Even more of Edinburgh

We were all able to enjoy a great few days seeing Edinburgh after a one-day set back (see previous post).  So, here’s the recap.

Day 4:  We started out by heading to the European market for an early lunch — brats and sausages and a ham and cheese toastie!  We wanted to be sure we didn’t get hungry (hangry) while touring Edinburgh Castle, which was our next stop!  

We decided to following a group along on a great (and witty) 30-minute guided tour and then roamed around and in the buildings on our own.  

        

We learned why they fire a 1 o’clock canon, instead of a 12 o’clock canon, for example.  Do you know?  We’ll be happy to tell you. 🙂

 

One of two super cool, really big torches outside the front of the castle.

  

Behind the kids, on the left, Robert the Bruce.  On the right, William Wallace.

Behind the kids, on the right, William Wallace.

It is an immense and beautiful castle with so much history!

Our next stop was a first visit for some and a second visit for others to the National Museum of Scotland.  We had a very special and knowledgeable tour guide — L!  But before “the tour” began, we stopped for a snack at the museum brasserie.  Scotch (Laphroaig) for Mike, hot chocolate and shortbread for the kids and a latte and shortbread for me.

 

L wanted us to start at the bottom (earliest times) and work our way up.  He had fun showing us the stuff he’d discovered the previous day, which was fun!  As we had a little less than 2 hours before closing, we had to move quickly but not too quickly that we felt like we were missing things.  We loved how the kids LOVED it!  There is so much to read and see and try. It’s a fabulous museum.  (Both G and L requested to go back again!!) 🙂

 

 

It’s Dolly the Sheep!

We were having fun having one of us talking at one end of the room, while the other was listening at the other end of the room, until Mike disconnected the call in the middle! :/

And while the kids and Mike explored more about the “sources, generation, and use of energy,”

I explored the Fashion and Style gallery with fashions and info “from 18th century court dresses to contemporary catwalk creations.”

Day 5:  After a hearty (almost Scottish?) breakfast of eggs, sausage, toast/crumpets, juice, tea/coffee, we were off to climb Arthur’s Seat (aka Sir Arthur and St. Arthur to us).  We apparently wanted it to be fancier. ; )  

It’s the main peak of the group of mountains in Edinburgh, which form most of Holyrood Park — a royal park of 650 acres next to the Holyrood Palace.  It’s about 1 mile east of Edinburgh Castle. The highest point (where L and Mike did the last bit of climbing) is at 822 feet.  Many claim that its name is derived from the legends about King Arthur.

It was a great climb, but ridiculous winds threatened to knock us down a few times!!  On the way up, we choose the more difficult climb by accident.  It was made up of natural rock steps, but they were steep, wet, muddy, and right along the edge.  Luckily the wind was blowing us toward the mountain rather than away!  

  

We finally made it to the top, where there was a lot more room to enjoy the view without the fear of being swept off the side.  There was another higher peak, that G and I chose to enjoy from where we were, while Mike and L climbed to the top of it.  L had to remain virtually horizontal as it was even windier up there!  

 

After making our way back down via a much easier path,

   

we walked around the side of the Holyrood Palace (the official residence in Scotland of the Royal Family)

and then meandered our way up the section of the Royal Mile we hadn’t yet covered.  We stopped for a late lunch at Canons’ Gait.  While Leo was interested in trying the Haggis bites (he said he was hungry enough that even if he didn’t like them, he’d eat them), we decided we’d try it somewhere else.  We’ll keep you posted…and let you know how much we like it…or not…

After lunch we stopped at the Fudge House, where we took much too much time to pick out handmade fudge, but it was worth the time.  We ended up choosing 1 butterscotch and 1 dark chocolate!  Oh my!!  Sooooo good!  

As we waited to catch a bus back to the apartment, we ran into a family whose picture G and I took when we were at the top of Arthur’s Seat! 🙂  We’d been looking at a building off in the distance and asked if they knew what it was. They didn’t, so I did some research when we got back (as I was curious) and found out that it was originally the Old Royal High School, built between 1826 and 1829.  The school vacated the building in 1968 for a larger space. It has been praised as “the finest monument of the Greek revival in Scotland.”  Currently there are plans to make it into a luxury hotel or a music school!  We’ll have to stay tuned!

Day 6:  This morning, we headed to the west end of Edinburgh — the theater area — to take what else but a bit of theater. 🙂  It was an 11 am show in a temporary stage built for the Christmas season, right across from the concert hall called Usher Hall.  The show was “Morgan & West:  A (sort of) Christmas Carol Magic Show.”  

The inside of the “theater” looked similar to a big top with a stage in front.  There were only 13 people in the audience, including us!  Apparently, the 11 am show isn’t a big seller until after school lets out.  The rest of their shows (during the school holidays) are sold out, so we felt lucky to be able to see it.  We all enjoyed it, laughed a lot, and I even got called up to the stage to act as Scrooge’s fiance.  I think we’ll just say that while it may have been my debut, I’m not sure you’ll find me on the stage again anytime soon.  🙂  G pointed out that my face was red the whole time. 🙂  

After the show, we stopped by a nearby cemetery at St. Cuthbert’s Church to see some really, really old tombstones.  We even spotted an Ebenezer!** 

On our way to the European Market for lunch because it’s just that good, we walked through the Princes Street Garden, which is a very pretty park that sits in the shadow of the immense Edinburgh Castle.  There was a gigantic fountain and a playground, which we had to stop at for a few minutes, of course! 🙂

 

    

At the European Market, G got to speak French with a trio of folks who happened to be perched at the same barrel as us, while Mike and L were getting L’s pork sandwich.  One of the them told G that she had a “very French accent,” so G was very proud! 🙂

We decided to do a bus tour after lunch as it was a beautiful day, and we’d read about one of the tours offering audio geared toward kids — Horrible Histories.  🙂  Mike and I went back and forth between listening to the regular tour and the Horrible Histories version. The kids both enjoyed it and heard some interesting stories, to be sure! 🙂

We spent the evening watching the 2009 version of “A Christmas Carol” and then reading a couple more chapters of the original.  We started reading it together this week, which has been fun and it makes seeing all these different versions — plays and movies — even more meaningful and interesting. 🙂

**Now for those who like cool coincidences, keep reading. For those who don’t (like Mike), you may stop reading.  I, personally, find them fascinating! 🙂

As I was writing this post, I wanted to double check that Ebenezer has only 3 letter “e”s, so I did a quick Google search and found this article:

http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/entertainment/how-an-edinburgh-gravestone-inspired-ebenezer-scrooge-1-4311709

In addition to this article being published just yesterday, the cemetery mentioned in it is one that we were standing right in front of yesterday as we waited for the bus — we were looking at it and just past it to the hilltop behind where the Old Royal High School stands.

 

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