I realized that I posted about What I Saw on My Vacation, but not What I Did. Naughty me!
Edinburgh is one of those very walkable cities, and lucky for visitors they've kept so much of the old look/feel. One of the things I like doing when I visit a new place (or revisit a place after a long time) is to take one of those guided bus tours. Now, I admit that I hate them in NYC, so I'm sure that the natives in whichever city I'm in feel the same. Still, they're so wonderful for getting a sense of what the city looks like and how it's laid out. Despite it being Edinburgh, I managed to get a sunburn!
The second day we were there we went to Inchcolm. There is an old riddle asking How Many Inches Is the Forth, and now I know because I've been to one. The grey (and ultimately rainy) day was a perfect setting for this trip -- the romance of the Abbey, the squawking of the gulls all seemed slightly otherworldly. We'd have explored more had the birds been more welcoming, and we were disappointed that we didn't see any seals, dolphins or puffins. On our way back to Edinburgh, we had a pub lunch at the Hawes Inn and then wandered through South Queensferry. Turns out, we'd chosen the day of the Burry Man festival - lucky us!
Day Three found us wandering the Royal Mile, walking to Holyrood Palace and then up the Mound to Edinburgh Castle. First of all, this was all done in a non-stop rain, so there was some discomfort all around. Second, Thing One doesn't like to listen to docents or read guidebooks, which I find a bit problematic (not as problematic as Thing Two's insistence on reading/looking at Absolutely Everything). There's been a push towards iPod/Playaway-like guides, replacing the docents would would talk to you and answer questions. At Holyrood, I remembered a painting of David Rizzio (I think - it's been 25 years!) that was painted in such a way as to have the eyes follow you around the room. There was no mention of anything like that in this guide, and the "helpful aides" scattered around looked about as helpful and interested as a wet turnip. So... no picture. Still, the rooms were interesting to see again and there was enough information that I felt slightly more knowledgeable than when I walked in. We didn't get a walking guide to the Castle, instead wandering around the various places (avoiding the military museum). Again, it's an impressive place. Thing One was floored that it hadn't been renovated or updated, that Edinburgh had kept this as it was. Our American habit of tearing down gets to him at times.
Days Three and Four were mostly quiet days, with shopping and the Book Festival taking up time. On our "to do" list for any future visits is a walk up Arthur's Seat, a trip to Craigmillar and possibly to Rosslyn Chapel. And that concludes the travel segment of this blog... to be continued sometime, perhaps next summer!