Edinburgh - CastleJanuary 6 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☁️ 8 °C
Ugh what a horrible night of sleep. I tossed and turned all night, the room was hot and 12 people breathing made it that much hotter. Thank god no one closed the window I opened. Took off again for another six hour jaunt. Went to Calton Hill, National cemetery where Famous Scots Robbie Burns and Sir Walter Scott are both buried. Found the super expensive and ritzy George St. Shopping district, the National Records of Scotland and then headed off to the National Gallery. The gallery even had my favorite painter Raphael exhibited. Had an early dinner of fish and chips and so expensive. Tomorrow there is rain in the forecast and do I am going to the castle museum. My flight is booked for Faro, Portugal for Tuesday and I will be heading to 17 Celsius temperatures-so looking forward to some heat and sunshine.Read more
Blue skies again in Edinburgh. Walked to the Royal Yacht Britannia and had a lovely couple of hours wandering around the ship. The ship was decommissioned in 1997, after 43 years service. It was nice to see the less formal furnishings on the ship. The Royal family definitely must have relaxed aboard the ship as seen in the many family photos displayed. After having luncheon in the tea room we went by bus to the city to take some time out walking around the gardens.
We walked through Princes Street Gardens then went over Dean Bridge hoping to walk along the Leith River or Dean Gardens. There was no access to these parks or Queens Park unless you lived in the catchment area and paid £115 a year for a key to unlock the gates.Read more
A bit of a late start to the day, I was trying to work out where to go next as I want to spend more time in Scotland.
I had intended to visit the castle first but the bus I got on was going in the wrong direction so I went to the Dynamic Earth instead.
This is an amazing place, a museum I suppose. It looks at the geology of the earth and makes it very interesting.
I started by going back in time with their time machine and then gradually came back to the present day though a series of rooms and experiences. The temperature of the room varied according to the theme of the room. I got to experience an "earthquake", I didn't realise the ground shook from side to side rather than up and down although if I'd ever given it much thought.
If you are in Edinburgh I recommend you visit!
I then made my way to the castle. The area outside the castle is very interesting. I detoured to see one of the buildings restored to the Georgian era.
It was nice to see a more or less complete castle instead of a ruin! There was so much to see and I'm sure I missed bits.
In the "time machine" at Dynamic Earth
Saber tooth tiger
Owl on the Royal mile
Stained glass window in St Margaret's Chapel
Bloke playing bagpipes on the Royal mileRead more
Booked into a different hostel this morning 50 m away from Edinburgh Castle. The place is full and I'm in a dorm of 12. I walked and saw the sights for 6 hours today. Saw so much. Went to Holyrood Palace where the queen stays when she is in Scotland. Booked my flight to Faro, Portugal for the 10th as I have decided to go somewhere warmer and cheaper. Went out to a local pub tonight right next door and met some super friendly Scots. The pub was a sea of men! I had three Scots join me and we talked and laughed for two hours. They thought I was 21 and what a great compliment. I never thought Edinburgh would be so great. The people of Scotland are truly funny and so warm. More walking tomorrow and more sights to see. I actually saw the sea from the castle today.Read more
Today, we conquered Edinburgh Castle, from the inside this time. Our local guide, Rita, had many fascinating stories, such as describing how the Scottish Crown Jewels were buried in a cellar under the tower to hide them from Hitler, should he invade. We walked the streets of the Old Town, where the buildings might have eight floors, with the poor people in the bottom, wealthy above, but all sharing the same entrance door.Read more
After sleeping for 11 hours, we got up and made breakfast and got out the door around 9 to make our way up the Royal Mile (a rather kitchy, but essential part of any Edinburgh visit). It's the original high street with lots of old buildings and closes and cobblestone streets. It starts with the Edinburgh Castle on top overlooking the city all the way down to Holyrood Palace where the royals stay when in town (and the queen and Her Majesty's hubby were in residence- so we couldn't tour it). We arrived at the castle with our pre-bought tickets (the line was insane- internet people!) and walked straight through. The castle has been built on for centuries starting as a fort in the first century and slowly built on with a great hall and an 18th century residence and other museums and such. It was a really interesting place with a great military museum and a rich history. Eventually we had enough of that and found our way to The Elephant House cafe where JK Rowling wrote the Harry Potter series. I was expecting a bunch of nerdy Harry Potter fans, but I think everyone was trying to be like me and pretend you didn't know where you were. We had a nice coffee and salted caramel brownie in the back room where she wrote her books with a great view of the castle (no doubt Hogwarts inspiration). After that we walked about the royal mile, chatted with shop owners, and found side streets to get lost in. We eventually made it to the new Scottish Parliment Building that's quite possibly the ugliest building I've ever seen (it cost 450 million pounds to build- 400 over budget and may be torn down soon because it's too expensive to maintain apparently) and then across the street to Holyrood Palace to catch a little glimpse at the gate. We walked to our flat for a rest and then walked some more down Queens Street (a major shopping area) around the back of the castle to The Beehive Inn for some pub grub. After walking so much is was perfect to sit in an authentic pub with rowdy people yelling at Wimbledon and eat a Steak and Ale Pie with mash. The side rooms with their deep tweed chairs and fireplaces was just the right vibe. We meandered back down the windy hilly streets back to our flat to make a decaf and eat some coconut ice cream with the BBC news before we hit the sack.Read more
I took the city bus to downtown and then arranged for hop-on bus tickets. Interestingly, when I went to the cash machine it gave me a different currency based upon British pounds. I now know that Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Great Britain are part of the United Kingdom but I didn't expect a separate currency. When I asked the visitor center person about it she explained it was Scottish currency and backed by the Scottish bank. I found it interesting. It would be like Washington having its own currency..... Explored the Grassmarket area which is shops, restaurants and bookstore. Had Lunch at the Petit Paris restaurant and had the best French Onion soup and Lamb stew. It was delicious. www.petitparis-restaurant.co.uk. Also found "The Knights Vault" which was selling movie swords and handmade items. www.theknightsvault.com. Finally, checked out the "Old Town Bookstore". A small quaint bookstore with stacks of books and other artwork. http://www.oldtownbookshop-edinburgh.co.uk/ After exploring Grassmarket I hopped on the bus and explored more of the city. It was cold and rainy today with a teasing of snow. If it was a few degrees colder I bet it would be snowing. Not a lot of photos from today.Read more
Made it to the castle. It was a wet but sunny day and lots of tourists. Pretty amazing site which they have dated back to 600 AD or so. The earliest parts of the castle date from the 1100's with much of it having been restored several times through the centuries after being destroyed.
Scottish coat of arms, interesting statues in front of the war memorial. No photos allowed in the memorial. It contains sections and books which list all the Scotts who were lost in battle. A nice memorial and remembrance for the Scottish people. https://www.snwm.org/
You might also know this place by the following names: