Our first full day in Edinburgh was a walk around day. In fact, if my Fitbit was to be believed, it was over 9 miles. The day served as a precursor to what we would do in Edinburgh. The more we reflect on our trip the more we realized how much we missed. This happens when you travel. If you enjoy the parts you did explore, and trust me we did, then you cannot worry about what you missed.
We walked down Pleasance Street toward the Royal Mile. Along the way we passed the Holyrood 9A, which would be come one of our favorite restaurants, but more importantly we passed a bagpipe shop. Once you pass a bagpipe shop, you know you are in Scotland.
When reached the World’s End at the Royal Mile, we turned away from the Castle and towards the Palace. Edinburgh Castle is where the rulers of Scotland ruled from and Holyrood Palace is the British royalty’s residence in Edinburgh. The Royal Mile begins and ends with them.
We passed Cadenhead’s Whisky Shop, which will supply us with a great souvenir for home. We saw even more shops that sell kilts and Celtic jewelry. We passed a church whose graveyard has Adam Smith’s tomb. We passed a Starbucks that we will shamelessly use for its wi-fi and to load up on caffeine. We passed Unknown Pleasures, a record shop named after the Joy Division album, where I ended up spending a few quid. We passed Oink, which is the best cheap eat in Edinburgh and should take part in Hogs for the Cause. We passed the Scottish Parliament and remarked how their supposed “open curtain” design looks an awful lot like handguns.
We took some pictures of the Palace and then walked through the huge Queen’s park. We all planned to climb the crags later, but Cristina and I never did. My undiagnosed PR often left me winded and sore. I chalked it up to being old and out of shape. This might be my only regret of the trip, especially that Cristina did not get to do them. We then decided to see a part of Edinburgh that most tourists don’t venture into by walking all the way to Firth of Forth. There was nothing for tourists along the way, but it was fascinating for travelers. The gardens are fascinating and the decorations help tell you about the people. The street names give clues about the neighborhoods history. Finally, we make out to Portobello or where Edinburgh meets the sea.
On our way back, we stop at the Scottie Lounge for lunch. It’s just a charming little pub with a great staff. We order the Sunday roast dinners (beef for me, chicken for Cristina…not sure which one Cody had). It was the perfect plate of comfort food. We enjoyed listening to an older gentlemen entertain his two lady friends with stories about soccer, Scotland, and how you need to have English strawberries with Scottish cream, which I found out later he was 100% correct. He talked to us a little telling us various tourist attractions that we need to see. We all wanted to ask what he felt about the upcoming vote for independence, but we did not. Yet, I think he did answer the question with his description of the perfect strawberries and cream.
We then headed back and walked in a few stores. I bought some records that day from Unknown Pleasures, which I will tie up in one record store blog. We did find a bookstore that was going out of business. Cristina found a UK edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The sales clerk told us that she used to live next to Joanne and how her kids would often play together. I had no idea who the woman was referring to. I was about to call her crazy until she said that Joanne had gave her a special limited pressing of the series which is when I realized that Joanne is the J in JK Rowling. Later in the trip, we would see the place where Harry Potter was born (the books not the character) and the school that inspired Hogwarts. We explored a little more of the Royal Mile, but we had to wake up for 4:30 to for our insanely early flight to Dublin. We stopped at a Tesco and made our own supper and called it a night wondering if Guinness actually does taste better in Dublin.