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    Merry Christmas Edinburgh ! Merry Christmas Scotland !!

    Whether you live in Edinburgh,

    in Scotland,

    in France, Canada or everywhere in the world,

    We wish you all, dear readers,

    a merry, MERRY Christmas !

    Un très très Joyeux Noël !

     

    And believe me, one of the best places to spend Christmas is Scotland ! I can tell you that because one year ago we were there and we’ll never forget the magic of these days.

     

    Merry Christmas Edinburgh Royal Botanic Garden © 2019 Scotiana

    Merry Christmas Edinburgh Royal Botanic Garden © 2019 Scotiana

    Our winter journey in Scotland  began on 12th December 2019 and it ended on 11 January 2020. But has it ended actually? It was such a wonderful birthday gift from my family! I will never cease to thank them all for that priceless gift and to thank Margaret and Iain for the wonderful time we spent together in Thirlestane Castle with its lovely Christmas tree  sparkling with colours and lights. It seems that it was yesterday even if  a whole eternity seems to have passed since these unforgettable times.  And to think that we came back from Scotland just before the start of that damned covid pandemic! Who could have imagined, one year ago, what was going to happen  in Scotland, France, Quebec and all over the world … let’s hope  that a whole eternity won’t pass before we can go back to la Belle Alba!

    I’m so happy, however, to learn that this year, in spite of the pandemy, the Royal Botanic Garden will stay open for Christmas and also the Scran & Scallie restaurant, two nice places which contributed so much to enchant our last Christmas times in Edinburgh !

    Thirlestane Castle Christmas tree © 2019 Scotiana

    Thirlestane Castle Christmas tree © 2019 Scotiana

    Scotland in winter Dunfermline cathedral © 2019 Scotiana

    Scotland in winter Dunfermline cathedral © 2019 Scotiana

    In the morning of December 24th – day 13 of our winter journey in Scotland –  we started from the William Wallace Apartment where we had stayed for three days and took the direction of Edinburgh. After a short walk up and down the cobbled streets of the picturesque village of Culross and a little tour around Dunfermline Abbey and Cathedral we drove on to the capital city.

    After getting the keys to David’s apartment where Nathalie had found accommodation for the three of us in West End Victorian, not far from the Royal Botanic Garden and as we had much time to spend before the hour of our reservation to discover the Botanic Garden in its most festive atmosphere, we decided to go and walk along the Royal Mile …

     

    Edinburgh Princes Street Gardens Christmas market © 2019 Scotiana

    Edinburgh Princes Street Gardens Christmas market © 2019 Scotiana

    The whole city had put its Christmas festive clothes… it was absolutely wonderful!

    Edinburgh Princes Garden Christmas market Walter Scott Monument © 2019 Scotiana

    Edinburgh Princes Garden Christmas market Walter Scott Monument © 2019 Scotiana

    Scotland in Winter Edinburgh Canongate Jerseys & Crafts © 2019 Scotiana

    Scotland in Winter Edinburgh Canongate Jerseys & Crafts © 2019 Scotiana

    Scotland in Winter Edinburgh Canongate Jerseys & Crafts Teddy Bears © 2019 Scotiana

    Scotland in Winter Edinburgh Canongate Jerseys & Crafts Teddy Bears © 2019 Scotiana

    Scotland in Winter Edinburgh Canongate Jerseys & Crafts Harry Potter © 2019 Scotiana

    Scotland in Winter Edinburgh Canongate Jerseys & Crafts Harry Potter © 2019 Scotiana

    One of our favourite shops on the Royal Mile… before becoming Canongate Jerseys & Crafts it was called “Crafts Celtic Knitwear”…

    Christmas at Botanics

    • 18 h:  at last,  it was time to go and immerse in the magic of Christmas at the Botanics… true fairyland…  WAOUH ! Don’t miss the video at the end of my post. Its author did capture the magic of the place…
    Edinburgh Christmas at the Botanics header

    Edinburgh Christmas at the Botanics header

    Edinburgh Christmas at the Botanics - Palm House 2© 2019 Scotiana

    Edinburgh Christmas at the Botanics – Palm House 2© 2019 Scotiana

     

    Edinburgh Botanics Christmas tree © 2019 Scotiana

    Edinburgh Botanics Christmas tree © 2019 Scotiana

    Edinburgh Christmas at the Botanics blue tree© 2019 Scotiana

    Edinburgh Christmas at the Botanics blue tree© 2019 Scotiana

     

    Christmas at Botanics Edinburgh gifts under the trees © 2019 Scotiana

    Christmas at Botanics Edinburgh gifts under the trees © 2019 Scotiana

    Christmas at Botanics Edinburgh changing colours 1 © 2019 Scotiana

    Christmas at Botanics Edinburgh changing colours 1 © 2019 Scotiana

     

    Christmas at Botanics Edinburgh changing colours 2 © 2019 Scotiana

    Christmas at Botanics Edinburgh changing colours 2 © 2019 Scotiana

    The magical, after-dark, illuminated trail

    Now in its fourth year, surround yourself with sparkle as the after dark trail lights up for 2020. You’ll find new moments to share with friends and family – brand new bright lights for winter nights.

    Enter into a botanical world festooned with seasonal cheer enhanced by a soundtrack of festive classics. Wander beneath unique tree canopies drenched in Christmas colour. There are hidden surprises too.

    Immerse yourself within bouncing lines of light in the laser garden and discover giant luminescent sculptures rising high into the night sky. There are giant baubles and snowflakes where you least expect them and clusters of trees wrapped in ever-changing ribbons of colour. Inverleith House springs to life with choreographed beams of light dancing across its historic façade and the tunnel of light returns with twinkling splendour.

    This year, why not pause for a moment of quiet reflection at the fire garden, aglow with hundreds of flickering flames.

    Have yourself a merry little Christmas and complete your walk under the stars with mulled wine and hot chocolate*. Don’t forget to watch out for Father Christmas along the way.

    Edinburgh Botanics at Christmas © 2019 Scotiana

    Edinburgh Botanics at Christmas © 2019 Scotiana

    Edinburgh Christmas at the Botanics - Palm House 1© 2019 Scotiana

    Edinburgh Christmas at the Botanics – Palm House 1© 2019 Scotiana

    • 21 h 30 Scran & Scallie

    The Scran & Scallie restaurant Edinburgh

    The Scran & Scallie restaurant in Edinburgh

    The Scran & Scallie restaurant in Edinburgh

     

    Edinburgh Scran & Scallie restaurant ale pie © 2019 Scotiana

    Edinburgh Scran & Scallie restaurant ale pie © 2019 Scotiana

     

    Edinburgh Scran & Scannie restaurant cheese cake & vanilla ice cream © 2019 Scotiana

    Edinburgh Scran & Scannie restaurant cheese cake & vanilla ice cream © 2019 Scotiana

    Christmas in Edinburgh -The French trio © 2019 Scotiana

    Christmas in Edinburgh -The French trio © 2019 Scotiana

    25-12-2019 : Wednesday – Day 14/31 – CHRISTMAS !

    Arthur’s Seat

    A sunny day ! Le jour rêvé… friendly people everywhere smiling, full of enthusiasm and ready to climb up !   WAOUH !

    Edinburgh Holyrood car park © 2019 Scotiana

    Edinburgh Holyrood car park © 2019 Scotiana

    The three of us, Jean-Christophe (our son), Jean-Claude and me had found a place on the Holyrood car park and we started climb up on the mythical path of Arthur’s Seat… we’ve been wanting to do this for years. We wouldn’t have time enough to reach the summit because we had a reservation for the Harry Potter Tour at 14 h… but it was a lovely walk and to see Edinburgh from up there… no words !

    Christmas in Edinburgh our mascots on Arthur's Seat path © 2019 Scotiana

    Christmas in Edinburgh our mascots on Arthur’s Seat path © 2019 Scotiana

    The mascots and the photographer… not feeling dizzy… the cliff is not far 😉

    Edinburgh Arthur's Seat path JCh and mascots © 2019 Scotiana

    Edinburgh Arthur’s Seat path JCh and mascots © 2019 Scotiana

    Harry Potter Tour: a well expected and anticipated tour with the most interesting and friendly guide !

    It was Christmas and most shops, bars and restaurants were closed ! How happy we were to be able to stop at the overcrowded Starbucks Coffee to have a quick lunch before beginning the long Harry Potter Tour. Many thanks to our guide for having accepted to lead us on our periple on the very day of Christmas. He was very enthusiastic and so it was a pleasure for us. There were six of us, including our guide, a small group tour and that was great too. No need to say he was a fan of Harry Potter and J. K. Rowling, quite an erudite in fact! He loved ghost stories too and we could share our favourite stories during downtime, not much! ;-). It was a very interesting tour and great to discover mysterious Edinburgh and new secrets about the city.  Next time, we’ve take a “ghost tour” and also a “Rebus Tour”, there are several ones… so many interesting things to do there… I wonder what can be possible in these times of Covid containment… how sad!

    Edinburgh Victoria Road © 2019 Scotiana

    Edinburgh Victoria Road © 2019 Scotiana

    Victoria Road, in the Old Town, one of the most lively and picturesque streets in Edinburgh with its paved street lined with old houses and colourful shops. How could J.K. Rowling not have been influenced by such a street to draw her famous “Diagon Alley” in Harry Potter (Chemin de Traverse in French).

    The Elephant House Edinburgh © 2012 Scotiana

    The Elephant House Edinburgh © 2012 Scotiana

    A place where J.K. Rowling used to go when she wrote Harry Potter… we can understand why, it’s such a warm and friendly place (maybe a little less quiet now for it has become very popular and sometimes it can be crowded)

    Edinburgh Greyfriars Bobby statue and pub © 2019 Scotiana

    Edinburgh Greyfriars Bobby statue and pub © 2019 Scotiana

    Another mythical place…

    Edinburgh Harry Potter Tour The Great Wizard © 2019 Scotiana

    Edinburgh Harry Potter Tour The Great Wizard © 2019 Scotiana

    “The Great Wizard Shop” was once called ‘The boy wizard’… one can find treasures there but the shop was close on Christmas Day.

    Edinburgh Victoria Road Aha Ha Ha Joke Shop © 2019 Scotiana

    Edinburgh Victoria Road Aha Ha Ha Joke Shop © 2019 Scotiana

    Aha Ha Ha Joke Shop 😉 gives itself airs of WeasleysWizard Wheezes, a joke shop also known as Weasley & Weasley in Harry Potter, founded by Fred and George Weasley and located at Number 93 Diagon Alley .

    Edinburgh Victoria Road The Museum Context © 2019 Scotiana

    Edinburgh Victoria Road The Museum Context © 2019 Scotiana

    Another place to haunt on Victoria Street… especially if you are a fan of Harry Potter. A place to find gifts for children too (and not only for children indeed). Jean and Ronan, our grandsons, are both great fans of JK Rowling books and they have even presented them in the classroom.

     

    Edinburgh Harry Potter Tour Greyfriar's Kirkyard © 2019 Scotiana

    Edinburgh Harry Potter Tour Greyfriar’s Kirkyard © 2019 Scotiana

    On the above photo our guide is taking a picture of the marker of Margaret Louisa Scrymgeour Wedderburn, whose name inspired Rufus Scrimgeour, the Minister of Magic in the final Harry Potter book. Like Tom Thumb, a well-intentioned fan of Harry Potter has placed a pumpkin at each place of interest on the Harry Potter’s Trail in Greyfriar’s Kirkyard.

    Edinburgh Greyfriar's Kirkyard and Bobby pub © 2019 Scotiana

    Edinburgh Greyfriar’s Kirkyard and Bobby pub © 2019 Scotiana

    On the left of Greyfriars Bobby pub which is situated on Candlemakers Row, the gate is open to Greyfriar’s Kirkyard, a mysterious and historical place, supposed to be haunted and where many secrets have been buried with the famous (or not so famous) people who rest here, in peace (or not…). The kirkyard is situated not far from The Elephant House  where J.K. Rowling wrote the first book of her Harry Potter series. Here, on the old and mossy tombstones, in the gloomy atmosphere of the kirkyard (sometimes the place feels more peaceful than gloomy and we can learn much from what is engraved on the stones), the writer looked for inspiration to name her characters. Obviously she did find it though it’s funny enough to learn that, for the very name of her famous hero, she had not been inspired  by the names of “Potter” engraved on the Giles stone which you can find not far from the entrance in the northern yard but by the name of two chilhood friends ;-).

    Flodden Wall in Greyfriars Kirk Edinburgh Wikimedia

     

    Edinburgh Harry Potter Tour Greyfriar's Churchyard © 2019 Scotiana

    Edinburgh Harry Potter Tour Greyfriar’s Churchyard © 2019 Scotiana

    Before he became the inspiration behind Hogwarts’ Professor Minerva McGonagall, William McGonagall happened to be a Scottish poet, though he was not famous for being the best one… Professor Minerva McGonagall is one of our favourite characters (and actresses) in Harry Potter films 😉

    McGonagall worked as a weaver and struggled to ever make any real money from his poetry. He was buried in the Kirkyard in an unmarked grave – though an inscribed slab was later installed in 1999.

    Actress Maggie Smith as Professor Minerva McGonagall in Harry Potter series

    Actress Maggie Smith as Professor Minerva McGonagall in Harry Potter series

    What a better story to read or to watch on the screen than Harry Potter, one of the most magical tales ever told by a Scottish novelist and so much influenced by the atmospheric landscapes and cityscapes of Scotland.

    Books, books, books, it would be too late now, and much too long today , to give you my Christmas selection of books but I promise to share with you, very soon, a list of my favourite books for this year,books to read by the fireside, when it is dark and cold outside…

    Again and in the name of the whole team of Scotiana,  a HAPPY Christmas to all of you, your friends and family. Take care, still more than usual!

    Next time, I will tell you about our celebration of Hogmanay in the Highlands of Scotland.

    Á bientôt. Mairiuna

     

    And my little bonus for Christmas… the happy end of “A Christmas Carol”…

    (you can find the whole movie on You Tube)

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