UK Road Trip

September 3, 2014 —Edinburgh, Day 2

We left the B & B about 10 after another Scottish breakfast, and started walking to the Edinburgh Castle.  Donal, our guide at the castle, was excellent and very witty.  The guided tour lasted about 30 minutes, and then we were on our own to visit the big complex.  We went through the Great Hall and the Royal Palace, which housed the crown jewels (no photos were allowed in that room).  Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to her only son in the palace, and the area we saw contained living rooms with huge fireplaces and a dining room.  The WWI Memorial didn’t allow photos, either, but the rest of the places did.  We saw St.  Margaret’s Chapel (tiny, seats about 17) and heard the big gun that goes off at 1:00 every day and formerly was used to tell the time to other parts of the city.  There were no guns at the castle, which sits on a huge rock and was quite inaccessible in old times.  Then Queen Victoria visited and insisted on having guns, so they put in naval guns, which would have wiped out civilian parts of the city had they ever been fired.  We saw the Firth of Forth from the castle, which is the estuary of the river Forth.  We stopped for a bite at the Redcoat Cafe, and then went our separate ways.  Jay and Barbara walked along the Royal Mile and first stopped at St.  Giles Cathedral, the most important church in Scotland.  We took pictures inside—it’s very beautiful and the Robert Burns window is a highlight.  Next we visited the Scottish Parliament, and went inside the MP chamber, as they were not in session.  We also took a few pictures through the fence of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, which is the queen’s official residence when she’s in Edinburgh.  Next we went through Holyrood Park (not much of a park by our standards) and then headed back toward our dinner meeting place.  We stopped for about a half an hour at the National Museum of Scotland (free).  It was an interesting place.  Everyone got to the Elephant House about the same time, which is where J.  K. Rowling started writing her Harry Potter books.  We were shocked to see Jule and Jennifer sitting at a nearby table (they were at the Heatherdale B & B on the Isle of Skye).  They were equally shocked when Jay went over to say hello.  We saw them again at another restaurant a short time later.  At 7:30, we went to the Beehive Inn for the start of the Literary Pub Tour.  Two gents played adversaries—we walked around Edinburgh and stopped at several pubs, and they kept up a dialogue about the most famous writers from Scotland—Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson and some guy named Ferguson.   They also told the story of Deacon Brodie, the Scot who supposedly was the man Dr. Jekyl and Mr.  Hyde was based on.  In real life, Deacon Brodie designed a more efficient gallows, which was used, ironically, to hang him.  The tour ended around 9:40 on Rose Street, so we walked about 45 minutes to get back to the B & B.  In our 12 hour walk of Edinburgh today we logged about 10.6 miles on the pedometer.  Every part of our bodies hurt, but Barbara’s head has been pretty pain-free in Scotland.  Some dizziness, but that’s pretty normal.  We finished off our whiskey and whiskey and cream and ate some chocolates before turning in.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh from the castle

St Giles

St Giles - Robert Burns window

Mary Queen of Scots - National Museum of Scotland

Palace of Holyroodhouse

The Elephant House

Jule and Jennifer at the Elephant House!

The Elephant House

The Beehive Inn - Start of the Literary Pub Tour

Literary Pub Tour

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