Scotland. The land of the kilt.

 

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No cliches here about Scotland.  They’ve all been done to death.  Now lets talk about the weather!  It was about 3:30 -ish as we drove down a fairly steep decline to drive into the town.  One way streets, huge bank of cars and the fog had just come down to greet us. Thank you Summer!  We were looking for a place to drop the bags off, as it started to rain down on us. We were on the “Royal Mile”.  It was supposed to be a good location for an Airbnb apartment we were staying in.  I have to admit, I didn’t know what the “Royal Mile” was.

Edinburgh_15Now I do.  It is the mile of road located between Edinburgh Castle and the Palace Holyroodhouse (the Scottish residency of the Royal Family). It is also the busiest section of road in Scotland, covered in very old and undulating bricks (I won’t call them cobblestones).  We found a place where we illegally parked to dump and run and went to find a carpark.  We drove about 2-3 miles (in mostly circles) along the one way roads and found our park. We walked back to where everyone was standing in the rain. The walk was only 500 yards but steep up a hill!  We found are apartment and climbed the staircase, which was hidden behind a small door on on the Royal Mile.  The staircase was almost a ladder. It was small, steep and difficult to ascend with 20+ kg of luggage each.  But we managed.  The apartment was old, (although refurbished in areas), was a little like a warren of hallways and rooms, but it was ‘okay’.  Certainly not “The Threshing Barn“.  The beds were small, the mattresses were springy but we were comfortable enough.  The rain slowed down and we were able to make our way up and down the Royal Mile for a tourist visit.

Julia had on her bucket list, a tour of The “Real Mary King Close Tour“.  It is a tour under the old government buildings where previous lives were lived, through the settlement of Edinburgh and the days around the black plague in the mid 1600’s. A tour that I recommend to all if they do come to this town.  The tour is full of actual accounts of Real people in those hard times

A tired and restless sleep we woke the next morning and went out separate ways for a good portion of the day.

  • Group 1: Julia, Trevor and Steven
  • Group 2: Stephen and Jane
  • Group 3: Tracy

We started off at the same place for breakfast (The Edinburgh Lader).  Literally the best eggs I have ever been served.  Scot from Scotland was our waiter.  I said no cliches didn’t I?  Sorry.  He was brilliant.  Friendly, funny and very helpful.  I recommend this place for meals.

Holyroodhouse_01We then split up.  Tracy did come with us for a short time, as we made our way to the Palace of Holyroodhouse.  There is a lovely cafe at the front/side of the entrance where Jane ordered a very royal cup of coffee.  We didn’t decided not to take a long walking tour through the palace, because we were intending to walk back up the ‘mile’ and look through Edinburgh Castle.  This was probably a mistake in hindsight.  However, this was the choice we made, but I did get to visit the Gallery Exhibition to view “Masters of the everyday: Dutch Artists in the Age of Vermeer” which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Holyroodhouse_05

We made our way back up the mile (where we bumped into the Dansies) and we did some present buying, including a purchase of my new hat.  I love my hat 🙂  Several photo’s on the way, including a beautiful little close that Jane had spied.  White Horse Close is a hidden gem of a group of houses, actually on the Royal Mile.

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Bow before your king!

There are many buskers on the Royal Mile, from beggars to bagpipe players, witches mysteriously floating above the cobbles, and a certain “King Robert Bruce” we spied just before entering the castle.  Jane struck up a very find conversation with the Mel Gibson lookalike before posing for a photo with him.  He was raising money for Leukaemia and had just had an altercation with an 80 year old woman who took exception to him yelling out.  “Bow before your king you dog!”.  He insisted a dog had just walked past.

A donation from both Jane and I, and we continued on to where (apparently) the Sovereign Leader resided.

It was about 3:30 -ish at this time.  The fog was starting to roll in again.  Is this a standard thing here in Edinburgh?  This was SUMMER!!

We slowly made our way up the castle and through some of the very many nooks and cranny’s that these castle are built from.  We certainly didn’t go through every area.  We where starting to tire a little from the days activities.  We’d been walking most of the day at this stage.  I know it sounds like we didn’t do a lot.  But I can assure you…

We finished the day, catching up with our friends and eating some fine Thai Food.  A terrible nights sleep, but an accomplished stop in a lovely, old part of the United Kingdom.  I wish we could have stayed longer.

Kitchen

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Kitchen

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