The day looked pretty rainy and miserable but we are in Scotland now so it is either tour in the rain or never see Scotland. Or so we have been led to believe. When we arrived in Edinburgh the day before, there was no rain. Our BNB is just down the block from the North Sea so, though it was windy and a bit chilly, we walked the promenade from one end to other. The sea was wild and choppy but there were still people on the beach, in the water and spending time with friends and family. We decided that they were much tougher than us as they were in shorts and t-shirts while we were bundled in our winter jackets. That doesn’t happen very often!
Anyways, on Day two we jumped the bus and headed to Old Edinburgh. Though we have the car, we thought that it would be much easier to ride the bus and given all the construction downtown, we were right about that. We got off in front of the Scott Monument, dedicated to Sir Walter Scott, a writer. The monument is quite impressive and is the second largest in the world dedicated to a writer. The other is in Havana, Cuba.
We joined all the other folks with their umbrellas heading towards the Edinburgh Castle. This historic fortress dominates the skyline of the city from its position on the volcanic Castle Rock. Though the Rock has been occupied since the Iron Age, King Charles I was the last sovereign to stay there. He slept there on 19 June 1633, the night before his Scottish coronation. The Castle has played a prominent role in the ongoing battle between the Scottish and the English and has had many facelifts as a result of war and destruction. It now houses the Crown Jewels and is the number one tourist spot in Scotland. We took a few pictures and then headed down Royal Mile to see the historic buildings and the shops.
We did some shopping, had lunch at the McGregor (can’t get much more Scottish than that!!) and when the rain finally stopped, we headed up to Calton Hill. Calton Hill is one of Edinburgh’s main hills, set right in the city centre. It is unmistakable with its Athenian acropolis poking above the skyline. The acropolis is in fact an unfinished monument – originally called the “National Monument”. Initiated in 1816, a year after Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo, it was meant to be a replica of the Parthenon in Athens, as a memorial to those who had died in the Napoleonic Wars. However, funds ran out during construction and it has never been completed. The panoramic views of the city and the craggy volcanic hills that surround it are amazing. I can only imagine what you could see on a clear day!!
We headed back down the hill and satisfied with a day well spent in the capital city, headed back to our BNB to get ready for tomorrow’s adventure – a trip up to Inverness to see if we can catch a glimpse of the Loch Ness monster. Wish us luck!!
PS… Richard had his first taste of Haggis today. He actually like it.
The sign sums up what it is like to drive in Great Britain.
The Scott Monument.