Part 15: Exploring Edinburgh


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The Trip

We arrived too late in Edinburgh to see much of anything and our dinner reservation that we made based on a suggestion from a seat mate on the train was a bust -- the seating was at 2200 and we were way to hungry to wait so we ate at the hotel.  It was pretty good, but also pricey; it was a hotel restaurant after all.

Next morning we headed out to look around.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

It was a very blustery day with winds up to 40mph.  Everything was blowing about; note the gal holding her hair.  This fellow was actually doing some work.  He stood there pretty much all day playing the bag pipes.  I gave him a few coins.

Our first objective was Edinburgh Castle that we didn't see the previous day.  Kathleen lost her hat and was lucky I was abut 10 paces behind or otherwise I could not have caught it.

The morning was intermittently sunny which made for better photos.  This is the view looking at Old Town from the Esplanade of the castle.

This was a highly-defensable location set atop a volcanic plug that had been scraped by glacial action.

The Portcullis Entrance.

Edinburgh Castle had been attacked many times and as technology got better, cannons were installed on the battlements.

Passing through the Portcullis, we had to ascend a set of stairs to get to the next level of the structure.

The upper levers provided great views of downtown Edinburgh.  The Victorian building in the foreground is the Balmoral Hotel.  The obelisk and structures on the skyline are part of the National Monument of Scotland on Carleton Hill.

The monument at St. Andrew's Square.

The castle was in good shape due to conservation efforts.  The basic structure has been enhanced many times over the centuries.  Each King left's his mark.

Classic architectural style.

One of the gun ports on the southeast side of the ramparts allowed a view of Salisbury Crags in Hollyroodhouse park.  These crags are also called "Arthur's Seat".

One of the halls had been converted into a war memorial to commemorate battles past.

Ironic that the motto under this crest in the war memorial states "Blessed is the peacemaker".

This is the royal coat of arms for Scotland and claims that the Jacobite is the first king of Britain, France and Ireland.

Within the castle all walkways were cobblestone.  Some of the walkways were quite steep and sure to be interesting when there was ice on ground.

These structures were built right on the volcanic rock.

We left to get some lunch and then headed to Hollyroodhouse Palace.  We had fried pig ears as an appetizer.  They were great so we were in hog heaven.

Hollyroodhouse is yet-another royal palace.  When the Queen is in town, she takes over this facility.  They stay in the apartments on the second floor (which in U.S. terminology would be the 3rd floor).

Looking back at the entrance passage.

The entrance to Hollyroodhouse is rather understated.

The interior courtyard shows 3 styles of architecture: Ionian on the ground, Doric on the first floor and Corinthian on the second floor.

I believe this is the current Queen in her younger days.  No photos were allowed inside, so that made my job easy.

There was an old abbey next to Hollyroodhouse Palace.  There were exposed coffins in the courtyard.

Restoration efforts were underway on part of the Abbey's arch carvings.

This was a very impressive place "back in the day".

The exit path took us around Hollyroodhouse grounds and gardens.  I think the groundskeeper lives in that cottage in the center of the photo.

The north side of the Abbey showed how big it was.

The Abbey was designed in using classical flying buttresses.

The side of the mountain was coated in nice flowers.  The path to Arthur's Seat follows the escarpment.

We walked the Royal Mile back to the hotel and passed St. Giles cathedral.

A very nice, ornate statue in front of St. Giles.

It rained on us on our trip up the hill, but it did give us a nice double rainbow.

One end of the rainbow passed behind the tower  at St. Giles.

We had made reservations at the Witchery the night before, but it is a popular place because we could only get a 2200 seating.  We tried again today and got 2015 and that was better.  The food was outstanding even by our picky tastes.  We had the Lamb Wellington and it was exquisite.

Both castles were great to visit.  The Edinburgh Castle was a "working castle" and had been attacked, and breached, more than once.  Hollyroodhouse is but one of the official royal residences.  I am not sure how many you actually need, but they have many and use this one when they visit Scotland.

Next, we get a rental car and drive north toward Inverness.

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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2015, all rights reserved.
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