We spent a long weekend in Edinburgh for the Veterans Day holiday, and had a wonderful variety of exploring. Everything from Bagpipes, Lochs, and Dark Tales, to walking The Royal Mile, eating Haggis, and drinking the local Water of Life, plus a bonus of spending time with Scots, gave us a great taste of Scotland.
The Royal Mile
The Royal Mile starts at the impressive Edinburgh Castle on top of a hill at one end, and goes down the hill to Holyrood Palace at the other end. This ancient street is the original center of Edinburgh, and is full of shops, pubs, restaurants, museums, and churches, with narrow Closes branching off from it, leading to quiet, hidden courtyards. You could spend a whole day just exploring this area. Since it was Veterans Day weekend, the red poppies for remembrance, the Army tanks and jeeps on display, along with bagpipers, gave a show of patriotism.
Thanks to a recommendation from @Girl_Drinks_Guinness, we enjoyed a pint at The Royal Mile Tavern. An excellent Guinness pour, and great food and atmosphere. We even tried Haggis Bon Bons, which we liked with ketchup. Besides all the wonderful Guinness, Scotch Whisky, and pub foods in Edinburgh, the best treat we ate is homemade Scottish tablet from Campsie View Kitchen. A unique treat, truly delicious.
The winds were crazy that day, with gusts of up to 65 mph. Still, we carried on with our plan to climb up to Arthur’s Seat after lunch. It was pure luck that we didn’t actually get blown off the hill, but we made it, and the result of wonderful views over Edinburgh was incredible.
We booked two tours in Edinburgh, both around Dark Tales. The Vaults Tour is a great way to see the underground warren that people lived in during the 18th century. This was only an hour tour and we enjoyed the macabre history of the vaults.
Our second tour was led by a funny, energetic guide, with Tales of the Dark Side of Edinburgh. It was a 2 hour walking tour, and we walked. Our total steps for the day was over 30k steps. The tour was very well done, and we saw parts of Edinburgh we never would have seen.
We had a heckler at one point, saying “Lies, lies,” and Barbara thought he was a little mental because he was also saying “wet cheese!” However, once Rob interpreted, she understood he was saying “witches” with a thick Scottish accent. 🤣
Rob had a unique culinary experience at Edinburgh School of Food and Wine. With a theme of Scottish Game, the class worked with Quail and Venison. It was well done, organized, and the instructions from Chef Derek were outstanding. Rob thoroughly enjoyed the class. While he was cooking, Barbara visited The Writer’s Museum which features Robert Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Walter Scott, and also Greyfriars Kirkyard, a spooky cemetery. To end the day, we met up with our friends in town for a pub dinner to catch up on the adventures of the day.
Rob’s cousin and his wife had surprised us on Thursday evening by driving over from Glasgow to meet us at EDI airport. We had a great reunion, and all went out for a pub dinner, where we ran into more friends. With a table for six, we sat talking until late. Before we wrapped up the night, we made plans with the family to meet up for a day of touring.
On our Day of Fun, the weather was unusually mild, and the countryside was breathtaking. We visited 5 Lochs, had lunch in a small village, and toured the hills and glens seeing sheep, Highland cows, and Shetland ponies.
Scotland played the All Blacks in Edinburgh on the day of our outing. Due to the 70k rugby fans in town, we parked the car at the Park and Ride and took the convenient tram in to Edinburgh for dinner. The game had ended, and we were joined on the tram by many, many fans.
We hopped off at Princes Street and went to The Dome for a pre-dinner drink. The Dome is a famous spot in Edinburgh, a restaurant and bar that goes all out with Christmas decorations.
We followed this up with a fun dinner at The Ivy, another wonderful spot. We had an excellent meal and great conversation. What a special bonus to spend time with family in such a wonderful country.
The Bagpipes, Dark Tales, and Lochs are just a part of visiting the unique, ancient, eerie, beautiful Scotland.
Until next time Scotland.🏴
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