U.K. Holiday: April 2017


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Sunday, April 16 - Easter in Edinburgh

Today was Easter Sunday, a full day in Edinburgh with no side trips. We got up later than we planned (must not have set the alarm), and after a lovely breakfast, our first stop off the bus was to the castle for the full tour, arriving just before 10:00, ahead of crowds! Of course we got some photos outside and just inside. Included with the ticket is a short 30 minute tour with a guide who gives you a brief but insightful overview of the castle and what went on and still goes on there. Leslie did a great job: very knowledgeable and entertaining. The tour went up to the highest place, then we were turned loose to explore on our own. The oldest building in Edinburgh is St. Margaret's Chapel, a teensy-tiny chapel dating from around 1120, found on the castle grounds. We checked out Mons Meg, a cannon capable of firing a 330 lb cannon ball, saw the remains of David's Tower, the Scottish Crown Jewels, and the Royal apartments. Finally, there was also the Great Hall, and the Scottish National War Memorial. All that and we didn't even see everything! There are a lot of areas to explore and you could spend several hours in the castle but we needed to get going after realizing we'd spent 2 hours already! It's a bit pricey to get in, but worth every pence.

Photos of Edinburgh Castle (70 images)

After the castle, a must-see we noted in our tour book was Greyfriars Bobby Statue and Greyfriars Cemetery. The statue of little Bobby, the Victoria Skye terrier, stands vigil on the street corner in front of the ceremony containing his grave. A dog came trotting through the yard with a stick, and when Neil said "hi", he dropped it and looked at him expectantly. So Neil played stick with him for a few throws as the owner came walking up.

Photos of around Edinburgh in the afternoon (14 images)

Continuing on, we crossed the street to stop in at the free and amazing National Museum of Scotland. We're not museum types, but since it was free, we took a short look around.

Photos of the National Museum of Scotland (14 images)

We stopped for sandwich as we continued down royal mile (the kebab place didn't take credit cards!), and arrived at The Palace of Holyrood House. We hadn't had this on our list, but seeing what we could through the gate in our previous day's promenade, we made up our minds to do the full visit. It was time well spent! When Queen Elizabeth II goes to Edinburgh, this is where she stays. She wasn't visiting, so we got the to see it all. As a bonus, guess what!?, another abbey! Yep, yet again we got to see some ruins in the heart of a big city! Then it was time for afternoon coffee and a drink for Ginger.

Photos of Holyrood Palace (32 images)

We weren't planning on going to the peak of Arthur's Seat, but after asking the gift shop info guy and estimating that it would be just an hour journey, we decided to go for it. Ginger was too tired to make it alllll the way to the top, but went about three-quarters of the way and still got some good views. Neil, of course, went all the way to the top.

Photos of the hike up Arthur's Seat (18 images)

After the hike, we got a bus back to the train station and got tickets for next day's train. We found Chinese restaurant online, near Quattro Zero, but when we got there we saw it was twice as expensive as we saw online... so we went back to Quattro Zero. Good choice - super yummy, and this time, Ginger got gelato for dessert! We were done for the night, so we hopped on the bus back to the hotel.

Photos of Edinburgh in the evening (3 images)