Apr 24, 2017

Arriving in Scotland - Edinburgh

This past March we spent a wonderful week in Scotland.  Looking back over the pictures - I realize how much we crammed in to each and every day!  While we were there I did post several pictures on my Facebook, but wifi was often spotty at best - and I never touched a computer, only my phone, so I plan to add some camera pictures and the details that go with here.

 We flew via Iceland.  The flight from the US to Iceland is not far.  We had spent a couple of days in DC, so that is where we flew from.  It's under 6 hours flight time.  As we always do, we filled some water bottles once we were through security.  The lid on one wasn't tightened well and as I slept onthe plane it leaked all over my slippers (on overnight flights I put my shoes in the carryon and wear my slippers.  I have learned I would rather arrive comfortable!).  We landed in Iceland and I slid my slippers off as we were preparing to deplane.  Great, I now have a wet slipper AND sopping socks.  No biggie, I will just switch in the airport.  Well, Iceland has a small airport.  And it had been beautiful and warm in DC, so our coats were packed.  It was around 2:30 am Iceland time.  Temperatures were below freezing.  We deplaned to the tarmac.  The wind was howling, it was dark, cold and we had to wait for a bus to take us to the terminal.  What a welcome to the land of ice!  No coat and wet feet!

Edinburgh was less than 2 hour flight time from Iceland.  As we walked from the terminal to the car rental office it was cold, windy and SNOWING!  I lived in Scotland in 1985 and 1986 so I had prepared my family for the ever changing weather scenarios we would likely face in the week there!  We only were going to have 1 afternoon in Edinburgh, so we were really hoping the weather would clear!

We had reserved an apartment just outside the city center and check in was at noon.  We had not had anything to eat since we left the US - but if you have ever flown and then hopped into a car in a foreign city, you know it can take a day or so to get your bearings.  We made our way to the apartment complex from the airport, not passing anywhere 'easy' to get to or anywhere obvious to get coffee.  It was still cold and was now sleeting.  We decided to make use of the hour and sleep in the car.....  When you have missed nearly a night of sleep and have not eaten for a while - sleep comes easy!

We checked in - the apartment was lovely - and warm - and there was coffee!  The heat was on and the windows all wide open.  Oh, Scotland, how I had missed you!!  Fresh air is so important you know!  

View from our apartment.  It was outside the city centre and there was a bus stop just outside the door.  Getting something to eat was now our main motivation - so we changed clothes and freshened up and hopped on the bus.  The skies had cleared.  We sat on the upper deck in the front of the bus - it was a great way to see the sights on the way in toward the castle.  

Before we left we had made a list of places we would look for to eat in most of the cities that we would be stopping in.  We headed toward Edinburgh castle.  We walked the Royal Mile til we found somewhere from our list to eat.


Steak, Ale and Mushroom Pie with potatoes and honey roasted carrots
Serg had Balmoral Chicken - grilled chicken with bacon, haggis and whiskey sauce (how much more Scottish can you get?!)

Nicholson's above Deacon Brody's Tavern in Edinburgh Old Town

We walked the streets of medieval Old Town toward the Castle.  The skies opened up again, this time rain.  We darted in to what looked like a small tourist shop - it was - and then it led to floors and floors of tartans, wool, kilts!  

Edinburgh Castle

 It only rained for a few short minutes and for the rest of the day the sun shone and it stayed dry.  Edinburgh Castle sits high on a hill, so the views that you get from there are sweeping.  This is a picture taken of us facing the castle.

The hill in the back is Arthurs Seat in Holyroad park.  In the 80's I spent a lot of time in Edinburgh and we would walk up the hill - the views back to the castle are spectacular.  This trip we wanted to fit as many stops as we could in a few days - so since we only had a half day in the city we didn't make it that way.

 The sun with the wet surfaces made everything look shiny and new - even though this part of the city is hundreds of years old.

The path down below the castle was one we walked often in the 80s.  Lack of sleep was catching up to us, so we decided to stick to the old town, seeing as much of it as we could.

One of the things on our list that we were just too tired to do was taking one of the night underground tours.  The Real Mary Close tours were ending just as we finished lunch and the night tours were going to be past our point of staying awake.  Next time.  If we go back again, we will give Edinburgh more time than we did on this visit.

 Walking the Royal Mile.  Bagpipes playing.  Rain, Snow, Sun and Sleet.  All in one day.

A "Close" is an alleyway.  There are lots of them. Many of them provide a wonderful framed view of the other side.

This area of the Royal Mile has an opportunity for great pictures every direction that you turn.

 When I moved to Australia a couple of years following my time in Scotland, I remember thinking that part of the city looked as if someone had taken Scotland and dropped it in Florida.  Now - it makes me feel like I am walking through the land of Harry Potter.  England looks a bit more genteel.  Scotland looks....lived in.

 Karisa in front of the coffee house where JK Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book.

There were a few places that I had made mental notes in my head that I would like to see that I had visited in the past.  One we did get to see is here.  We had stayed in this building - which I remembered as one of the "homes" of John Knox.  That was easy to spot on the map, so we walked up and down the street.  I didn't remember it being a busy road or under shops.  But in 30 years the city and my memory have changed!  Once we had wifi I was able to look at some of my pictures (below) and sure enough - that's me and my girlfriends - circa 1985 sitting in the window!  

Our last stop for the night was a grocery store.  An unfun job at home - but so much more delightful when in another country.  We stocked up on some favorite snacks for our drives, some crumpets and lemon curd for breakfast (one of my favorite things in the world!) and some sausage rolls, pizzas and such that we had for dinner.  The added bonus is many things British are also Aussie!

I have seen an episode or two of International House Hunters.  The show bothers me on some level because it often has Americans who are choosing to live overseas - but wanting all of the American comforts.  I felt like the apartment we were staying in had been on an episode and they had complained about the size of the fridge.  (or is that nearly every episode in every country?  And - I say this as someone who has 2 very large refrigerators and one the size of this apartments that we keep for just our drinks....).  

However, our wee little milk and our wee little fridge were so cute that we just had to take a picture!

No comments: