A Travellerspoint blog

Edinburgh, Day One

Castles, Chips, and lack of a laptop

sunny 72 °F

Our flight went just as planned: long. As we flew the opposite direction of the sun, night came quickly. And went quickly. While that wreaked havoc with our sleep patterns for a while, it treated yours truly to a glorious sight - sunrise from about 37,000 feet.


We left Ithaca around 6pm and landed in Edinburgh at just after 8:30 in the morning. After a bit of confusion meeting our driver, we traveled to our hotel (the Premier Inn on Prince's Street, downtown) in the hopes (slim) of getting into our rooms to drop the bags off and stretch out (none). We did get to drop the bags, but alas, naps were not to be had, and powering through suddenly became our only option.

So we decided to head on out to enjoy the beautiful weather (this will soon become a theme) and to get a bite to eat. Here is where I give just a little bit of unsolicited advice: Join the Preservation Trust. Not only does it do good work here in the States, and joining gives you free entry to many historic sites in the US, but it also will allow free entry to A LOT of sites in Scotland, namely those run by the National Trust for Scotland. For about 30 bucks, we received free entry to many of the sites on our trip. And we are supporting good work! Learn more here: http://www.preservationnation.org/

One of the sites we received entry to was the Georgian House, a meticulously restored 1796 house in the middle of Edinburgh (no photography allowed there, so you will have to imagine). It was a fantastic way to introduce the kids to just how upscale Edinburgh was in its heyday (not that the heyday is over) - complete with attentive and knowledgeable docents, a scavenger hunt for the kids, and the BIGGEST collection of period copper cookware I have ever seen! We learned just what life at the turn of the 19th century meant in Edinburgh - if, of course, you were rich... Totally relaxing, and totally worth it. http://www.nts.org.uk/property/georgian-house/

We stumbled around a little, until we found ourselves in a lovely spot for lunch called Brown's. We sat in a little nook and had a delicious meal. Now, Brown's is a chain, all over the UK, so those looking for a little pub to while away the time might not be enthused. It was, however, just what we wanted: a comfy, delicious meal where we could regroup and plan the rest of our day. I was a little bummed it was too early to sample the drink list though! http://www.browns-restaurants.co.uk/locations/edinburgh/

After lunch, we returned to the hotel and stashed our bags in our rooms (very comfortable if not overly large, with a view of the rooftops of Edinburgh, which I was quite taken with):


After deciding that we were going to power through the rest of the day, we went outside to stretch our legs and see some of the sights. We walked down Princes street, toward the towering Scott Monument, which Reilly wanted to climb.

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As I am a big believer that a traveler should always climb a city's "tall thing" I was game (although my aversion to heights and tight, spirally staircases weighed heavily on me), as were Cristy, Tad, and Jan, so up, up, up we went. The stairs? Spirally and tight - I mean, you had to back down if someone was on their way down in front of you. The height? Dizzying. The view? PRICELESS:

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There were other things, too: snarling gargoyles covering the monument, the vertigo, the laughter shared with other tourists who just couldn't seem to get down those steps due to a never-ending series of folks coming up... it really was a great time!

After climbing down, we continued our walk and ended up at Calton Hill, famous for having its own Acropolis on top:


We enjoyed to weather and the view, and just soaked it all in. The climb, though uphill, was really not difficult at all, and even our jet-lagged and tired bodies had no trouble. From Calton Hill, we gazed upon Arthur's Seat, one of the breathtaking views to be found in Edinburgh. (BTW, "breathtaking, jaw-dropping, etc." views will become a theme on this trip)


We returned to pick up Mac, stopping along the way for the boys to get Tad's favorite beverage (repellant though it may have been for Dad), IRN-BRU. A hyper-sugary, bubblegum(ish) flavored soda that outsells Coke in Scotland. He couldn't get enough. I, however, could.


We headed out in search of dinner, enjoying the beauty of Edinburgh, and ended up at a little French bistro of all places, called Cafe St. Honore - a lovely little place straight out of France. It was lovely, and since we were a bit early, we had a room nearly all to ourselves! It was a great end to a fantastic first day in Scotland. We returned to the hotel and crashed. Hard.


p.s. Oh yeah, the laptop thing: you may be wondering why this blog post is so late in coming. I didn't take a laptop with me on this trip - I only had a tablet. It got old trying to type this on a tablet - in fact, it got old very quickly. And so I ask humbly for your pardon. I promise I will try to get everything down in a timely manner.

Posted by Dunnie 10:00 Archived in Scotland

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