|Edinburgh [Edin-burra], Scotland's capital, is a lovely old city on an inlet from the North Sea (the firth [estuary] of the river Forth]. It has elegant streets, cobbled alleys [closes], lovely squares and masses of gorgeous architecture, some of which is so blackened from age it is difficult to appreciate the details and craftsmanship. We spent our day in Old Town.
First we took a hop-on-off bus for the ride (2 miles) to tour the royal yacht Britannia (launched 1953; decommissioned 1997). We had an audio wand to direct us around the 4 decks to see crews quarters to the royal quarters, including Charles and Diana's honey-moon bedroom. All of the royal quarters were lovely and so tastefully furnished.
After lunch in the nearby mall we took the hop-on-off bus into Edinburgh, getting off at the Holyroodhouse Palace at one end of the Royal Mile and walking up to the castle. Taking our time we enjoyed photographing St. Giles Cathedral and other old structures with turrets and gables. Lots of shops selling kilts, tartans and cashmere all along the mile. Opportunities to sport your clan colors (plaids) in every way abound! We reached the castle gates but decided we'd seen enough castles for a while. We then took a 40-min. ride on another bus line to see more of the city until time to meet our group for dinner.
A bus took us to the historic Prestonfield Hotel for Taste of Scotland dinner and show held in the restored stables. The meal was delicious – venison pate, brisket of beef w/ veggies, wine, raspberry mouse. During intermission of the excellent show we were served a patty of haggis on a mound of mashed potatoes with gravy. Contrary to what we've always heard about haggis, it was downright delicious prepared this way! The texture was like a fine and a bit spicy meatloaf. The show, singing and dancing, was great! A lovely evening after a good day in Edinburgh!