Wednesday, 29 March 2017

September 15, 2016: Our first full day in Edinburgh

The £5 pound discount-for-guests breakfast was not very good - very rubbery scrambled eggs. We decided not to have breakfast at the hotel again, despite the bargain basement price and a fetching orange tabby cat meandering outside the ground level windows.

Off to the Royal Mile: We walked up there from the hotel, and along the way saw lots of kilts, bagpipers, and cashmere stores. We toured St. Giles Cathedral, a splendid kirk (not really a cathedral) redolent with history, wonderful stained glass windows, and magnificent architecture. 

source: unknown, alas!
We saw a bronze sculpture representing the stool Jenny Geddes purportedly hurled in protest on July 23, 1637 against the imposition of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer upon the Scots Presbyterians. 


This tone-deaf idea of Charles I led to riots in 1637 and 1638 in Edinburgh and eventually to the English Civil Wars at the end of which Charles was missing not only his ears but also his head. 

We continued to Edinburgh Castle and stood in line for 45 minutes to get tickets.  I should have bought them in advance, but we enjoyed the wait, as the snaking lineup reminded me a bit of Expo 67. There were people there from all over the world: from a woman in a black niqab, who was pushing a baby stroller, to a Japanese girl in pink and black plaid high heels (on cobblestones!) to the Tilley-clad couple ahead of us who were from Montreal.

The wait was worth it. What an historic place! We joined a guided tour; then once it finished, we went back to revisit what we especially wanted to see: the little cemetery for regimental dogs, St. Margaret's chapel, Mors Meg, the Crown Jewels, the tiny room where Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to the future James I/VI, and the war memorial. Alas, for some reason I didn't take any pictures. Perhaps I thought better shots than mine would be found on-line.


The weather improved and later in the afternoon, the sun came out - still foggy in the distance, but much better views than the day before. This view, looking north across to the Firth of Forth, is not one of mine from the day we were there, but is reminiscent of the day's mistiness:

After our lengthy exploration, we were happy to finally sit down for a late lunch at a cafe there: pasta with salads. This is a shot near to where we ate.


Then we walked back down the Royal Mile, popping in and out of the  medieval nooks and crannies until we came to High St. We found the Museum of Childhood, a rather idiosyncratic collection of children's toys and historical items and therefore providing ...

... many opportunities for a walk down nostalgia lane:


We got back to our cosy little dungeon at the Cairn Hotel after we bought Babybel cheese and batteries for the camera, which may explain my lack of photos for this day! We added the cheese to the extras we had not eaten at breakfast: a banana, clementine, and muffin. After getting into our jammies, we watched Location, Location, Location (!?) and then Murder in Paradise. Humphrey, the lead detective, had been replaced by a snippy character,who was not as much fun, apparently.

I read for about five minutes and then turned the light out around 10:00 pm. Edinburgh is a very walkable city, as my legs could only too well attest. No journal note about insomnia from that night.

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