Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Stereotypical Edinburgh Day

After a couple of flights, a nap, supper at a pub and a good night's sleep we were ready to see what Edinburgh had to offer. And it had a lot!

We started out with a hearty Scottish breakfast of tea, fried mushrooms and tomatoes, toast, croissants, beans, eggs and bacon and yogurt. And no! we didn't both eat all of that.

Then it was off to catch a bus downtown. We jumped on the Edinburgh sightseeing tour and found out interesting facts like the fact that JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter here (although exactly where she wrote it is a little disputed -- either an internet cafe or a Chinese restaurant!), that Adam Smith (the economist) is buried here, as is John Napier (inventor of logarithms and decimal fractions).

We also found out that the Scott Monument is the tallest monument to a writer and that the view to the south from Princes Street is so revered that there is a national law against building anything to obstruct it. And we caught a quick glimpse of The Queen, Elizabeth II, as she spoke on the steps of a church. That's right: The Queen was in town.

After the enlightening bus tour we walked up The Royal Mile. We noticed that a crowd was still in front of the church where The Queen had been earlier and we waited a while and saw her get into a car. Madly waving with one hand, we got this picture with the other.

We stopped in many souvenir shops as Natasha attempted to find a real, but inexpensive, kilt. We had a lunch of sandwiches and Coke at Lady Stairs Close and then stopped in at the Camera Obscura/Illusion Museum. The most interesting parts of this museum were the different optical illusions, the different views of Edinburgh and taking cool pictures in the light tunnel!

Then we stopped at "Thistle Do Nicely" -- Dave's favourite shop -- to buy some mini bagpipes for Dave. Natasha will have hours of entertainment and torture as Dave attempts to learn to play them. (According to him, the best sound he got out of them today was a dying cow!).

After that we took advantage of The Scotch Whiskey Experience to taste a dram of whiskey, collect some whiskey glasses, and find out more about how whiskey is made. It was interesting to find out about the whole process from the fermenting of the grain to the aging of it in barrels.

We also stopped at a shop where we could watch people spin cloth for the many kilts which Edinburgh sells. Natasha eventually bought a blackwatch plaid kilt, which she looks forward to wearing in cooler weather, and then we headed off to climb Arthur's Seat. This highland landscape, located in the middle of Edinburgh would have been an easy climb except for the fact that we both have colds, we were carrying lots of stuff and Natasha was only wearing flip flops. Given all this, it was a little more difficult then we expected but stubbornness prevailed and
we were soon at the top.

The trip down was a little easier as we didn't attempt to go straight up the side of the cliff.

Supper was at Ensign Ewart, a pub we'd found earlier in the day which may have connections to Natasha's mom's side of the family. Dave ate some haggis and Natasha had the more mundane roasted vegetable lasagna.

The next morning we went up the Scott Monument but unfortunately the camera batteries died so we only have a few pictures.

The Scott Monument, which we climbed to the top.

The Castle in the background and The National Gallery of Scotland in the foreground.

The guesthouse where we stayed in Edinburgh.

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