Monday, May 22, 2017

The First of Many Castles

Jim's Breakfast
Today started early, with a full breakfast at the hotel.  Our friend’s Bill and Cristina  had oatmeal and scrambled eggs with salmon respectively for breakfast. I had a ham  omelet, while Jim had pancakes and bacon.  When Jim’s breakfast arrived he got a stack of pancakes with a large slice of almost ham-like bacon placed between each pancake all drizzled with maple syrup. It was a very interesting presentation. After breakfast we used the bus system to get to the Royal Mile, so we could go see Edinburgh Castle.  Personally,  I like using a subway system, because I believe it is easier to get a round on then a bus system. With the bus system I have to pay too much attention, and find it harder to know what stop I need. So now onto the castles.

Back of Edinburgh Castle

We arrived at Edinburgh Castle a little bit before it was to open, we thought it opened at 9:00AM but it didn’t open till 9:30AM.  We got our tickets then started exploring the castle. We started exploring, then quickly lost a member of our party.  Jim, Bill, and I went down to see the Lower Defenses believing Cristina was following, she was not.  By the time we came up back up, about 10 minutes later, she was gone.  We looked everywhere in that location for her but she was nowhere to be found.  So we made a collective decision to continue exploring the castle, hoping we might find her.  We got through about half the castle and watched the changing of the guard, before asking one of the castle staff to report Cristina missing and see if she approached any of them saying she was separated from her party.  Sadly, none of the staff saw her, but the castle was extremely crowded due to several cruise ships being in port. So we continued on our tour of the castle.  I finally spotted her in the entrance area as I was looking down from where the big cannon (Mons Meg) is located.  Thankfully Jim has an orange raincoat, thus when he yelled down to her and she looked up she could easily spot us. We discovered she explored the castle on her own so we departed the castle and headed for the Whisky Shop and lunch.

Polish War Bear Statue
We ate lunch at the Red Squirrel, then walked through the Princes Street Gardens on our way to the bus stop to head up to Craigmillar Castle. In the gardens is a statue of a Polish war bear. The bear was befriended by the Polish Army and would help them unload artillery shells.  

Craigmillar Castle is a small castle and is also self explore castle, meaning they don’t give you a map.  So you naturally discover the castle and its rooms. The view from the top of the castle is nice. Plus since this one is out away from the city center, it did not have hoards of people at it.  It was nice.  





Craigmillar Castle from the castle gardens

From Craigmillar, Bill and Cristina went to Mary King’s Close, while Jim and I headed up to Calton Hill.  Calton Hill has several monuments on it and very good views of the city, too bad it was cloudy and dreary looking.  So we took a few pictures, before heading back down to go to dinner.  We ate dinner at a Mexican restaurant,  their Mexican is interesting, they used curry powder instead of cumin.  From there we met back up with Bill and Cristina, to head back to the hotel, thus ending our day.

View from Calton Hill

Tomorrow we pick up the rental car and travel to Aberdeen Shire. It will be interesting, especially for Jim since he will be driving on what we consider the wrong side of the road.

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