Sunday, October 21, 2012

Scotland- Day 4 Edinburgh

Yesterday found all three of us piled back into the zippy rental car and en route to Edinburgh for the day where our plan was to start at the castle and then get on the hop on hop off bus tour of the city. My mom had been to Edinburgh last September and said that the bus tour would be the best way to see the city. And having just done it days earlier in Glasgow, I knew that it'd be the quickest way to get the lay of the land.

We started at the castle, which is a super impressive working castle today. Not just for tourists, but lots of official type of business that still happens there. We didn't do the audio tour, or get a book accompanying the castle tickets, instead, we just had the free map to help point out where we were and what we were looking at. I'd definitely get something to provide us with more details and information next time. But this time around, we managed just fine.

The castle is as impressive as it looks (you'll see in the pictures below). It's a massive structure steeped in history with such impressive architecture especially when you stop to consider what goes into building houses and buildings these days. Apart from all of that, the viewpoints you got of the city from the castle were amazing. You had a clear view of the Old City and the New City. And we were totally blessed with a clear day.

After the castle, we walked down the Royal Mile. The saving grace is that the architecture is so impressive, historic and old. But the downside is that it's crawling with tourists and tourist shops every two feet. It reminded me a bit of the Third Street Promenade. So when we made our way away from that and got on the hop on hop off tour, I was grateful to get the lay of the land.

We got a later start to the day and didn't arrive in Edinburgh until noon. It was nice to just wake up whenever as opposed to needing to get on the road by a certain time. So by the time we did the castle tour and grabbed a bite to eat (at a completely lame place that was chosen based on our hangry-level and not some thought out decision to find the best fish and chips in the city), we wanted to get on the bus to see what this city was all about.

I loved the bus tour and wished we had started with that because we would have found at least two different areas which would have been more appropriate to find a proper and decent meal. Alas we didn't. While I wish the bus would stop long enough to give us an opportunity to photograph this stuff, I did get a decent number of photos of this beautiful and historic city while in motion. Next time, we'll try and get to a city early enough so that we can actually hop off, take some photos and then hop back on. For the past two cities, we've been getting too late of a start and have ended up on the last tour of the night.

After the bus tour, it was time to head back to Glasgow where we went back to the same restaurant Katie and I went to the first night- The Finnieston Bar. The food was just as good as it was on Thursday and the staff remained just as delightful and nice.

We've found in Edinburgh and Glasgow especially, that people really take the time to ask where you're from when they hear your accent. They tend to get really excited when we say we're from Los Angeles. And then they ask you how long you're in town for, what you're doing and where else you may be going. They seem to be impressed with how much we're doing and seem genuinely grateful that we're there. It's been a nice welcome, especially coming off a place like Ireland where everyone really is so warm and inviting.

Tomorrow Jill goes off to explore Glasgow on her own while Katie and I head down to Ayr. Our favorite bartender in Santa Monica was a wonderful man named Spud. His real name was Allan, but we always knew him as Spud. He was a warm, kind, caring and considerate person who we instantly felt drawn to. He was sick on and off for several years before going back to Scotland a couple of years ago for the last year of his life.

When he passed away on January 26th and I reached out to his wife (who I'd never met), Trish and I started communicating very loosely by Facebook and email. She had mentioned meeting me in Santa Monica when she felt stronger emotionally to make the trip. So when I shared that I was likely going to be in Scotland this fall (this was many many months ago), she wanted to meet up.

So here we are! Tomorrow Katie and I will meet Trish and get to see where Spud grew up and see a different part of Scotland. I am sure it's going to be an emotional day, but I'm grateful to have the opportunity to be closer to Spud and the people he loves.

Check out Edinburgh below:


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