Monday, August 20, 2007

Sweet dreams are made of this...

Why the quote? Because Aberdeen is where Annie Lennox of the Eurythmics was born and grew up (interestingly, Aberdeen doesn't advertise that fact - I wonder if they did back in the 80s?). As a fan, I had to throw it in, so I could show off my erudition. Now on with the tale...

I had planned to do a bit more sight-seeing in Edinburgh, but the queue at the Left Luggage office was enough to put me off, so I caught the first train to the Granite City instead. When I got out of the train, an evil pigeon besmirched my luggage. Oh for a falcon!!!

At Aberdeen, I began to realise the disadvantages of the Visit Scotland cheap accommodation strategy. All the cheap places are well outside the CBD and therefore I can't find them on my Lonely Planet maps. Also, I can't walk that far with my luggage. A kind taxi driver who is completely intelligible takes me to my temporary abode. From there, I can see a bus stop and I find my way back into the city. Score one to me!!

The main attractions in Aberdeen are the Marischal Museum, the Art Gallery, the Maritime Museum and Provost Skene's house. As I've arrived fairly late in the afternoon, I decide to start at the gallery. The gallery is a nice, manageable size with a gorgeous Japanese exhibition. When the gallery closes, I do the sculpture trail checking out public works of art in the CBD. It's an interesting blend of old and modern, mostly quite tasteful and interesting. I have dinner at a 300 year old pub, luckily the food is a bit more contemporary, very good thank you.

My plan for day two is to check out the Marischal Museum, the Maritime Museum and the Provost's House. Discovery - the Marischal Museum is shut! This turns out to be a good thing, because the Maritime Museum is quite large enough to occupy an hour. It had displays on everything nautical, including oil rigs, whaling, shipping, ship building and nautical weather information.

Provost Skene's house is just gorgeous. Until the 50's, it was a slum that only narrowly escaped demolition, but since then it has been restored and it is an absolute gem. None of the original furniture has survived, but the rooms (underneath the plasterboard partitions etc that were used to turn it into a cheap 'hotel') were more or less intact. I was absolutely enchanted by the Painted Gallery, which had a very Catholic looking life of Christ painted along it. Unfortunately, not all of the paintings survived, but the ones that did were in quite an unusual style and they appealed to me very much. There is also a smaller painted room that hasn't survived so well.

Back at the station, I need to catch a train to Inverness, then another train to Dalwhinnie to see the Cairn Gorms. The total trip will take about 5 hours. It gets off to an inauspicious start when another pigeon besmirches both my ticket and the station master. Obviously, they have some sort of contest going... I get on the Inverness train about 30 seconds before it leaves, clutching a sopping wet (but poo free) ticket.

Of the time spent in transit, enough said. The scenery is very pretty. I knit. More scenery, more knitting. Of my time spent in the Cairngorms, more anon.

Insight into Scotland 3

On my way to the B&B, a beggar approaches me and asks for 66p so he can buy something at McDonald's. You can't actually buy anything at Maccas that costs exactly 66p. Please consider...

1 comment:

scott davidson said...

I had fun choosing this particular painting online that now hangs in my downtown office, from, who sells canvas prints of art masterpieces. While the original is treasured in some art museum in England, my print, of this painting by Edward Burne-Jones is very much appreciated by my staff and clients. The print quality is really excellent.