Le Avventure Di Sophia Graf

My thrilling adventures in Europe!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Our train ride to Scotland was rather uneventful except for that we got on the wrong train during our last switch. There were two trains to Edinburgh within three minutes of each other, and we got on the 12:03 instead of the 12:00. Luckily the ticket lady was really nice and didn’t make us pay a fine. The only bad part was that we ended up being on the train an hour longer than we would have originally. We met Aunt Ellen, my dad’s aunt, at the station. She and Uncle Geoffrey live in a big old house from the 1800s with tall ceilings and servant bells. It was really nice and there were tons of rooms, even enough for our entire family to sleep comfortably. Best of all, I got my own room with THICK curtains! Another great thing was that we got homemade meals that we didn't have to cook as well as huge breakfasts and we got chauffered around so that we didn't have to mess with public transport.

You can see some pictures on Thomas's blog.

Day One:

Our first day in Scotland was very cold (all the others were too) but luckily it didn't rain like is the norm here in the UK. We went to see Edinburgh Castle, the main attraction (and "Boardwalk" in Edinburgh Edition Monopoly) and the site of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo (also featured in Monopoly but I forget where) that happens every fall. There were huge stands set up and more being worked on for the Tattoo that will take place in October. When we got into the castle, we went on a tour of the grounds and then went by ourselves to see the crown jewels. They are the oldest complete set (scepter, sword, and crown) in Europe (I think!). On display with them is the Stone of Destiny where all of the Kings of Scotland have been crowned (while sitting on it) and is sent back to London for the crowning of modern day monarchs (a.k.a. Queen Elizabeth). We also saw the royal apartments where King James VI and I had been born (he was one person, the sixth James of Scotland and the first James of England, he united the two countries). there was also a display on the prisoners of war kept in the castle and what the prisoners left behind, like graffiti and crafts.

That afternoon we ate lunch at the Elephant House, one of the two cafes that J K Rowling had written at. They had really good food and a mice view of the castle from the table where JKR used to sit.

Day Two:

Our second day in Scotland was spent at Loch Leaven. It's a big loch with good fly fishing and a few small islands, one of which houses a ruined castle. We had been planning on taking the ferry to the castle, but when we stepped out of the car and were blasted by the cold and wind we decided that it was too cold. We almost went straight home, but then my dad found a trail that led to a huge playground. It was huge because it had a lot of equipment and because the equipment was large, so even the adults could play. The best thing was a Flying Fox seat (like one of those things where you hold onto a handle and it slides down to the other end, except this one had a seat) because it was really smooth and went on for a long time. There was also a nest swing that reminded me of a hammock seat made out of plastic. We played at the park for a while, then had a picnic lunch and went home, to Thomas’ great excitement, via the Firth of Fourth Road Bridge. Thomas got a book filled with famous structures and the Firth of Fourth Railway Bridge is in there. Since it’s a railway bridge we didn’t get to go on it, but we could see it from the road bridge. We had to rest up because that night was the Harry Potter release! (for more details see “Getting THE BOOK” “New Harry Potter Book!” and “The Queue”)

Day Three:

On Day Three, a very rainy day and our last one in Scotland, we went to an aerospace museum, this time accompanied by Uncle Geoffrey and Cousin Emily. The museum wasn’t just any museum though. It housed, in addition to a ton of other airplanes (or aeroplanes as they say here), a real Concorde jet! Now if you have spoken to Thomas in the past few years, you probably know what a Concorde is, but for those who haven’t it is the first commercial airliner to exceed the speed of sound. Then it had an accident and they all got grounded, so they were put into museums around the world. The one we saw was called “GBOAA” so you can Google that and see pictures of it in flight. (Thomas has done this so many times that he has memorized the code and told it to me as soon as I asked.) The “Concorde Experience” at the museum cost extra, but it was the whole reason we had come so we shoveled out the cash willingly. The “Experience” consisted of going at your appointed time to the Concorde Hanger and listening to the audio guide you received. There were information points both inside and outside the “aeroplane,” so all nine of us crowded into the “toothpick” (you’ll see why it’s called that if you look at the pictures). The inside was really small, with just two seats on each side. The windows were tiny, just about 4in by 5in. Everything was grey, and there were only about 20 rows of seats. At the front of the seats there were many different measurement things displayed so that the passengers could see when they broke the sound barrier and other important things like that. After we finished listening, we milled around for a while and then saw a movie about how they transported GBOAA to the museum. Since it was grounded it could no longer fly, so instead they took it apart and put it on a combination of trains, and trucks through fields and cities. Once the movie was over, Cindy and Anthony played in the play area they had for kids. We had to leave early in order to change and get to church on time. After church we went to a nice Italian restaurant, called something like Vittoria’s, that was on the same street as the Elephant House. The next day we returned home by train.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow you did alot of stuff



August 23, 2007 8:37 PM  
Anonymous deen said...

did ne one wear a kilt there???

did u go there just recently or right before the book came out???

did you guys see the loch ness monster???

see you soon!!!


also: i don't think i can send alyssa nething on her new email address, just like i can't email sophie, just in case alyssa was wondering...

August 24, 2007 2:06 PM  
Anonymous delilah said...

oh shoot.. we can talk on sophies blog...
must have something to do with at&t

August 26, 2007 7:40 PM  
Blogger jgraf said...

kilts are traditional for special occasions- like dress robes
we went right before the book came out
apparently loch ness is really boring and its far away too so we didn't go
i'm really far behind blogging, so we've done this stuff like a month earlier. I'm in trouble with my mom !!!

August 28, 2007 10:56 AM  

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