In and around the castle
Jul 8, 2017
|Up at a reasonable hour and hove some breakfast. A clear and warm day with just a touch of wind.
Meet he group at 8:30 and drive to downtown Edinburgh. Go around the city a bit then met with our local guide who explained how the city grew (New City in the 1800) and how the poor quality of stone made the buildings subject to quite a bit of blackening from, initially the chimney smoke (some houses had up to 24 fireplaces) and later from car and industrial pollution. The stone is difficult to clean as is wears away too easily.
Then visited several historical houses (from the outside), Sir Walter Scott, Robert Lewis Stevenson, Lister, and James Simpson, who pioneered anesthesia and figured out the right dose by using dinner guests as guinea pigs!
Then to the Palace of Holyroodhouse – where the queen was in residence until yesterday – apparently she heard we were coming. We got to look around outside the gates but not much else. Excellent view of the biggest city park – Salisbury Crags.
Then up the street to the Castle. The entry was a bit messy as they were installing seating for the Military Tattoo that occurs in August, but the main thing was the crowds. Large crowds. Many people. Lots of languages. We got in quickly as part of the tour but everywhere we went here were huge numbers of people. Hard to hear the guide even with the ear pieces, but he pointed out many of the main features – chapel, church, barracks, dungeon, the one o’clock cannon.
When he was done we wandered around a bit – war memorial to Scottish dead since WW1, oldest structure at the castle (1600s), and the recreated dungeon. We tried to go other places but lines and crowds of people made it quite hectic so we decided to leave.
We walked down the “Royal Mile” below the castle – which was full of shops and restaurants. Also full of hucksters – musicians, statues, “Dress like a Scot!” and, of course, Darth Vader. Some nice detail pieces as we walked along but we decided to head to the new town across the North Bridge Road (over the train station).
Alice was hungry so she ate at McDonalds as a quick meal. Then we wandered around town going down the walking street (rather poorly maintained) but there seemed to be some nice restaurants. Then we walked down to Princes Street and came to a Ferris wheel. Alice didn’t want to go up but decided to go anyway. We took some nice pictures as there were some really good views.
By this time we were quite tired so we decided to take a bus back to the hotel. We got on, and, after some issues with change, we got day passes as we planned to go back into the city to eat dinner. After a quick ride we were back in the hotel. I did school work and Alice took a nap.
Alice got up a bit passed 6:30 and we walked down and caught the bus to downtown. Easy ride. Got off at Castle street then walked down George street to fine some place to eat. We were interrupted in the middle by the realization that we could not buy haggis anywhere else so we went looking for a souvenir shop – and, oddly enough, we found one!
With haggis in bag we found a nice little place called “The Rosehip.” Alice got a burger and I got a chicken pie – both quite nice. They had a drink called a Lynchburg Lemonade, but that was for Tennessee, not the one in Virginia. After we wandered down the street and on to Princes Street where we got the bus back to the hotel full but exhausted. Up at 6:00 tomorrow and off to York.