think Glasgow has one so aspirational Glaswegians have to travel through here or shop online. Edinburgh is perceived as being more upmarket than Glasgow generally and that is also my view having explored its suburbs extensively over the years. It does have more exclusive areas within the city boundary whereas Glasgow's elite class moved outside the city limits ages ago to Bearsden, Milngavie, Williamwood, Newton Mearns and the like.
University of Edinburgh Christmas Lights.
I noticed a definite Harry Potter effect here with a named shop on the central plaza, probably because so many students ask about it and the fictional Highland Wizard School in the books is not available to visit so this is the bricks and mortar nearest equivalent. ( Opps. It's named after a demolished medieval area called Potterrow I later found out.)
Harry Potter Land. No sign of Harry, Ron or Hermione or Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid, although I have bumped into him shopping in Glasgow a few times in past years...we go to the same supermarkets ( he's really perfected that ' don't you dare approach me again , you strange nutter' stare.) I know all the stars of stage and screen...... Even dropped in on Joanna Lumley briefly on a walk ...and met American actress Debra Winger way out east on my sunshine coastal travels....boy was she pleased to see me on a remote beach.......not :o)..... but I never namedrop!!!!!!!  Keep it secret. Keep it safe. To be continued....
Mystery illuminations.... my next destination...but where?
Merry Christmas all....
and a fantastic song to end with. Jeff Beck and friends. Women of Ireland. A truly beautiful version of this slow classic. Haunting and memorable. I've heard various versions of this moving tune over the years but this is easily the best rendition.


Rosemary said...

Love those lights, they remind me of a paisley design. My granddaughter is at Edinburgh University so I will ask her all about the Harry Potter lights.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Rosemary,
Too fast with the comment as I decided to add an extra bit at the end. All completely true of course. I even left out a few names. I get around.

Carol said...

Loved Debra Winger as an actress - wonder if she's still going or whether she's retired - haven't seen her in anything for years...

We went to Broughton-in-Furness for the Christmas lights as usual - not as extravagant as Edinburgh but colourful and lovely just the same. Amazing how many coloured lights they tastefully manage to get in one small square there!

Have a good Christmas!

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol,
Good film she was in was Leap of Faith with Steve Martin, in a serious role as a travelling con man evangelist and Liam Neeson as the Sheriff after him. I liked it anyway and 100 times better than the crap remake of Watership Down I sat through this evening not realizing it was a four part series. Ye Gods was it boring and disjointed with so many different ********* rabbits and warrens in it I couldn't give a toss by the end. Needless to say I'll not be watching part two :o)
Merry Christmas.

Anabel Marsh said...

I always have to admit that Edinburgh does Christmas better … but my heart belongs to Glasgow.

Happy Christmas!

Kay G. said...

I also love the lights! You will laugh at me but it made me happy just to see the street lights! Honestly, it makes me "homesick" to see them. I have fond memories of them, when they first come on, they are a bit of an "orange-y" color, are they not and then, they get brighter? It is difficult to live in one country but feel as if you have one foot in another one, so to speak. Hope you have a happy Christmas!

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Anabel,
Glasgow posts coming up including a nostalgia tour around my teenage haunts and college days and the music I liked back then in the 1970s. I like Edinburgh because a lot of places are still new to me. My idea of heaven now is exploring any new city from scratch but I've near enough done Edinburgh by this time. Too old and uninterested in big hills anymore although some new ones are coming up shortly.
Merry Christmas.

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Kay,
Yes, the orange street lights are very evocative images of the UK. Don't know about other areas but here they have been slowly replaced with white lights. Cheaper to run, give better lighting and more modern. Also give police clearer images on CCTV I'd imagine for crime solving.
Merry Christmas.

Linda W. said...

Love to see the holiday light displays in other countries. Happy Christmas to you!

Ian Johnston said...

Happy Christmas Bob! Really good images of the festive lights here; a subject I find difficult to take even acceptable images


Andy said...

Some really great night images there. I like your city explorations. We are in Lisbon at the moment exploring a new city. All the best for the New Year!

blueskyscotland said...

Thanks Linda
Happy Christmas to you as well.

blueskyscotland said...

Happy Christmas Ian.

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Andy.
Happy New Year.