Yes, I know this post is at least two weeks late. Sorry about that but I’m retired ya know and can’t be but so bothered by deadlines. LOL
After saying goodbye to our wonderful hosts Jenny and Bryan as they started their drive back to Aberdeen and a short train ride from Glasgow, we arrived in Edinburgh. After a “short” walk (mostly uphill 😢) we arrived at our hotel. Jenny turned me onto a U.K. based travel consolidator called, Secret Escapes https://www.secretescapes.com/current-sales which we used to book the 10 Hill Place Hotel at the Surgeons Quarters. https://www.tenhillplace.com/ This hotel is adjacent to Edinburgh University and from what we could gather was originally part of the Medical School. It is now a series of buildings that have been combined into a very nice hotel. The deal was 20-30% under their going room rate and added afternoon tea. Our room was very nice and the shower was incredible! Highly recommend to anyone looking for a moderately priced hotel in Edinburgh especially if you are attending anything at the Festival Theatre as it’s literally at the end of the street.
After checking in we walked through the University (founded in 1582) towards Edinburgh Castle which is at the top of “The Royal Mile”.
The mile-ish long street (actually a series of streets as it changes names several times) ends at Holyrood Castle which is the Queen’s place in Scotland.
The views from and of the castle were beautiful.
We then headed down the Royal Mile which has become tourist central. I can’t tell you how many tartan stores, kilt stores, and whisky shops there must be.
But if you look beyond the storefront or venture down in if the wynds (alleys) and into the courts behind the buildings you can imagine how it must of been 300, 400, or 500 years ago.
About a third of the way down the Mile we reached, St. Giles cathedral of the Chur h of Scotland. This is considered the mother church of Presbyterianism. It’s steeple is based on the crown of Scotland-that’s it at the top of this blog post. Interior photos weren’t allowed but below is one I found on line.
It was getting close to our tea time so we headed back to the hotel. While the tea wasn’t as wonderful as that at the Willows in Glasgow, we enjoyed it on the chilly overcast day.
It had been a long day so we ended up being lazy that evening (hmm, this appears to become a pattern) and stayed in and enjoyed our room and the bucket of ice we requested from the bar with a Diet Pepsi and some chips for a snack. After the afternoon teas we didn’t need supper. The simple things. LOL
After the huge Scottish breakfast buffet (haggis AND black pudding along with delicious scrambled eggs- no powder here!) included with our room we headed out to finish “the Mile”.
The bottom half of the mile wasn’t as touristy as the top portion just lots of beautiful buildings!
The last building before Holyrood Palace is the new Scottish Parliament building. We had hoped to go in but alas it was closed to visitors the day we were there. The architect says that he was trying to reference Scotland’s natural geography with the unusual windows which relate to the rocky outcroppings and the sunscreens which harken to the forests.
Directly across the street is Holyrood Palace. Since we had just had tea with Her Majesty at her main trailer we elected to not go inside to see her second ( thirty-third?) home but instead just walked around outside the gates.
But wait, we didn’t completely give up on seeing the Queen while in Scotland. We next headed to her former floating palace the Royal Yacht Britannia which is now docked at Leith. Similar to the Docklands in London, this part of Edinburgh is becoming the site of new and contemporary offices, hotels and residences.
The yacht is accessed through a large shopping mall which like those in the US seems to be dying. But Britannia was very popular and given the amount of space given over ashore to hold crowds I was very glad we were here off season.
The yacht is beautiful and gives you an idea of what Royal life at sea must of been like in the 50s and 60s.
I was impressed by the specially designed storage areas aboard-they even had room for the car!
While not as fancy as the Royal rooms the officers and crew aboard had it pretty good. Their bunk rooms were tight and not private but there were several bars and dining rooms aboard for them. We took a selfie at the crew bar with the fake beer Nd fake corgi and Mike tried on several of the crew’s caps.
The exhibit also includes the Royal Barge which was used to render ashore (hmm, maybe the cruise lines could learn a lesson?) and the Royals’s racing yachts. The barge was refurbished by a few of Britannia’s now retired crew for the Queen’s Jubilee in 2011. That’s a picture found on Google of Liz and Phil leading the 1000 boat flotilla down the Thames.
After saying good bye and thanking HRM, we walked around the quays in Leith in search of a late lunch.
Our friends Peggy and Lowell had HIGHLY recommended that we have a pot of mussels at Mussell Inn but unfortunately it was 30 minutes away and was going to be closed so we ended up having our pot of mussels, bowls of Cullen Skink and a local libation at a pub on the Quay while sitting outside in the glorious sunshine. Quite the change from the dreary day before.
After our great late (very) lunch we headed back towards the hotel and called it another lazy evening. Mike went out at one point and bought us some meat pies for a little snack while I packed us up. Tomorrow (well ok we went the next day but who knows when I’ll get around to blogging about it) it’s Dublin and our first visit to Ireland. I sure hope this won’t be our last to Scotland.