May 2001: Edinburgh, Glasgow and London
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland and the seat of the Scottish Parliament. It is the second largest city in Scotland and the seventh most populous in the UK. Edinburgh Castle dominates the skyline from its position atop the volcanic Castle Rock.
Joe wears his Miracle Hat at Edinburgh Castle. Human habitation of the site is dated back as far as the 9th century BC. There has been a royal castle here since the reign of David I in the 12th century.
There are a lot of small shops with clever names along and near The Royal Mile - a succession of streets forming the main thoroughfare of Old Town Edinburgh.
Remember the SNL Scottish Shop sketch with Mike Myers? "If it's not Scottish, it's CRAP!"

We saw lots of America-themed merchandise in Edinburgh's many retail stores. The Old Town Burger King invited us to buy a combo meal and get a free Simpsons figure. We were urged to "Collect 'em All!" - that sure sounds like an American phrase, not a Scottish one.

A figure of the Scottish buffoon, Groundskeeper Willy was noticeably absent from 'The Simpsons' figurine offerings. Hmmmmm.

I spotted this Tartan plaid taxi near the railway station in Edinburgh. We arrived in Edinburgh on The Flying Scotsman, a train which has been traveling from London to Edinburgh since 1862.

The free market has come to British railroads. After decades of national British Rail ownership, the entire rail system is being privatized. The rails and infrastructure are owned by an entity called Railtrack which raises capital by private-sector funding.

The trains and routes themselves are owned by a number of competing private companies - including Virgin Trains - another of balloonist Richard Branson's companies (Virgin Airlines, Virgin Records, Virgin Megastores, Virgin Cola, Virgin Phone, Virgin Bank, etc.). Virgin Trains is currently using repainted and refurbished British Rail trains but has new trains on order, including high-speed trains which will travel at speeds over 125 mph.

We traveled from Glasgow to London on a Virgin Train and it was a delightful experience. Service and meals were excellent - much better than the old British Rail. Competition breeds improvement.

Carol poses with an Edinburgh Castle guard. Despite their uniform kilts and Scottish brogues, Edinburgh Castle's guards are in the service of the queen and the United Kingdom, and continue a centuries-long tradition of the castle as a military installation. One of the oldest locomotives on display at the Glasgow Museum of Transport, this Highland Railway Jones Goods (4-6-0) steamer was built in 1894. At the time, it was the most powerful main line engine in the country. Fifteen were constructed; this is the sole survivor.

Scotland's Glasgow Museum of Transport was established in 1964; it is located in the city's Kelvin Hall.
Vintage trolley cars, trucks, trains and automobiles are on display at the Museum of Transport in Glasgow.
At the Museum of Transport, several large vintage steam locos were exhibited.
Carol stands next to a 1961 Jaguar Mark II saloon at the Glasgow Museum of Transport.
The Glasgow Subway is the town's underground metro line. It opened in 1896 and is the third-oldest underground system in the world. The cars are noticeably smaller than most subway cars. The little orange cars run in a circle, giving rise to the line's nickname: A Clockwork Orange.
Carol stands near a Clockwork Orange Underground stop with the University of Glasgow's Gilbert Scott Building in the background - easily identified by its distinctive tower and spire
Glasgow's Buchanan Street is one of the main shopping thoroughfares in Scotland's largest city. Situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands, Glasgow is one of the largest seaports in Britain.
Carol stands at Trafalgar Square in central London. At the square's center is Nelson's Column, which is guarded by four lion statues at its base. Since we had visited London several times in the past, we didn't take many photos of the city's usual iconic landmarks.
This view across the River Thames from South London shows St. Paul's Cathedral and the London Millennium Footbridge, a steel suspension pedestrian bridge linking Bankside with the City. When the bridge first opened in 2000, Londoners nicknamed the bridge the "Wobbly Bridge" after participants in a charity walk felt an unexpected and uncomfortable swaying motion. It was later modified to eliminate the condition.
Joe has ancestors with this surname and thought he might be distantly related to these blokes, who are the kings of utility and transit contracting - employing almost 1,500 people. In construction-clogged London, we observed their logos on utility vans and big lorries everywhere we traveled.
Carol stands on the South bank of the Thames with St. Paul's Cathedral in the background. The cathedral is one of the most famous and most recognizable sights of London, with its dome dominating the skyline for 300 years. At 365 feet high, it was the tallest building in London from 1710 to 1962. St. Paul's is the second largest church building in the UK.
A pair of Eurostar trains await departure from Waterloo International Station in London to Paris, France. The high-speed (186 mph) railway service traverses the Channel Tunnel between England and France. I took this photo shortly before we boarded. Goodbye, UK - we're off to Paris.

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