Friday, November 1, 2013

Edinburgh: The Walking Tour

Weather be damned; send us your cold, your rain, your wind, we are exploring this city! Today was the day of no plans besides explore both Old and New Town Edinburgh and relish in all of the sites. This seriously is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and should be on everyone's list to visit. Even in the dreary weather! We ate a hearty homemade breakfast, donned rain coats and umbrellas, and headed out into the elements. Fortunately, the weather did lighten and cooperate as the morning progressed.
First stop was the Scott Monument. This is the tall spire from Day 1 and is an open monument that you can hike the 287 internal stairs to get to the top of. The closer you get to the top, the more narrow the stair way gets, the lower the ceiling becomes, and the steeper and smaller the steps become. Honestly, if you are over 6'6" or 2225lbs I am not entirely sure that you can make it to the top (which there is NO disclaimer about this). But there are 3 outlooks (including the top) from which to see a beautiful 360 degree view of the city, from the dead center of the city. It is only $4pounds per person and totally worth it!
Edinburgh: From Scott Monument

Edinburgh: From Scott Monument

Edinburgh: From Scott Monument

Edinburgh: From Scott Monument

The Scott Monument

Traversing the narrow stairs

Happy group

The view down

M A N Y stairs

Edinburgh: From Scott Monument

The wondrous Scott Monument

From here we walked down the entirety of Princes Street (the most popular and famous street, i.e. tourist) in the city, well known for its shopping. Of course we skipped the shopping part, but it was cool to see the old buildings that these modern stores occupy.

The Old Carlton Burial Ground

I have a morbid fascination with old cemeteries. I love reading the gravestones, noting families, age of death, and some of the unique inscriptions.

The Old Carlton Burial Ground

The Old Carlton Burial Ground

Carlton Hill is a large area between Edinburgh and the sea to the east of the city. It is a nice hike and has a great view of the city and the countryside beyond. It also offers a nice peak down into Holyrood Abbey. There is an observatory (that we did not pay the fee to enter) and a few monuments to see, but the view is really why you you come.

Nelson's Monument

Overlooking Edinburgh from Carlton Hill

City Observatory behind the National Monument

The National Monument

Taking a rest

More National Monument

Overlooking Holyrood Abbey

In hiking around, we were a little chilled and thirsty so we just happened upon THE BEST COFFEE PLACE IN THE WORLD. Seriously, Nora and I STILL bring it up every time we talk. "Just in Time" is at the bottom of Carlton Hill before you reach the Abbey and is AWESOME. Free wi-fi, cozy and small, and the best cappuccino that Nora and I have EVER had. It was one of those "I am salivating for more while I am currently drinking it" things. This was also the peak of my espresso and cappuccino consumption because everything paled compared to this. Nora also really enjoyed their scones and Adam their tea and soup.

Cafe near the abbey = BEST cappuccino EVER

Gates to Holyrood Abbey

Holyrood is an absolutely gorgeous Abbey with the massive Holyrood Park surrounding it. There is also a pretty steep entry fee that we did not feel was worth it, so we walked around the exterior of it and the Park, and it was all good. 

Holyrood Abbey

Holyrood Abbey

Holyrood Abbey

Walking around Edinburgh

The rest of the day was spent just meandering around and pub hopping (again, Adam's objective to try as many scotches as possible). We also hit up the National Museum of Scotland and had a really nice time wandering around. Entry is free and the exhibits are REALLY interesting.

3700 millimeters??? Why not meters or centimeters? 

Aimless meanderings