Carolina: Cruising Past 70: Our Lifestyle Adventures: Touring Edinburgh with Friends

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Our Lifestyle Adventures: Touring Edinburgh with Friends

Scottish hog roast
at Stansted International Airport
On the morning of our flight to Edinburgh, we made a scene at the Stansted International Airport, one of six London airports, where we were supposed to take our flight to Edinburgh, Scotland. Baggage allowances are tight for regional flights such as those of, Easy Jet, a trade-off for cheaper fares. So, we had to reconfigure our luggage right there and then.

When we landed at the Edinburgh International Airport, we looked for a taxi and found a van for hire, instead, and met the affable driver, Mike.  He took us to the Piries Hotel. After we checked in, we lost no time at all and took the bus to the city center and started to discover the lovely city on foot. 

As soon as we got off the bus, we encountered a lively band on a small plaza overlooking the central park behind the National Art Museum. A small bas relief of the city was on the sidewalk, a great intro to our short tour. And the view of the Princess Street Gardens was awesome. So we walked towards the Park where the Sir Walter Scott Monument towers over the trees.

At 200 feet six inches high, you can reach the top in 287 steps. It is the largest monument to a writer in the world! What an inspiration! Scott’s novels and poetry, like Ivanhoe, remain classics. Also an advocate, judge and legal administrator and prominent member of the Tory establishment, he served as long term President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. 

the table, with a view of  Edinburgh Castle,
from where  J.K.Rowling wrote at the Elephant House
From there we walked to the Royal Mile, the main thoroughfare of Old Town Edinburgh, approximately one Scots mile long between the Holyrood Palace and the Edinburgh Castle. But we were more interested that night in the Elephant House, the place where J. K. Rowling sat, with a view of Edinburgh Castle, and wrote the first few books of the Harry Potter series. Since the restaurant is owned by a Scott married to a Filipina, it was such a highlight for all of us. Dinner was excellent but it was getting late so we went back to the hotel for a needed rest. 

in front of Edinburgh Castle
We called Mike who had become a friend, and negotiated his services for the trip to Guthrie Castle and a wind up tour of the city. He took us to Edinburgh Castle, a historic fortress that was built atop the hill in the 12th century, overlooking the entire city. After photo ops in front of the castle, we passed by Obscura near the entrance, where extreme photography is on exhibit. When lunch time came, we walked to Oink, at the bottom of the spiral staircase from the Visitor’s Entrance to the Castle. That is where the very popular Scottish hog roast is served, very much like our very own Filipino lechon, complete with the crispy skin!

Queen's Gallery at Holyrood Palace
Satisfied, we got on our way to April’s wedding. But Mike had a short tour planned for us. First he took us to the Queen’s residence in Scotland, the Holyrood Palace.  Unfortunately, they were preparing for her arrival the following day so the place was inaccessible to all. Then he took us to one of the six hills in Edinburgh for a vantage point of the city.

Then we were off to the Forth Bridge, a cantilever railway bridge over the Firth of Forth at the outskirts of Edinburgh.  The beautiful red bridge opened in 1890 and we had a great time taking photos again. Until the Quebec Bridge was built in 1917, Forth Bridge had the longest single cantilever bridge span in the world. Now it is still the second.

at Piries Hotel
Forth Bridge
I have actually written about the wedding in Guthrie Castle so my next series of four posts, after the sponsored post for a client next week, will be about my stay at my daughter’s home in Newcastle-upon-Tyne from July 5 to August 10 and the little known region of Northumberland, United Kingdom.  


  1. Looks like you had a great time in Edinburgh. I'd love to go there someday!


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