Travel Thursdays – S1E15- Edinburgh, Scotland

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Started this post very late on Tuesday and was too tired to finish. Then no internet on Wednesday thus Travel Thursday 🙂

I am just finishing up a delightful six days in Edinburgh, Scotland. My girls and their guys joined me for family vacation 2013. We did a lot of walking, wandering, and exploring. We visited a few of the “must sees”. We didn’t see it all but we saw and experienced wonderful places while spending time together. Doesn’t get better than that.

We rented an apartment on the Royal Mile. The Royal Mile is the road that runs from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace. There are many historical sites, shops, restaurants, and street performers. On our first full day here we walked from our apartment to Holyrood Palace. The royal standard was flying meaning the Queen was in residence. We didn’t see her but it was fun to think we could have. From Holyrood Palace we walked over to Arthur’s Seat and climbed the “hill”. Wow!! What a beautiful view of the city. Wow! I am out of shape!?! We made it up the mountain but to the top was much further than any of others wanted to go so we descended the other side and headed in the direction of Sheep Heid Inn, the oldest pub in Edinburgh. There was a little wandering but the walk even though long was very scenic and we did eventually make our way to the Inn. Besides being the oldest pub in Edinburgh it was recently featured on the Amazing Race. The food was delicious and the journey back to our apartment was not as long as feared.

Our second day was more walking and included New Town. New Town is on the other side of Princes Street Gardens and down hill from the castle mound. When Old Town was becoming too overcrowded the wealthy moved to the lower land and built impressive sandstone homes. That was between 1765 – 1850. New is a relative term. The Royal Botanical Gardens were a short walk from New Town. Short is a relative term as well. The Royal Botanical Gardens were lovely and offered shady areas to pause before exploring more paths, ponds and patches of flowers.

I assumed the third day would be more sitting than walking but actually it was a perfect balance of sitting and walking. We took a bus tour of the Highland Lochs, Glens and a Whiskey Distillery. Our bus driver and tour guide was named Sarah. She offered excellent information and was a good storyteller. The tour was only 16 people. It really had a wonderful balance of time spent on the bus and time spent exploring the sights. An interesting little occurrence, we drove through Dunblane within moments of Andy Murray winning Wimbledon. Dunblane was where Andy Murray attended primary and high school. Our Scottish tour guide was very excited about his win.

Our fourth day included the Royal Yacht Britannia. We took public transportation to the Ocean Terminal and then followed the signs to the second floor. After wandering for a moment, I remembered that the in the UK the first floor is the ground floor so we still needed to go up one more flight. Oh, the little things can confuse you when traveling. Later in the day was more walking to explore the side streets off the Royal Mile.

Tuesday was visit the Castle with my second cousin (or is it first cousin once removed). Amazing views from castle mound. A piece of historical trivia for you, Edinburgh Castle looks like the perfect castle- built up high so you can see your enemies coming. There was only one problem. They couldn’t dig a well deep enough to get enough water so if they were under siege they had to surrender or die of thirst. I also ventured with my cousin and her hubby to Rosslyn Abby. Very interesting. The tour guide was excellent. She presented the information and allowed you to draw your own conclusions. Rosslyn Abby has many stories/legends regarding templar knights, freemasons and Dan Brown books. Before the Da Vinci Code was written they had maybe 30,000 visitors a year. Since they have at least a 1,000 a day.

We (not necessarily me) enjoyed local delicacies. Kyle and Scott both had Haggis. Of course fish and chips was consumed. In 2013, it isn’t served in newspaper. Emily and I had scones and clotted cream. Ice cream cones with a flake were eaten more than once. Pots of tea for the ladies and a little whiskey for the men. And British chocolate – yummy!

Wednesday meant the end of family vacation. I am so grateful to have been able to spend a week with my girls and their guys. I was blest to explore new places and revisit sights with new eyes. Farewell, Scotland. I hope to be back. Now onto Oxford my birthplace.

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