UK Road Trip

September 2, 2014 — Edinburgh, Day 1

Aileen made us a tasty Scottish breakfast at 9:00, then we waited for Gayle and Jerry to arrive, as their plane from Belfast was delayed.  They got to the B & B around noon, and we left for the free walking tour that Gayle got tickets for months ago.  We took the tram from Haymarket to St Andrews Square and walked to Starbucks where the tour began.  Kim, our guide, was very knowledgeable but soft-spoken, so her narrative was often drowned out by guides around us.  We spent about 2 1/2 hours seeing the exteriors of St.  Giles Church, Edinburgh Castle, and the Greyfrier’s Bobby monument (Bobby was the Scottish terrier that reputedly stayed at the graveside of his master for 14 years—Kim said it was the most visited gravesite in the UK).  Near Heriot’s school, where J.K.  Rowling was supposedly inspired for the Harry Potter books, we saw the bagpipe marching band practicing.  We also walked by The Elephant House, a small coffee shop, where Rowling spent a lot of time when she was in Edinburgh because she couldn’t afford to keep her small flat heated.  She had divorced her abusive husband and moved here because her sister lived in Edinburgh and had found her the flat.  Kim told us that the term ‘shit-faced drunk’ originated here.  There were very tall buildings in the city before indoor plumbing was invented, and there were certain times of day (10 pm was one) when people could empty the chamber pots out their windows.  The pubs also closed at 10 pm, so some drinkers didn’t quite make it inside—you get the idea.  Kim also told us the term graveyard shift came from family having to guard gravesites so robbers wouldn’t take the bodies for medical research.  After the tour we walked back to Rose Street and had dinner at Rosehips.  I ordered some haggis as an appetizer and surprisingly those who tried it (Gayle didn’t try it) thought it was very good.  We went back to the B & B and planned tomorrow’s schedule while drinking our whiskey and some of the whiskey and cream that we bought at Edradour distillery.  It’s great to have the six of us in Edinburgh safely without any bigger problems than some delayed flights for the Lyndalls and Dustruds.

Heriot’s school - bagpipe band practice

St. Giles Cathedral

Our walking tour group

Edinburgh walking tour

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh walking tour

Edinburgh walking tour - Greyfriars Bobby’s headstone

Greyfriars Church

Greyfriars Bobby

Edinburgh Castle


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