Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Castle and back on a boat

It was another beautiful cold but sunny day in Edinburgh, and the sun on Edinburgh Castle was a sight we will never forget...
As it was a Monday we thought it would be a good time to go to the castle and miss the crowds after the weekend.

We managed to get our tickets with no queues so this was a good sign..

The first thing you see is the row of cannons on your right as you wind your way towards the main courtyard.
There are loads of things to see including the heritage of the Scottish Army's and of course the Battle of Waterloo. You can see the prisons and a lot of Scotland's history with our King's and Queen's who were born in the castle..  There are some good models of what went on in those times.

The views were also amazing over looking the City.
You can also imagine what the Tattoo would be like here. Everyday (except Sunday) a cannon is fired precisely at 1.00pm.

If you look closely you can just see Del's head over this cannon, the big one in its day.

We had a fantastic time here and its well worth the money to see it..

We then walked down the hill to get the bus to Ocean Terminal via Leith. A nice bus trip which took about half an hour.

Here berthed is The Royal Yacht Britannia, which was decommissioned in 1997.
All the clocks show 3.01pm as that is when the Queen last left the vessel.
You cross the bridge and then enter the Admiral's cockpit where Del got to sit in the seat and take control.

The Yacht is amazing and although just a tad better that Derwent6, we feel she's fit for a Queen lol
You get a self guided tour of the boat which takes an hour and a half to complete.

There is not a speck of dust or a cobweb in site..

Built next to it now is a shopping and entertainment complex and we grabbed a coffee and then got the bus back to the city centre. By this time it was rush hour and it took a bit longer going back, but as the sun faded all the lights came on and we had a top view from the top deck of the bus.
We then got back to the Christmas Markets and it was in full swing and a good atmosphere here. We were slowly getting a bit sore from walking and climbing stairs, so we made our way back to the hotel to recover and freshen up. We wanted to try another area of the city so got the bus out to Haymarket, a place with loads of foody places.. We fancied a steak and had two to choose from, we ended up going to Los Amigos and the food was just fabulous, good choice!!
Tummies full it was back on the bus to Grassmarket for more drinks and live music.. The music here goes on to 1.00am everyday of the week, so it was no problem finding a bar on a Monday night. A Scottish guy was playing loads of different instruments and singing Scottish, English and Irish folk and even threw in some American Country. Slowly all the kids turned up at around 10.00pm and before long it was packed. We had just the best night, laughing and singing as the whiskey went down..
  Again it was lucky that we could just cross the road and fall into bed..

In next morning it was a case of make the most of our last day, so we checked out and left our bags at reception.. We had some breakfast from the buffet and then as we still had the taste for Scottish Whiskey thought we would do a bit of a tour and loads of tasting. When given our ticket Del managed to get his first concession discount and also got a smiley face on his ticket which meant "Special guest" It also meant you could try more Whiskey and we both made the most of it.. This place had one of the most selection of whiskeys in one place..
It also had the oldest and the priceless bottles of whiskey.

We came out at lunchtime and wanted to recover a little by having a bite to eat (in a pub of course). We did run out to watch the big gun go off at 1.00pm for the last time and then had another drink to celebrate our fantastic weekend.. We then had something weird happen as we walked over the road to see Giles Cathedral. At Al's Dad's funeral you might all remember one of the things he had always wanted was a piper playing Amazing Grace. As we walked past a guy playing the bagpipes, he changed the tune he was playing to Amazing Grace, and as we entered the cathedral he stopped and played something else..
It put a tear in both our eyes and we knew we were in good hands..

We still had a ten pound voucher to use in the hotel bar and we had left our bags there to pick up before going to the airport. After a relaxing free Bailey's and G & T we grabbed our bags, and jumped on the bus, and in half an hour we were standing in the short security baggage queue. It was so easy. We walked around duty free and then jumped on the plane. After a 50 minute return flight we arrived at Birmingham International. It was then on the little tram to the Train station and before we knew it we were in a cab back to Derwent6..
In Edinburgh it had been minus 3 and it was four degrees when we got back. So it was light the fire, start up the central heating, and put the kettle on.. We were soon warm and toasty as we caught up on some telly.. 
Wow what a fab long weekend and another tick in the box that Del has now been to Scotland, and we would both go back in a jiffy...

Surprise and a 60th Wee Dram!!!

It was up early as the car had to be returned by 9.30am and we had things to do.. Before Del knew it he was at the station, confused as we were going north when we normally go south!
Another surprise was that we got into the first class carriage (the posh seats) something we just don't do.
Thinking he was going a long way we then got off at Birmingham International and things were starting to click a bit as we got the tram to the Airport.
Al then gave Del his boarding pass and we got on a plane to our destination which only took 40 minutes..
We arrived at Edinburgh Airport and then got the bus into the City.
It was getting dark as we got to the busy Princes Street and were greeted by the Christmas markets.
 It was then a short walk over the Mound to Grassmarket and to our hotel.
When we got to our room Del's next surprise was a bottle of Prosecco on the table with a 60th Birthday card.

The view from our room was amazing as it looked out on the Castle.

So we dumped our bags, drunk the prosecco, and headed out for something to eat..
 This City is amazing, so atmospheric, full of restaurants and pubs, the wonderful royal connection,  and the birthplace of Harry Potter..

We ended up going to Fazenda in the New Town to eat, an experience in itself, and Del even got a little cake..
We then tried out a few pubs (as you do) and made our way slowly back to the hotel to recharge the batteries..

The following morning we could appreciate that view, and following a lovely buffet breakfast in the hotel we made our way to the Old Town.

First off we did Candlemaker Rd and walked to Greyfriars Kirk and the old church with some very unusual grave stones and catacombs.

It was here that J K Rowling got some of the characters names in the Harry Potter books.

There was also Bobby the dog who used to look over his masters grave and he now has his own statue and a pub named after him..
We then walked to the Elephant House café where J K Rowling did a lot of writing, and it is said Harry Potter was born.
You soon get a feel of this as you walk along the street that was the inspiration for Diagon Alley.

From here we walked over to the famous Royal Mile, a road which has loads of nooks and crannies, trinket shops and pubs to explore.

 It runs from the Castle to Holyrood Palace where the Queen lives when she comes to Scotland's capital.

On the return we walked over the mound again on lovely paths with views to Princes St, using Jacob's Ladder.

We then thought it would be a good idea to see the Christmas Markets and grab a Hot Toddy..

We then walked over to Al's only memory of Edinburgh, as when she was about 9 years old she stayed at the George Hotel in George St.

We then walked over to Hard Rock Café opposite and had drinks and nibbles at the bar to keep us going..
We then popped into another pub in Roses St, before we walked back to Old Town and found a nice pub where Del could watch the football and the Grand Prix at the same time, with a bottle of wine of course..

In Edinburgh there is live music going on everywhere and we walked next door and watched with a few more drinks.
This just happened to be opposite the hotel which was very handy and we knew it was the perfect spot to be.