Welcome to Scotland!

Sunday the 10th June,  2012

We did all the mundane things you do on a trip when you move from one place to another. Pack up, get to airport, get through lines, more lines, fly and get to a new place! It was a quick flight and not packed, so that was nice. Also, Scottish people were about (you can hear the accent change) and one guy was wearing a kilt on the plane – woo!

We picked up another hire care and toodled across to the city’s Botanic Gardens, as we weren’t due to check into accommodation till 4pm. First impression of Edinburgh – buildings are a heck of a lot darker, but the green scene is still very green. We had a late lunch at the smancy-ish restaurant at the gardens (similar to Kings Park in the way that it overlooks the park – but Perth gets the city view as well) . It was pretty nice, we were trying to wrap our head around pounds at the time, so no idea how good the value was! I had a toad-in-the-hole though – yum!

We had a walk around for about an hour. The gardens have a lot of larger trees, a large pond and it is all very, very nice. We heard some little old Nans exclaiming how “dry” the park was this year…. confusing to the Aussies – the place looked like the colour of highlighter green! As we were walking along, a squirrel scampered across the path and then paused shamelessly in a small bush. I was so excited! They are so cute! Sort of semi- tame, this one stopped to check  us out, but would retreat on any sudden movements. I wasn’t expecting to see a squirrel – so it was pretty cool 🙂 Greg liked it too, but found my excitement much more entertaining…


We got to our place – another Air BNB place – we have a whole third floor flat with two bedrooms to ourselves this time.  It is in the outskirts of Edinburgh, but it has killer views of some of the landmarks of the city – Authur’s Seat and the Calton Hill monuments. It is very pretty. We had a night in – Greg went and got some groceries from “Tesco” the big supermarket chain in the UK and we had dinner at “home”.

Monday the 11th June

In the morning Greg and I had a few hours to kill until Lucy P arrived – she is joining us for a bit of highland adventure! We drove to the car park near Holyrood Park to climb Athur’s Seat – which is the main peak of a section of hills, of a long extinct volcano. It is 250m high and after a half hour or so hike up a steep incline you get some really fantastic views of Edinburgh. There are some old church and fort ruins to check out on the way up as well – it’s all free and a great way to spend a morning . If it was sunny it would be good to picnic there as well. The locals don’t even follow the paths – you can walk up and along the green hills. It was really nice seeing people across on other hills walking their dogs. It is a nice bit of nature in the middle of the city!

Locks on Authur’s Seat – people like leaving padlocks there apparently!

Made it to the top!

Random local and his doggie!

We got back to the flat for Lucy’s arrival – hoooray! After a welcome and some high speed catch up chat, we hopped on a bus (first time on a double decker – huzzah!) and went into the city centre. Being the organised group we were, we set off without a map or any real plan – except for to eat at some point! We had a nice hearty pub lunch plus a sly cider and then decided to check out Edinburgh castle.

The castle is BIG….It sits on a hill overlooking the lovely Princess street gardens. We walked through the gardens and up the steps to the castle and then enjoyed the view. There are a few ceremonial guards on duty at the front of the castle – it was good to check out the military uniforms. They are currently setting up scaffolding out in the space in front of the castle for the Tattoo – now that would be awesome to see!

Inside the castle – other than the cool battlements and a good view, the place is really set up to spend a few hours. There is the National War Memorial and the National War Museum which are well worth a look.  You can also see the Honours of Scotland – the Crown Jewels, the Sword, Scepter and the Stone of Destiny. I had been reading about the Stone of Destiny in Lonely Planet and managed to completely miss it because I got distracted by the Honours! The Stone has been used for many centuries for the coronation of Scottish Monarchs. The English King Longshanks pinched it from the Scotts awhile back now – it was returned in 1996 – but will still be used for future coronations by Britain… go and read up it’s very interesting.

Edinburgh Castle

After the castle, we had a bit of a wander around the shops nearby. There is an amazing store named “Ness” which sells really lovely tartan products in all of my favourite colours… Greg was off having a pint, while Lucy and I oogled. We then walked down part of the main section from the castle, known the “Royal Mile” – it leads to the Holyrood Abbey. The area is known as Old Town and there are lots of beautiful old buildings to look at. There are quite a few street performers, lots of whiskey shops and tartan product stores as well!

We caught the double decker bus back home (rode in the top level, awe yeah). We chilled at home for awhile, then went across to the local Indian joint – we were the only people in the place and it was quite nice. Garlic naans were bigger than the plates they were sitting on! We came home to plan out the next few days – we got a castle passes, so we will likely check out Stirling, then head up to stay near Inverness somewhere.

Tuesday the 12th June

It was a really nice sunny day (for the most part) in Edinburgh today, a little warmer too! We headed into the city centre to check out some of the main streets and shopping areas. Lots of boutique fashion and a few variety stores as well. We had morning tea at the Hula Juice Bar – great cake and some interesting milkshakes available – mine was peanut butter with banana and yoghurt – it was yummy!

We walked back up towards the castle to check out the Camera Obscura which – along with a few floors of optical illusions – is a great way to spend a few hours. Start your stay with it, after you have checked out the castle! You climb a few flights of stairs, get some great views of the city, then do a ten minute presentation with the camera – which is a system of mirrors and lens reflected onto a round white table.  The presenter gave us a mini tour of Edinburgh and it was very cool. After that we worked our way down through the sort of illusion museum – all of those Eschar prints are on display, as well as lots of interactive exhibits. I will let the photos speak for themselves!

We then headed off to check out the Calton Hill monuments – it’s another very nice park area, with great views of the city and of Authur’s seat. One of the monuments has never been finished – apparently the Scots threw a big party everytime they completed a column, then ran out of money. (According to Camera guide lady). There is the Nelson tower which you can also climb and view all the landmarks. We spent a bit of time wandering around here and then headed home.

A better view of Arthur’s Seeat..

A brilliant thing had happened during our morning shopping – we walked into a cheese shop. Some kind of lightening bolt idea hit me and we decided for a cheese, cold cuts and fruit dinner. We stopped to pick up some supplementary supplies on the way home and had a yummy dinner involving hot rolls and a banquet of yummy, whilst watching sunset over Edinburgh. Not bad really!

This entry was posted in Europe 2012, Megamoon 2012, Travel and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Welcome to Scotland!

  1. Al says:

    nothing bad could ever come out of walking into a cheese shop

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