Day 3 of my Scottish stay saw me heading off to the fair city of Edinburgh bright and early this morning; well it was so early it wasn't even bright yet! The citylink busses are a popular mode of inter city transit in the UK, and Edinburgh is just about an hour and 10 mins from Glasgow - all things and traffic being equal. It was my first time getting into town and finding the bus depot etc. by myself, but armed with loads of instructions from Nups and a handy dandy map and my God given good looks and great sense of direction, I was just fine!
Got to Edinburgh by about 11ish and wandered about for a bit down quaint alleyways and up and down steps and turns that seemed to lead nowhere, but opened up into the cutiest little squares. After a bit of aimless wandering, I suddenly stumbled upon my destination - the Royal Mile; the street that connects Holyrood House Palace to Edinburgh Castle and is probably one of the oldest streets in the city. Still cobblestoned for the most part, and sometimes barely wide enough for a single car to fit through, the Royal Mile winds its way across the city and up the steep volcanic hill where the Castle stands proud at its summit.
The Mile itself is marked with several points of interest and historic buildings and monuments, the most noted of them being John Knox House, St. Giles Cathedreal and the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre.
I spent almost 3 hours at Edinburgh Castle trying to seep in all the centuries of history it had to offer. From the most important symbols of Scottish nationhood, Crown Jewels of Scotland The Honours of Scotland and the Stone of Destiny to Mons Meg a giant Medieval seige gun who's canon balls were said to weight over 180 kgs, Edinburgh Castle is rich in Scottish tradition and history and seeing it was an absolute delight for me.
I finally managed to tear myself away from the Castle telling myself (firmly) that Edinburgh has a lot more to offer and after one last look, and one last picture I once again found myself at the very start of the Royal Mile. Situated quite conveniently just outside the main gates was the second thing on my "must do" list - the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre! I decided to take the tour that included the tasting of several samples from across Scotland and was not disappointed with either. I only wish I could have done the tasting with someone else - sitting at a bar drinking all by youself is rather boring even though the bar staff were really nice and helpful and took some pics of Mac and me, and even offered to call me a taxi when I was done as I was rather ... *ahem*... shakey!
Still managed to find my way back to the bus stand and catch the Citylink back to Glasgow and then the local transit back home. Note to self and for those who want to do a whisky tasting: Don't do it on a largely empty stomach. The whisky goes down fine, and then tends to shoot right up to your head!
Ah well, live and learn!