Scotland Day #10: Exploring Edinburgh

September 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

Day Ten of our Scotland Adventures was the only day in which we woke up in a city. . . and by the time we took the twenty-minute stroll into the center, I was ready to leave.  By city standards, Edinburgh isn’t terrible, but compared to the rest of Scotland, I don’t understand why anyone would want to be in in instead of out of it.

Edinburgh

Cement jungle.

Edinburgh (2)

Even if it was full of cozy cafe’s and art boutiques that made me wish that I had a kitchen to decorate and wasn’t flying back to Italy on Ryanair.  From underground cellars to rooftops patios to church corners, quirky cafe’s could be found everywhere:

EdinburghChurchCafe
We started our stroll through the park and cemetery grounds under the castle, stumbling upon an old-fashioned carousel and popcorn in the park:

EdinburghWarringtonsCarousel
Then we trudged up to the top of the castle hill, poked our heads in, and headed back out.  With the entire castle turned into some sort of performance venue, my favorite nook of it was the couple of stereotypical phone booths lodged in the corner:

EdinburghCastletelephones

After that, a brisk stroll down The Royal Mile, which was full of souvenier stores and fancy tea rooms serving porridge and scones and cuppas:

EdinburghClarindas

, and a couple of smaller museums:

EdinburghThePeoplesStpry

At the end of the Royal Mile was the Scottish Parliament Building, with the unexpected Holyrood Park reaching out to the sky.  I have to admit that it was pretty cool to see such an impressive peak and green park thrown in the middle of a flat, grey landscape.

From there, we started to loop back, taking a detour through the Regent Gardens.  At the top of Calton Hill, we found another scenic wedding photo shoot (this time complete with cannons!):

EdinburghWeddingCouple2

After a blueberry ice pop and a funky art show/sound installation at the Collective Gallery, we wove our way back down and found a court full of international food trailers.  We tried the haggis burger and cinnamon crepes, and then took a stroll down Dundas Street.  Just as the first downpour we experienced out of the car started to come down, we ducked into a gay cafe’ (literally, and it was the most colorful and fun place ever) for some onion soup and ale:

EdinburghOnionSoup
And then another stroll through Stockbridge, along the canals, and back to our India-themed hotel in Haymarket:

EdinburghTajHotel1
Then it was time to pack the car back up, stock up on cheeses and digestive cookies, and drive through the Italian district of the city, out of the suburbs, and eastward, into the Lothians.

I was a little disappointed (but probably more shocked and thrown out-of-place) by Edinburgh.  Despite is being a big city, I was looking forward to seeing this artsy cultural center with a great theatre scene.  But I think that it is meant to be its own trip; fitting it into a tour of rural Scotland does not work too well.

So, by the time that we rolled into Snawdon, a “village” of two houses (one of them our last B&B of the trip), I was back to feeling content and giddy with the fresh air.  Our house was a perfect farewell night to Scotland: cozy and personal and intimate and a bit kitsch:

SnawdonBB3

With warm bathrobes and sunflowers in the fireplace:

SnawdonBB
Our last Scottish sunset was cold and windy (and thus, ideal), with the usual rabbit sneaking its way into the foreground and layers of fields and hills in the background:

SnawdonBB (2)

Our host was an intriguing man that dabbled his interests in a vast variety of hobbies and thus provided a steady stream of interesting conversation.  We nibbled on his dinner together, and then (for the first time all trip; finally, whoot!) sipped on different bottles of whiskey and attempting to find corresponding adjectives for each one of them (this got easier the more we drank).  We also tasted Slow Gin, Snawdon’s own elderberry liquer that tastes like unicorns and rainbows in a bottle (but so much better).

After all that city and drinks, we collapsed into bed with utmost eagerness to do nothing but pass out and hope to wake up to a dreary, drizzly morning.

Good night, Scotland!

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