Friday, 29 November 2013

Exploring Greyfriars Bobby

November 30th is St Andrew's day in Scotland and Greyfriars Bobby, being set in Edinburgh, is a fitting book for the occasion especially when accompanied by the relevant Picture Book Explorers guide. The story of a small, loyal Skye terrier captured the hearts of the Victorian public and still attracts thousands of tourists every year. We were some of those tourists :)
We visited the statue, read the information board outside the Greyfriars Bobby pub and took a tour of the Kirkyard on a cold afternoon just before sunset.
It was interesting to see how many other people were there, obviously coming to see Bobby's grave and the grave of his master, Auld Jock . It was also interesting to compare the illustrations in the book by Ruth Brown with the layout of the graveyard in front of us. I think the paths have been improved since the book was written.
We saw the statue but unfortunately, didn't make it to the Museum of Edinburgh to see Bobby's bowl and collar. Instead we briefly visited the nearby National Museum of Scotland. It's well worth a visit and we would gladly have stayed longer there. My little boy, X, thoroughly enjoyed the hands-on activities in the Discovery Zone. Both Museums are free entry, although there may be charges for special exhibitions at The Museum of Edinburgh.

While we were in Edinburgh, we walked up the Royal Mile to Edinburgh Castle. It's an amazing walk at this time of year. The street is lined with open air market stall and we enjoyed some fabulous street acts, including one that was Yoda, apparently floating on thin air. We're still trying to work out how the street performer managed it.
At the Castle, we were able to see firsthand the neck of the volcano that forms the hill on which Edinburgh Castle sits. You can see it for yourself in the left-hand side of the photo below.
We didn't go into the castle, we were rather limited for time, but we did get a marvellous view of Edinburgh City from above.
Edinburgh is a lovely city to visit with children, there are lots of other museums to visit and things to do, far more than we had time for. I'd love to go and spend a weekend there in the summer and really make the most of the longer days, taking the time to explore the Old Town.

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