Tuesday, August 30, 2016


August 30, 2016

When I booked my tour from Eastbourne to Edinburgh, I was a little surprised that a tattoo exhibition was made there ! I hate tattoos ! But, I thought, while they are visiting the exhibition, I can visit Edinburg which I had already seen in 2013. But then I discovered that the "Tattoo" was something completely different. Fortunately I wasn't the only European who had thought the same, when I met French and Belgian people.

I can only say the show was really extremely good ! Showcasing music, dance and display from around the world, the 2016 showpiece event was set to pay tribute to The Queen's 90th birthday while celebrating 'Tunes of Glory'

With the unforgettable sight and sound of the Massed Pipes and Drums performing against the brooding backdrop of Edinburgh Castle, the spectacular production included, amongst others, the New Zealand Army Band and Lochiel Marching Drill Team, in the company of the King's Guard from Norway, the Imps Motorcycle Display Team alongside the Royal Jordanian Armed Forces Band and Drill Team. There also was an American fancy Army band with a song from Elvis Presley. So  it wasn't only backpipes playing the whole evening long. (History of the Edinburg Tattoo)

We had very good places and a very good view too.

and then it started with trumpets

The first once marching out

The tribunes were packed

and here are a few pictures I could take with my little camera

There were also girl's groups performing

and I even made this little video

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


The second day of our tour we stopped in Bo'ness  to ride on this old steam train through the very green landscape. Unfortunately the day was a little grey but even so our eyes hurt with all this green and afterwards somebody baptized this journey "the green trip". Not even a white cow or some sheep interrupted the green trees and grass.

The Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway is a heritage railway in Bo'ness, near Edinburgh, Scotland. It is operated by the Scottish Railway Preservation Society, and operates a total of over 8 km (5 miles) of track (between Bo'ness and Manuel Junction, via Kinneil and Birkhill),

Besides the green landscape we expected to see something special, but after the 8 km the train stopped and made the same way back with another steam engine.

Fortunately the station was very nice and time had stood still here

I had never thought that a station could look real cute

There were pick nick tables but unfortunately it was a little too cold for that.

There also was a restaurant and a shop.

Very old luggages showed us with what people used to travel !

Unfortunately the museum was closed.

After having admired the old engines, and walked a little around we quickly returned to our warm bus, it was really cold this day in August !


When I was about 13-14 at school we talked about Gretna Green. I don't know who introduced this subject but you could read about it everywhere in the newspapers. At that age we were very romantic and in this town you could get married without the permission of your parents from age 16 on !

We hadn't heard very much from Las Vegas but Gretna Green was in ! How romantic to run away with your beloved to Scotland and get married ! (and the fathers running breathless behind) So my imagination. Of course when I read that on my tour to Edinburgh Tattoo we would stop there, I was more interested in Gretna Green then in the Tattoo !

And this is the history of Gretna Green :

According to English laws, couples had to reach the age of 21 before they could marry without their parents' consent and their marriage had to take place in a church.

Scottish law however was different: you could marry on the spot, in a simple 'marriage by declaration', or 'handfasting' ceremony, only requiring two witnesses and assurances from the couple that they were both over the age of 16 and free to marry.

With such a relaxed arrangement within reach of England it soon led to the inevitable influx of countless thousands of young couples running-away to marry over the border. Gretna Green was the first village in Scotland and conveniently situated on the main route from London into Scotland.

So not only English couples hurried to Scotland but also European once.

The run-away weddings began in the Blacksmiths Shop which was the first building couples reached in Gretna Green. It very quickly became synonymous as a hot bed of scandal and intrigue with many daughters from respectable families choosing to flee here to "marry a scoundrel". The 'Anvil Priests' would perform the ceremony for "a wee dram or a few guineas" depending on your status and financial standing. The hammering of the anvil soon became a notorious sound; romantically it is said that like the metals he forged, the Blacksmith would join couples together in the heat of the moment but bind them for eternity.

Over the years, the Famous Blacksmiths Shop became Gretna Green's best-known marriage venue, with the Blacksmith, and his legendary anvil, becoming synonymous with Gretna Green weddings.

Even today it is a very attractive place to marry ! Everything is organized, you pay a "package". In my bus there were two couples who had recently celebrated their daughter's wedding here in Gretna Green.

Some photos of the village :

Here the weddings took and take place

The old forge

Horse shoe decoration

Entrance to the museum. Unfortunately I had no time to visit.


About Me

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I love painting, writing, travelling and photography. My favorit models are cats which I observe with fun and humor. I am German, married to an Italian and we live in Waterloo (15 km from Brussels) / Belgium since many years. Waterloo is a famous place to many tourists, because Napoleon lost his battle here against Wellington and other European countries.


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