A Sunday Afternoon in the ByWard Market (Ottawa)

A Sunday Afternoon in the ByWard Market (Ottawa)

On the trail of the Jacobites

I love Scotland’s history of rebellions and peace with the English! Not that I am on a quest for rebellion chronicling per se, I am a Canadian after all, but… Irish blood does run through me, and my inner fighting soul can certainly appreciate and romance somewhat William Wallace’s and Robert the Bruce’s efforts. 🙂

In any case, we arrived in Scotland, more precisely in Edinburgh (or EDinbraaaah- how I do love the accent!), a couple of days ago by train from Paddington station. Our ride was punctuated by scenic fields of yellow and green with sheep of all sizes lazily grazing under the mid-day sun. It was beautiful and relaxing. It gave me the opportunity to start reading a much overdue book, 1984 by George Orwell. Hard to believe I never took the time to read it before, but I thought it was quite appropriate at the moment since Orwell wrote most of it while sequestered on the Scottish Island of Jura.

Reading 1984 as a 40-year-old, my view of the world is sufficiently biased to accept such notions as the resignation that a system may be more powerful than its individuals even though I am one to constantly overthrow such notions. But should I have read it while in university, I’m sure my idealism of the time would have made the book an entirely different read and may well have pushed me towards philanthropy much sooner (now looking back at a 20+ years career of bureaucracy!).

Nevertheless, Edinburgh has much to offer in terms of history and architecture. I loved strolling through the old town on the Royal Mile, from the Castle all the way to Holyroodhouse where the Queen resides when in Scotland. The neoclassical or ‘Georgian’ style of the new town, by contrast, is so well planned and executed. The axis of the main cross-streets is stunning with the National Gallery centered on one end and the tall tenements of the old town on the other.

As a side note, I find Scottish traffic engineers particularly insightful by maintaining red lights for all vehicles, leaving crosswalks completely empty for pedestrians to criss-cross without fear of collision, making this a truly safe environment for all involved.

More to come as our trail continues on.

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