Today is our first full day in Edinburgh! We take a tour of the beautiful home we are staying in (Cluaran Guest House) and can’t believe how wonderful it is. Our hosts have their daughter and new grand baby in town from London- he cries as he wakes from the long evening of sleep and the water boils for our breakfast. LooLoo follows us to the kitchen, hoping to have some of whatever we are getting. We are so contented we could cry.
We opt for the vegetarian breakfast this morning, and are delighted by the scrumptious vegan sausage and homemade orange marmelade. There’s soy milk to go with our coffees, traditional Scottish music playing quietly in the background and we feel truly spoiled. We could have dined for a full two hours, but are anxious to head out so we relax for an hour and head up to get ready.
Hilariously, I had picked out the most gross sounding British chips to bring home to my dad and I discovered they had burst in my bag (which we had to check because it was too large). 😂 I had to dust roast beef chip pieces from out of my entire wardrobe, and (as I discovered a little too late) out from the inside of my shoes. LOL. Sorry dad! No chips for you! I shouldn’t have tried to pack them in retrospect, but oh well. 😜
Most of the art in the house is created by our hosts, who hand painted the calligraphy notes and phrases onto the wall. We are saddened to hear they’ve just sold the home and business to new owners, so next time we visit it may be entirely different. Cherishing the current state and homey vibe as much as possible.
Out on the town, the weather is beautiful as we head to Edinburgh castle and brush up on Scottish history; the stone building is stunning and dates back to 1100; it has been under siege, destroyed and rebuilt and has hosted the most prominent and significant members of Scotland history. The views are breathtaking. The royal Scottish Crown Jewels (crown, septor and sword) are really something to behold). Afterwards, the Elephants cafe down the road with views of the exterior of the castle sitting neatly on the Clifside is well known to have been a favorite writing spot of JK Rowling. Many believe it to be the birthplace of the story! We grab lattes and baked potatoes. I channel her creativity energy and enjoy a moment of relaxation.
Men in kilts play bagpipes on the street, while bustling tourists snap pics and videos. Around the way, a bird society sits outside with gorgeous owls for visitors to hold. I embraced the opportunity to meet a little baby from Malaysia named Hamish, who bit the edge of my sweater so that it would pull my hand in to cuddle him. I melted!
After the cafe break, we do a bit of shopping and visit the National Museum of Scotland! It was getting late in the day, and everything closes so early that we only had a quick thirty minutes and we must go back; it’s a huge museum and wonderful! We get lost in natural sciences and space explorations for a while, two of our favorites. There are large chunks of rocks, stones, fossils and other matter. I quickly become obsessed with a large piece of black and white swirled quartz with a diamond stuck in the center- stunning!
Strolling the streets after the museum, we have in mind to do a bit of shopping and to grab a quick bite to eat; we end up choosing a little burrito joint right after I discovered a Salvation Army retail outlet where I picked up a pair of boots for £4.99 (the price was a mistake, there were two prices marked; but per the law here in Scotland the item must be sold at the lower of the two advertised rates). See, shopping can be an education!
To end the evening, we line up for something I’m extra excited about- an underground tour! I couldn’t get any photos, but the rich history beneath our feet all over the streets of Edinburgh is shocking, mostly disturbing but oh so interesting. The cute host guide had a ghost like painted face, but told only true stories of ancient terrors (instead of campy elaborate fake ones), cannibals (which were common in the 15th century in Scotland, like this one- https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sawney_Bean), and horrific witch trials that took place in the city’s deep vaults. We enjoyed it so much that we’ll probably take a second tour tomorrow with a different company- each one having their own walks and their own vaults to see, separate from their competition. Another must see tomorrow, Arthur’s Seat; a historic view point.
For now it’s off to sleep and to finally rest our poor feet- taking a beating with all these walks. Adventures to be had tomorrow!