Trip to the UK: Day#6 Scotland

Well, Andrew didn’t sleep very well in the camping pod the second night we were there… we tossed and turned a bit and around 3:00AM, I asked Andrew if he wanted to move to the car. He said yes and said we may as well start driving towards our destination; Edinburgh. So, we hit the road early and drove for about two hours or so back to the main road before the sleepiness set in; we picked out a nice rest stop, pulled in, grabbed our sleeping bags and took a nice 3 hours nap in the car. Trust me when I say this, it was FANTASTIC sleep! Once we woke up, we walked inside to use the loo and decided to eat some breakfast. Our options were between a little ship that had cookie and crackers, waiting for Burger King to open, or a little restaurant that served a full English breakfast. We walked over to check it out and sure enough- there were some mini cups of blood pudding. YUCK! Luckily, that was not included in the Full English Breakfast. We both ordered along with some coffee and sat down to enjoy, swapping portions of our respective plates to one another based on our individual tastes.

The full English Breakfast was a handful of cooked whole mushrooms, two grilled tomatoes, an egg, some bacon, some sausage, some beans, and a hashbrown. We didn’t take a picture but I found one online that looked similar– again no blood pudding in ours!
. Then we were off again towards Edinburgh.

When we arrived in Edinburgh, we found a parking garage relatively close to our hostel. We parked the car, grabbed our packs and a few toiletries/clothing items, and went to check in. We dropped our excess articles off and then headed off to the Royal Mile. The Royal Mile is a main stretch in Edinburgh that has a lot of cool pubs on it, a lot of historical significance, and ends at the Edinburgh castle. We walked up to the castle, paid our entrance fee, picked up audio players for the self guided tour, and were off- I think we probably spent about 2.5 hours at the castle which is HUGE. It is on castle rock a gigantic rock where it oversees the city of Edinburgh. We walked all around outside and inside and took a ton of pictures… and we saw the crown jewels! Here are a few pictures:

After the castle, we headed off back down the Royal Mile checking out little shops and just walking around snapping photos taking in the beauty of Edinburgh. We bought some souvenirs and stopped off at a shop called DemiJohn. It was fantastico. Just a tiny little store with giant hand blown rain-drop shaped jars contained infused liquids… oils, vinegars, vodkas, and my personal favorite, gins. The girl working inside was super friendly and let us try out a few of the gin and vodka mixes. About 20 or so minutes later, we left with two small jars (yin and yang) containing cranberry gin and valencia orange gin. And they made it home in one piece! Who knew that I would leave England with three awesomely wonderful types of gin (the third is Sloe Gin, which was the wedding gift- infused by the bride and groom). I think Andrew got a good picture of the store- I’ll have to search his pictures for it!

Then we headed back to our hostel to drop off the goods before walking down a ways to a place Andrew had read about called “Brew Dog” (here’s the brewery website if you’re interested). It’s a bar/restaurant that serves pizza and we were craving some more “normal to our taste buds” food. The pizzas on the menu had all sorts of toppings from goat cheese to blue cheese to olives and prosciutto… Andrew ordered us just a plain pizza to which the bartender responded “just cheese? It’ll still cost you 8 pounds”. To drink we ordered a Brew Dog Ale- 5AM Saint (cold and delicious) and a Tincture Nuclear Penguin… a “beer” that was 32% alcohol by volume- you were served one shot of it…we figured, what the heck, may as well try it! It tasted like a thick bitter molasses. The pizza was delicious and so was the beer. Afterwards we purchased a pint glass (we’re a bit of pint glass collectors now) and headed back to the hostel to drop it off (only about 2 blocks away). By that time we had to head to our first evening tour; the literary pub crawl.

If you ever find yourself in Edinburgh for the evening looking for something fun and laid back to do— I HIGHLY recommend this literary pub tour: The Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour. It’s run by two comedians who are absolutely wonderful; they are funny and friendly. Even if you know nothing about literary poets, I promise you that you will have a great time and even learn a little something. Plus, you get a decent work out walking from the Old City to the New City, where you finish off in the middle of a pub-lined street.

After the tour, we booked it back to old town to meet up for our second tour of the evening; The Double Dead Tour. We went through Blackhart and booked the double dead which includes the underground city as well as Greyfriar’s Bobby (the graveyard). The woman who lead the tour was celebrating her 30th year of giving tours. She has another regular job too but said she loves giving this ghost tour so much that she keeps doing it. It was fascinating (and SCARY!); we entered a locked underground portion of the old city where the poor folks were forced to live in the old days. Small and cramped and led by candlelight, she told us of ghosts and spirits that others had claimed seeing on her tours and a little boy who always followed her around for some reason. After a while underground, we emerged and headed on to the graveyard where we again moved by candlelight and eventually came to the locked portion of the graveyard which used to be a prison for people who refused to change their religious views due to a decree that everyone would be Catholic (scots and englishmen alike). Prisoners were locked up in this area and made to lie down on the stomachs for months on end. Those who survived that were then executed. Pretty gruesome, eh? I won’t give it all away but I will say that we ended the tour extremely scared and screaming!

Here are a few pictures of the graveyard in the daylight:

After the tours we headed back to our hostel for the night. We were exhausted and planned on getting up early to hike Arthur’s Seat! Edinburgh is a fantastically wonderful city and I would LOVE to go back and spend time there as well as spend some time visiting the highlands!

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