Finally an English speaking country :)
13.10.2012 - 17.10.2012 8 °C
Well first things first. We made it through customs without a hassle (not that we'd done anything wrong) which was a great relief after some of the stories we've heard recently. We took the airport bus into the city and through some stroke of luck managed to walk to the hotel without getting wet or lost
I asked the hotel reception if he could recommend any local food nearby. We followed his directions to what he called a "fusion scottish" resteraunt. They served pizza and pasta and had a large sign on the door that said "Italian food". There was a pub nearby so we headed over there for dinner instead. Yum - a great way to start our scotland trip
Game pie- with venison, rabbit, pheasant & mash; Duck confit
Shopping day. Blake had to get a winter jacket as the weather is a wee bit colder than what our clothes can handle. Much better with a waterproof/windproof one! After this we made our way up to the Royal Mile, which is the road that links Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse (where the Queen stays when she visits). There are great views of the city from the front of the castle.
Not much to say about the castle, we tried to get in one afternoon and didn't bother the next day as we found out it was £16ea!!! Its pretty much just a military history museum so we passed.
View of Edinburgh Castle from the forecourt and from Princes Garden
The Whiskey Experience Tour
As we were walking back from the castle we noticed the Whisky Experience tour. It was pretty touristy but not bad value as we got a glass of scotch (and kept the glass) and saw the worlds largest collection of Scotch Whisky . It started with a barrel ride showing us a replica still and we were educated on the properties of scotch and how they relate to the region they come from (we even got scratch and sniff cards). Anyway after all that I bought a couple of small bottles of scotch for the evening and we headed back home.
The oldest whiskey in the collection:
We decided to go on the free walking tour around Edinburgh's old town this morning. We were taken around by a Canadian with a scottish accent- Yah.. figure that.. We lucked out though as she was quite interesting and the sun was shining the whole time!
Walking through the cemetery...
The cemetery was actually one of the most interesting places on the tour. There were quite a few famous dead people there and a really famous dog (well, dogs plaque at least. Dogs aren't christian so can't be buried there supposidly). First things first though. We were shown a cage that looked to me like it was made to keep the dead locked underground... But it was the opposite! Body snatching to sell to the School of medicine and this was the best way to stop the grave robbers. If your family wasn't rich enough to buy a cage they would have somebody watch the grave 24hrs a day for a couple of weeks (until the body was to decomposed to be of use). This was know as the "graveyard watch", which quite possibly turned into the "graveyard shift". Ya learn something new every day i guess
Anyway back to the dog. I'm not sure how many people have heard of Greyfriars Bobby (I only read about him on the plane) but he is a worldwide star. Greyfriars Bobby was a dog back in the 19th century Edinburgh whose owner died and was buried in the Edinburgh Cemetery. Basically, the dog ended up sleeping on his owners grave for 14years, refusing to leave him unprotected. The cemetery gardener fed the dog and thats about that really. Supposidly there was a movie made about this. I don't see how it could run for more than 10minutes but its there if anyone is interested.
Greyfriars Bobby's memorial and statue
For lunch, our tour guide took us to a pub to try their national dish: HAGGIS!! If you don't know what Haggis is.. i suggest you shouldn't google it up!! It tastes way better than it sounds, kinda like a peppery mince meat, even though it is mostly oatmeal.
Haggis with neeps and tatties (turnips and potato); Grilled chicken stuffed with Haggis
It was raining today, so we decided to visit the National museum. This place is free and 6 stories high. One of the most exciting/interactive museums I've seen in a while. It's got a large section on the history of Scotland, another on the industrial revolution and interactive areas (probably for kids, but that isn't going to stop us!)
Dolly!! The real one...
The tomb made for Mary Queen of Scots and a fly powered pendulum
Rained most of the day. Unfortunately we'd planned on making it to the top of Arthur's seat today. Ahh well, can't let a bit of rain (and a temperature of 5 °C get in our way).
Arthur's seat is an extinct volcano in the centre of Edinburgh about 250m high. We set off into the rain with our ponchos and a hot water thermos ready for anything. If you don't count the fact that both of our pants were wet and our shoes and socks soaked the walk up the hill wasn't too bad, until we made it to a peak and the wind nearly blew us off! Michelle wasn't too happy with me for wanting to press on in the weather but I was a famous explorer for the day. I was going to make it to the top of the "mountain" regardless of obstacles! The easiest way up was to follow the rocky stream as most of the slippery clay had been washed off of the surface. Most of the path was in good condition but climbing on wet rocks with a ridiculous poncho blowing up and over your head is probably not the most sensible thing to do. Anyway, we made it! The views were still quite good bar the fog but the wind and rain made sure we didn't hang around up there for too long.
Quoting Blake: "this is such a dumb thing to do"
St Anthony's Chapel and the View on the way to the top.
We made it to the top!
Michelle showing how happy she was with me. And after I promised to watch some lame chick flicks with her, and lots of cuddles!!
So much water... A little more surely couldn't hurt.
Blake pissing on Arthur's seat.. lol
Next stop.. further north.. Inverness