Destination: Edinburgh, Scotland
Date: May 2013
Edinburgh is probably the coldest place I have ever been on vacation! Okay that’s not exactly true… but we did freeze our tails off and it was already the middle of May during our visit. I truly couldn’t believe how cold it was! That was probably what took me the most by surprise.
Our second day in Scotland, was planned around our tour guide Norma. We were able to get her services through Notworthyevents.com. When we woke up a little sore, from our hard as rocks beds at the Premier Inn, we headed downstairs for a 6 pound breakfast. Once we filled our bellies we met Norma in the foyer of our hotel. She was an older woman but she was delightful and we had no complaints all day.
The day was overcast and I was prepared for that with a nice big coat and a pair of warm boots but the minute we left our hotel I knew I was going to regret not having a hat, scarf, or gloves. Norma started us off on a beautiful walk through much of mid-town until we finally reached the Royal Mile. Though it took us forty minutes to walk there we actually could have done it in ten. She did show us lots of cool sites and told us interesting stories along the way so we didn’t mind, though in the back of my head I was dreaming of my hat, gloves, and scarf.
The day was all about site-seeing. We looked at the old houses of the city and learned why everything looks so dirty and right out of a Charles Dickens novel. Then we meandered up to the top of the city to the Edinburgh Castle. After a few pictures we moved on and vowed to go back to the castle at the end of our day with Norma.
Right in front of the castle is the Royal Mile. This mile connects the castle with the Palace of HolyRood House, one of Queen Elizabeth’s palaces she visits twice a year. Along this mile there are lots of sites to see, monuments to take pictures in front of, and shopping, shopping, shopping!
We saw the Museum of Edinburgh, the home of John Knox, the St. Giles Edinburgh Cathedral, the statue of David Hume the philosopher, and of Adam Smith the economist, and every kind of kilt, family crest, or plaid you could ever imagine! We were lured in to many places and bought a few things here and there. The only part of the day that wasn’t enjoyable was the sharp wind that would come through and spill the bitter cold right through my coat and down my neck. It was chilly!
Once we made it down and peered through the gates into Holyrood Abbey we started our way back up the Royal Mile on a back road that ran parallel. Going back this direction we saw the Dynamic Earth stadium, The Hispanola Restaurant (where the author, Arthur Conan Doyle, of Sherlock Holmes books often wrote his novels), the Edinburgh Law School, the Elephant House (where JK Rowlings wrote her first Harry Potter book), and the statue of Greyfriar’s Bobby. Greyfriars Bobby is a statue of a little scottish dog who stayed at his dead masters grave for fourteen years after the masters death. It was a sweet story but one I found a little hard to believe. What can I say I’m a little cynical.
It was all fascinating and exhausting. Once we finished our three hour tour with Norma we said our goodbyes and ran off to find a restaurant for lunch. I was excited to eat at the Witchery restaurant but was turned away since we didn’t have any reservations and we were there on a Saturday afternoon. Instead we settled for the Thai Orchid and actually had a very delicious meal right there next to the Castle of Edinburgh.
From there our group split and some headed into the castle to see the Crown Jewels of Scotland. Though these are not as impressive as the English jewels they are older and hold a great sense of pride the the Scots. Next to the crown jewels is the Stone of Scone which is the coronation stone of the ancient Scottish Kings back in the ninth century. The other part of our group had to find more appropriate shoes (ie boots) to finish the day in the freezing cold we were enduring. Since I had given up on any kind of fashion, I threw the hoodie of my parka up over my head and moved forward with my wimpy umbrella to face the cold rain of the day.
Our last stop of our tour was trying to see the Queen’s ship the Britannia. This is the same ship that Princess Diana and Prince Charles sailed on during their honeymoon. Unfortunately, we arrived too late for the tour since we thought it closed at 6pm but were informed it actually had closed at 4pm. So instead we looked for another restaurant and settled on Cafe Domenico an Italian Restaurant. It turned out to be a great way to end the evening. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was intimate. In all it was a fast paced and exciting day!
As always have safe, happy and this time warmer travels!!!