First Full Day


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Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Midlothian » Edinburgh
July 12th 2007
Published: June 22nd 2017
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Geo: 55.9563, -3.48593

Today, we slept in to the late hour of 8:00 a.m., getting in some much-needed sleep. We departed from the hotel and ended up at the Logie Beard Bar in the Bank Hotel for a full Scottish breakfast (buy one, get one free!). It consisted of: haggis, black pudding, beans, whole wheat toast, runny egg, sausage, "real" bacon, mushrooms, 1/2 a tomato, some weird pie-shaped piece of fried dough that we never quite understood, and "white coffee." It was goooood. Haggis consists of spices, oatmeal, and "animal bits" stuffed into the intestine of a cow. I think our haggis had already been removed from its intestine. It wasn't half bad, rather like pate.

From breakfast, it was up the hill to Edinburgh Castle for a few hours learning about the history of the Scots trying to be free of the wretched English. The Castle is built upon the ruins of a long-dormant volcano and dates back 1300 years. (You do the math.) From the Castle we observed the town of Edinburgh from a bird's eye view. The old town was beautiful. The new town was... organized. We observed the crown jewels of Scotland, the birthplace of James I and VI, the "Stone of Destiny," and the Scottish War Memorial that listed at least a dozen Scots Highlander Gourlays who gave their lives in WWI (along with one Cottrill and no Nimsakonts or Dusts). Before we left, we got to hear someone shoot off a really big gun. We're not really sure what for, but we saw/heard/felt it. On the way out, we passed through a temporary structure that had been assembled for a series of concerts. Blondie was up for the next day. It was a relief to see that the structure was only temporary; it was so ugly that one of us commented that they had "Soldier-Fielded" Edinburgh Castle.

We wandered down the Royal Mile to the close opening (haha) that we had staked out the previous day. Unfortunately, it was being painted. The close was closed. We wandered a bit further to find a cemetery that had a romantic, haunted feel to it. Buried within were Adam Smith, author of "The Wealth of Nations." He believed that man's most important possession was his labor and is often called the father of capitalism. His remains lay interred within the back wall of the Tolbooth Tavern.

From there it was on to lunch. We could not have our picnic as the close was closed, so we popped in (and out) of a grocery store that wasn't very appealing. Fortunately, we found an outdoor cafe that had a deal on pea soup, crusty bread, and a pot of tea. It was very nice.

From there we headed toward the "new" part of town (ca. 1700s) to find Waverley Station in order to make a reservation for our upcoming journey to York. Here, we found that our Britrail Passes are only good in ENGLAND. As we are in Scotland, the ticket agent made us purchase tickets to Berwick-upon-Tweed, the first town across the ENGLISH border. It has become increasingly clear to us that the United Kingdom is a lot less united than the United States.

Next, we sought out stand "E" along Waterloo Place to make sure we would be able to catch our "Legends and Loch Ness" tour the following day. No problems here.

We continued on through New Town and descended into Princes Street Gardens (meaning more than one prince), a beautiful park located at a very low elevation compared to the rest of Edinburgh. Many years ago, this area was flooded and full of sewage and dead bodies (this is where they drowned witches). It helped give the name "Old Reeky" as in "smelly" to the city. Scotland killed more witches than any other country.

Next we were in search of the Beehive Pub in the Grassmarket. We would need to return here later in order to catch our Literary Pub Tour. What makes Edinburgh interesting is that the street map is not topographic. One street that, on the map, looks like it is next to another may actually be 30 feet lower. After winding down some garbage-strewn steps, we ended up on the right street, found the Beehive, and trekked back to the hotel for a quick nap.

After a few winks, it was back to the Beehive for dinner before the Literary Pub Tour. We had a great dinner in the back garden and enjoyed one of the few sunny afternoons in Edinburgh. We have really lucked out on the weather! The Literary Pub Tour was interesting and was conducted by two gentlemen who worked in tandem to show the brilliance and drunkenness (aka "duality of man"😉 of Edinburgh's most noted authors and poets. Along the way, of course, we experienced our own duality. It was, after all, a pub crawl!

After the tour, we crawled our way to the Waverly, a unique pub not far from our hotel. We had the entire second floor to ourselves, which was a nice way to end the evening. Jeannette tried to fix the toilet because it was running. We told her to go back to her day job.

Finally, we arrived back at the Travelodge, which had taken away our phones. No matter, it was time for bed as 5:45 would arrive soon enough.

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