Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Scotland Day 7

Scotland – Day 7 – April 22, 2011

Another early start to another long day, my beloved, CMMS, Chip, MOC and I decided that we would drive to Edinbourgh and spend the night there rather than try to drive all the way to the ferry on Saturday morning. So we were up at the crack of dawn to pack, shower and try and get our luggage into the car. It is kind of funny how our suitcases seem to have expanded during our time here. Things like t-shirts and books and other trinkets seem to keep jumping into them and taking up space.

Annski and Suzetteski are staying on one more day here in lovey Aigas cottages. So we let the owners know we were leaving early and Jessie came down to read the meters. Here in Scotland, they cottage was inexpensive, but we had to pay for our electricity usage and for our towels. Now I have been told that not all cottages in Scotland operate like this, so I think next time (yes, I think there will be a next time) I'll look for an all inclusive one.

So we got the car all packed up – who needs to look out the rear view mirrow anyway, and off we went.

We made it to Edinbourgh by early after noon and checked into our hotel. If you are ever in Scotland, take advantage of the Scotland Tourist offices in every city and most towns. You can find them by the i signs on the roads and within the cities and towns. We were able to book a hotel the day before in Aberdeen. We checked into the Apex Hotel on the Grass Market right in the city center.

Now, we wanted to see the Edinbourgh Castle, the Royal Mile and Holyrood Castle. S&A had been the day before and purchased passes as my beloved and me, they would have gotten us into Holyrood for free, if it had not been the Queen's birthday and her Scottish house was closed to the public.

But anyway, we check into our hotel and ask for directions to the castle. The girl at the desk says to go out the door and cross the street, go right and go up Victoria Street and turn left, go thru a round about to the left and up the Royal Mile to the castle.

OK, we step out the door and this guy that works in the hotel, comes up and says wait, excuse me but she just moved here and only knows how to get the castle one way, what you want to do is, go across the street to those steps and go up them and the castle is at the top.

Oh, ok we say. So we will see it at the top of the stairs? He looks at us like we are really stupid, cause he lifts his hand up a little (he had been pointing at the stairs) and there is the fecking castle! It is huge and I feel really stupid, because how could we have not seen it. I guess I need to look up more?

So up we go to the top of the stairs to tour one of the most stunning castles I have ever been in. It is so well preserved and is just steeped in so much history. We were able to see the Honor's of Scotland, the crown, the scepture and the sword. Long history, spirited away to save them from Cromwell, buried for years under a church, locked up for a century and finally on display in a weird room where you get to it in a Disneylandish line complete with manequins and fake hair.

I could picture people here, living their lives. Walking up the cobblestones, looking out over the land and performing the endless tasks that it took to keep them alive. The fog rolled in while we were at the castle and someplace someone was playing the bagpipes the sound floating around us on the fog. It added a dream like factor to the whole tour. Along with the fog came the cold, very cold wind. We decided it might be a good time to shop.

We then got lost in a bottemless pit of a store that had about four or five stories - all of them underground except the first. They had all kinds of stuff for sale, kilts, sweaters, jewelery, etc. There was only one way in or out. You followed the path in and then had to retrace your steps back thru the entire place to get out. We were stuck for what seemed like hours, but it was still daylight when we made our way out for a trip down the royal mile.

The Royal Mile... at one time a very important street. At one end was Edinbourgh Castle – the seat of Scotland and at the other Holyrood Palace, the home of the monarch. I am sure that living on this street at that time was a coup, now it is really just the Fisherman's Wharf of Edinbourgh. Shops full of cheap sweatshirts and woolens, perhaps from Scottish sheep, but I doubt if they were made in Scotland, which is sad.

As I have expressed in this blog, driving in the UK is an experience. Parallel parking is another interesting experience. There was a spot right in front of our hotel and I did not think I could get in it. CMMS stood in it for awhile before I told her my doubts. Then my beloved came out and helped me get into the space, it was tight but I got in. Try it sometime the wrong side of the road and backwards. Did not like it at all.

Endinbourgh was a place that I wished we had more time in, next time, next time, next time.

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