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Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile

sunny 73 °F


After a fantastic first day in Edinburgh, we fell into our beds, exhausted from our journey. The morning came very quickly, but we knew better than to linger in our beds - that could too easily have led to hours wasted. So, we dragged ourselves out of bed and headed down for breakfast. I chose to have the full breakfast - in Scotland, that means bacon (more like ham), breakfast sausage, baked beans, toast, and eggs. In a desire to relive a favorite memory of my youth, I chose a soft-boiled egg - and was immediately glad I did. It would become the staple of our mornings. Another thing that we immediately realized - in Scotland, there is certainly no shortage of smoked salmon! We ate pounds of it on our trip and are seriously going through withdrawal now!

After we finished breakfast, we headed out to see Edinburgh Castle.

After a cab ride to save our legs for the walking to come, we headed into the castle. By the way, Edinburgh Castle was a site in which our membership in Historic Scotland (different from the last post) paid off. It cost us 90 pounds, but when one considers that admission to Edinburgh Castle alone would have cost in excess of 50 pounds, it was a no-brainer. I seriously cannot emphasize that enough.

I am not going to go through a million lines explaining everything we saw at the castle; there was way too much to see, from the Scottish Crown Jewels to a fantastic museum of Scottish Military history, this is seriously a five-star attraction - and, oh yeah - there's a pretty cool castle there as well! If you go, make sure to spend some time at the Scottish National War Memorial - it is just beautiful. I will, however, share the following photos:

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Reilly was particularly taken with St. Margaret's Chapel, the oldest surviving building in all of Edinburgh. It is tiny, but a very special place:


The Chapel was our first glimpse of William Wallace, as well:


We took our time and spent several hours in the castle. We were so glad we did!


After leaving the castle, we were on the Royal Mile, which runs straight down from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace, which is the Queen's Official Residence in Scotland. The Royal Mile has shop after shop to explore, and we did just that! There were also lovely little alleyways ("Closes") to check out.



Along the Royal Mile, we stopped for lunch, and to buy some Whisky - Cadenhead's is one of the oldest bottlers of Whisky in Scotland left, and we were treated to a bit of history as well! We left with a great experience and a little of the hard stuff to take home - a lovely Islay blend.

A little ways down the road, we stopped in to see St. Giles Cathedral (also known as the High Kirk of Edinburgh) - a beautiful building dating back to the 14th century, and the "home of Presbyterianism in Scotland". The huge building features beautiful stained glass and memorials to various nobles and to Robert Louis Stevenson - The Protestant Reformer John Knox was buried in the churchyard (now a parking lot). Hidden in the back of the church is a tiny chapel, which features a carving of an angel playing that most Scottish of instruments:


Stopping on our way down the Royal Mile to spit on the heart in the sidewalk (it's a thing - we weren't just being gross), we continued until we reached Holyrood Palace.


Of course, not everything works out perfectly, and there was "Royalty in Residence" - meaning we were denied entrance. It is a beautiful place though, isn't it?


We continued on toward our hotel to meet Cristy's parents for dinner, stopping to see the memorial to Greyfriar's Bobby - a dog who reminds us what true loyalty and love is. From the day of his master's death to his own passing - 14 years later - Bobby guarded the grave of his master and won the hearts of a City, which took care of him until he died in 1872. Cue the tears.



From there we walked through Prince's Street Gardens, where we found a memorial to another beloved canine, Bum the dog - from San Diego, of all places! Bum the dog had three legs, and was a mutt - and had no owner. The city of San Diego adopted him, and took care of him - because of this connection (among others), Edinburgh and San Diego are now sister cities. We found Bum lying in the shade at the entrance to the Gardens.


From there, we walked back to the hotel, headed for dinner, and ended our day in preparation for our journey North. In a car. With me driving (as well as Cristy's mom). On the left. God help us all.

Posted by Dunnie 19:37 Archived in Scotland

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