U.K. Holiday: April 2017

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Monday, April 17 - On to Stirling

We adhered pretty much to the standard schedule this day: up at 7:00, breakfast at 8:00, and checked out in time to get a bus at about 9:00 to the train bound for the next main city on our itinerary: Stirling. Since we only had £5 or so we exchanged currency, getting $35 USD more in pounds, about £28. We had an open ticket so we could get any train that had a Stirling stop. We missed 1 train by 1 or 2 minutes, but, no worries, since the next one left 30 minutes later.

Photos of the trip to Stirling (3 images)

We got to Stirling around 11:00 - much smaller, sleepier city, so it was much easier to find our way around, making our way to the Stirling Highland Hotel. Our walk from the station to the hotel was only about 10 minutes, but the last 5 were almost vertical up a very steep hill, then up about 3 flights of stairs. But we made it! Our room was ready even though it was before noon. We were only staying two nights in Stirling, and had a day trip scheduled for Tuesday, so we knew we had to pack in what we could upon arrival. After dropping our bags, we set off for the sites.

Our first stop was Stirling Castle. This castle is H-U-G-E and one could spend many hours exploring all the main stops, plus all the nooks and crannies. We were fascinated. Entry also gave us a free tour if we'd meet at the designated spot. While it was quite a long tour, it did give us good information that we would have totally missed otherwise. Stewart was very informative, telling us why the castle was so important in the context of the history and geography of the area. Then we were turned loose to explore on our own. We were surprised to find that Stirling Castle, in the little town of Stirling, was so much bigger than little old Edinburgh Castle in the big city. It's just that Stirling was so much more important in past centuries; thus, a bigger castle.

Photos of Stirling Castle (67 images)

The castle ticket also allowed entry into Argyll's Lodging. Again, there was a free tour, and again, we are glad we got in on it just in time as we really got a lot more out of the landmark with the helpful guide's leading.

Photos of Argyll's Lodging (11 images)

We wanted to also see the Church of the Holy Rude, but saw it was closed. Oh well. So we walked around a bit more, making it a point to get to the bus station to see about the bus we needed to take to Doune the next day. The bus station ticket office closed at 4:45, so we couldn't get tickets but at least we scouted the place out. After decompressing at the hotel for a bit, we st out for dinner at a kind of pub we'd seen called No. 2 Baker Street. It had caught our eye earlier because they had 2-for-£10.99 specials! We retired a bit early as we'd accomplished quite a bit, and we'd had to walk uphill again, and take all the stairs, again.

Photos of walking around Stirling (15 images)