Yesterday we went to Edinburgh for the day, where we lucked out with blue skies for the majority of the day. After we arrived we went to a restaurant called The Last Drop where back in the day prisoners were allowed to go for their last dram before they were hung in the town square. Again, the haggis didn’t disappoint and we tried the wonderful beef pie. I’ve learned that our littlest host (one and a half years old) loved the beef pie and chips, but was not as big of a fan of the haggis.
Edinburgh is divided by Prince Street (the main shopping area). To the south is “Old Town”, which is where one would find the Royal Mile, Castle Rock, the Palace, etc. On the other side, “New Town” is where you will find buildings that were built in the 1800’s. Here in Edinburgh you begin to realize what a baby the States are.
After a wonderful lunch outside we walked the Royal Mile, which is a stretch of four ancient streets that form the main thoroughfare of medieval Edinburgh. According to my travel book, Old Town was confined to the city walls from the Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. There, the city began to grow upward. As you walk down the streets you can step into the closings (or alleyways) and begin to imagine what life was back in the medieval times.
We stopped in Mary’s Close where you can take an underground tour and see what life was like in the medieval times. Like Seattle, parts of the city was built on top of the old city buildings and now you can take tours to see the still intact buildings that once were.
Not far from Mary’s closing is St. Giles Cathedral where you can find stained glass windows of a bagpipe playing angel. St. Giles’s gothic exterior has a tower that dates back to the 15th century and is the only part not to be renovated in the 1800’s.
Next, we walked over to the Edinburgh Castle, which “stands upon the basalt corse of an extinct volcano.” The castle is an asemablage of buildings that date from the 12th to the 20th century. Over the times it has been used for a variety of reasons (e.g., fortress, royal palace, military garrison and a state prison). According to my travel book, after the Union of Parliaments in 1707, the Scottish regalia were walled up in the Palace for over a hundred years.
From the Castle you can get great views of both old and new Edinburgh. After walking the exterior of the castle we walked down the Royal Mile towards the palace.
We popped in a whisky shop (aka Eric’s candyland) called Cadenhead’s, which is Scotland’s oldest independent bottler (established in 1842) of scotch whisky, gin, rum, and cognac.
Unfortunately, when we arrived at the Palace we learned that they had a visitor (one can only speculate who) so it was not open to the public this week. So we snapped a quick picture behind the gated walls and headed the the National Museum of Scotland.
Much of old Edinburgh shows you its rich history through the exterior of its buildings and closings. However, the National Museum building is an interesting combination of two radically different buildings that stand side-by-side. The older of the two buildings is the Greater Victorian palace of self-improvement and the other building (which began development in 1993) shares the history of the people of Scotland.
Of course, at 5 o’clock sharp the city shops started to close up so we headed over to the new part of Edinburgh for a bite to eat in Leith at a place called the Granery.
After dinner we drove back to Dundee. Once thing I love about driving around Scotland is the breathtaking scenery. Even with cloudy skies, when the sun breaks through, it shines a heavenly spot light on the lush green hills.
Is it possible to do my job from a far and just stay here for a while longer?