Category Archives: 2011 Scotland

EDINBURGH 2011 – DAY 3 – UP HIGH

Our final morning in Edinburgh before we headed back south.

To fill the time this morning we were recommended the Scott Monument by the guy behind the the desk at our hotel. Actually it wasn’t a hotel but an aparthotel, which is exactly as it sounds – an apartment rented by the day. I have been to this particular one a number of times now and I would highly recommend it. Anyway, given that whenever we are away with friends of ours we always have to find a tower to climb it seemed appropriate to climb one in his home nation in his honour.

The monument itself isn’t that high but the stairs to the top get progressively narrower until you reach the very top when it is too narrow for the average American to squeeze through. Fortunately being so slim and svelte myself I got through without any problems… At the top you get a good view across the city and it not being very large you can see the edges, something you would struggle to do in, say, London.

And that was all we had time for pretty much. We wandered back along Princes Street stopping only in Waterstones before heading off to the airport and back home.

You can see all the pictures from our Edinburgh trip here.

EDINBURGH 2011 – DAY 1 – ON THE TOURIST TRAP

I have been to Edinburgh on a number of occasions and with the exception of my first visit, the weather has always been fantastic. We arrived today to what might be considered more typical conditions – overcast and drizzly.

Overcast conditions in the Cotswolds might spoil your day but the houses still have a golden glow from the limestone. The same cannot be said for Edinburgh who’s sturdy and imposing buildings seem to have been built out of the dark, grey, clouds that loom overhead.

That said Edinburgh is still a great place to visit and it’s not just me that thinks so but the thousands of tourists from overseas that you bump into every few paces at the top of the royal mile. It seems that very few coach parties make it to the bottom of the hill to see Holyrood.

The same can be said for Calton Hill which has a few interesting building on its top with architectural nods to the Greeks but thankfully few tourists.

In the evening we went for a meal in Howies on Waterloo Place which has the most understated entrance that we almost walked straight past it. That doesn’t seem to have affected trade though as it was packed.

We had a great meal but there was an awkward moment when shortly after our main course had arrived three waiters came to our table within seconds of each other to ask how our meal was. This might be taking great customer service a bit too far and I am sure that the final waitress didn’t understand when she arrived, asked if everything was ok with our meal and we both just giggled like schoolchildren!

EDINBURGH 2011 – DAY 2 – OFF THE BEATEN TRACK

After spending much of yesterday being crushed between tour groups we decided that today we would go off the beaten track a little and head away from the heart of the city towards Leith.

Our first destination was Dean Village, an area of attractive looking buildings which were, no doubt, once home to the cities poor but now are the preserve of those with money. This was also our starting point to pick up the Leith Walk an attractive riverside pathway alongside the Water of Leith. Unfortunately the “Water of Scotland” was also descending upon us from above and so we abandoned the walk and got a bus the rest of the way to the docks.

Link many other cities the Leith docks have undergone some regeneration and now has a smart new shopping centre with the Royal Yacht Britannia moored alongside. The rest of the docks needs a bit more work it is fair to say.

Once the rain had died down we caught a bus back towards town and headed into the Royal Botanic Garden which was stunning (and wet). I have to say that they were the best botanical gardens we have ever been into and we seem to have visited a few on our travels. However, by the time we had reached the far side it was raining steadily and so we made our way back to the comfort of our hotel.

You can see pictures from the gardens and more here.