We afforded ourselves a leisurely start to the day since we couldn’t check into our B&B until after 10:00 am. We caught the train from the airport hotel into the city and had a 15 minute walk to find our address… eyes wide open all the way. Edinburgh is simply lovely and today was bright and sunny (we’ve been so lucky this entire vacation so far).
After checking in and chatting with the proprietor to get some sight seeing tips, we set off on foot to explore the city core. Strolling along through residential neighborhood streets we passed by George Heriots School (which looks like a castle) and soon came to Greyfriars Square and the statue of Greyfriar’s Bobby, a popular attraction with lineups of people waiting for their chance for the photo op. The statue is simply of a little dog “Bobby” who, as the story goes, came faithfully everyday starting in 1858 to his master’s grave site at the kirk for 14 years until his death in 1872.
We carried on to the colorful Victoria Street lined with its boutique shops and began the climb up the hill to Edinburgh Castle. I had been here once 33 years ago with my friend, Karen, on a post university trip across Europe and was anxious to see if my memory shots would still look the same today. I’m happy to say, they were. The castle grounds have been wonderfully preserved after all these years and we thoroughly enjoyed our tour.
Two hours later and with tired feet but still so much more to see, we started down The Royal Mile lined with shops on either side. While Monica did some shopping, I visited St. Giles Cathedral which originally dates back to the 11th century but has been expanded in more recent centuries. I could not believe my eyes when I entered. This cathedral blows all the other ones that I had seen in the past two weeks right out of the water and you might think I’m exaggerating…but I’m not. 360 degrees of stained glass windows, priceless statues and other treasures from Stotland’s past history. A minimal fee of 2 pounds gets you permission to photograph all you want and throughout the cathedral, volunteer guides are waiting and happy to explain the marvels around you. Magnificent doesn’t even begin to describe it. I took at least 30 photos and tried to choose only 4 or 5 for this blog. You really would have to see it for yourself to appreciate the beauty.
Afternoon was getting along and our feet were screaming to stop but we wanted to finish the shopping on the left side of the Royal Mile (saving the right side for tomorrow) so we pushed on to the end and got a nice look at Hollyrood Palace just before the sun went down. This is the official residence of Queen Elizabeth when she is in Scotland. Hungry as well as tired, we chose the nearest bar we could find and what a find! Kilderkin Bar-restaurant is marvelous, quiet, old and the walls are decorated with 70’s rock star ablum covers…we sat with Alice Cooper, Van Halen, Whitesnake and others. Pink Floyd was a couple of booths over but had people there so I just admired it from a distance.
We strolled back to our B&B and got there just at dusk. A totally different day from those in Ireland and totally wonderful.