A Full Day in Edinburgh

23 Jul

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We finished our day yesterday with a meal at a little restaurant called “Creelers”.  It is a small mom and pop place that features fresh seafood.  Jimmy had sea bass and I had scallops served on top of smoked fish and tiny muscles (I think).  I’m not exactly sure what it was but it was delicious.  These were served with steamed cabbage and fresh garden peas.  Very Scottish and very flavorful.  We could barely stay awake until the meal was over, walked back to the hotel and went to bed at about 8:30 pm (2:30 pm at home).

The sun was still up when we went to bed and it was up when we woke up at about 7:00 am.  Maybe we’ll be able to stay up late enough tonight to see it get dark, but I’m not so sure after the very active day we’ve had.  I felt back to normal after a good night’s sleep.  Jimmy however, says he feels like he’s worked midnights.

To start our day today, we ate breakfast at the hotel.  It’s much different than hotel breakfasts in the US.  We were offered hot tea or coffee and white or “brown” toast when we sat down.  Then we helped ourselves to a buffet that included granola, plain yogurt, fresh orange and grapefruit cross-sections, watermelon, a variety of cheeses, cold salmon fillets, some type of cold sausage slices (like lunch meat, not breakfast sausage) many different cereals, and muesli (which was a delicious mixture of oats, dried fruit and nuts).  We easily filled up on all that,  but didn’t notice the table of breads and pastries until we were finished.  We plan to sample those tomorrow!

After breakfast we walked up the hill to Edinburgh Castle and were there when it opened (which was a really smart thing to do). People were waiting in a long line to get in when we left.  It was very interesting and the views were amazing.  It’s built on the highest point in the city.  We had a short live tour, then roamed around at our own pace with an audioguide, which is a great way to do a tour.  You can skip the stuff you are not interested in and hear about the things you are.  We got to see the crown jewels of Scotland which are housed there, and hear much about the history of the region.  The oldest building with in the castle walls (and within Edinburgh) is the tiny chapel.  King David I built the building in 1130 as a private chapel for the royal family.

Once we finished touring the castle, we started back down the hill toward Holyrood Palace.  We stopped at a little cafe and I had a cup of black currant hot tea (it was about 42 degrees when we started out this morning) and Jimmy had a cappucino.  The cafe was on the second floor above a bakery and overlooked the street below.

For lunch, we had a delicious meal at a place called Cannon’s Gait Bistro.  One of the reasons we chose this place was because their menu mentioned an appetizer of haggis, neeps, and tatties.  Jimmy was determined to try haggis while we were here since it is one of the traditional foods by which Scotland is known.  We thought we might as well be smart and just order a small appetizer portion since it would probably taste horrible.  I’d already done my research enough to know that neeps are turnips, tatties or potatoes (both of these are mashed) and haggis contained things I would never, ever eat!  Our server brought it out to us with two forks, so being a good sport, and not wanting Jimmy to face this horrible fate alone, I took a bite as well.  It was delicious!  We couldn’t believe how much we liked it.  Jimmy still doesn’t know what’s in it and he asked me not to tell him, and I’d just as soon not recall what I’d read, but it was really really good! (You can google it if you want to know).  For our meal, I had a chicory, apple, and walnut salad with a lemon vinegrette dressing.  I didn’t know exactly what chicory was (in fact I thought I’d remembered a chicory coffee) but it was very similar to endive.  Jimmy had haddock, “chips” (french fries) and peas with homemade tartar sauce.  We enjoyed the meal and have found the Scottish people to be so kind.  We’ve really enjoyed meeting them.

Once we were fortified after lunch, we did a quick audio tour of Holyrood Palace, the place where the queen stays when she is in Edinburgh.  We really enjoyed the history and the stories about Mary Queen of Scots.  Right out the back door of the castle is the pathway that leads to Arthur’s Seat.  It was a strenuous climb, but the views from the top were worth it.  We made it all the way to the summit.  On our way down (which was a much easier walk than the climb up) we met a couple of American students, one from Morehead State in KY and one from Austin Peay.  Sarah, you will enjoy this, and it just proves that we live in a small world.  They were studying abroad with CCSA and the student from Austin Peay mentioned a professor that was with his group by the name of Mickey.  We told them that we had met Mickey when we took you to the Nashville airport last year for your trip to London.  What are the odds of that?  They had just come from London where they were staying at Kings College, Hamstead and were enjoying the food at Pollock Hall this weekend at the University of Edinburgh.

We hiked back down and stopped at a little sidewalk cafe for water and couldn’t resist sharing a piece of Victorian Sponge Cake (after all, we’d probably already logged about 10 miles of walking for the day!)

We came back to our room at about 5:45, checked the internet for some dinner ideas and decided to eat at a place right down the street from our hotel.  We had already walked so far today this was a really appealing option!  They seated us beside the huge old windows that look out onto the sidewalk and street and a big park right beside the restaurant. (All the buildings are very old and very interesting) Jimmy couldn’t resist the special, which was ribeye and I chose the stuffed red pepper with feta and couscous.  We had another very kind waitress and when she asked us what would we like to drink with our meal, I said I’d really love some iced tea but knew they probably didn’t serve it.  She said they didn’t but that she would make us some.  She asked if we wanted it with ice and lemon and we both said yes please (probably a bit too enthusiastically, after all, we’d hiked up Arthur’s Seat!!) because she laughed.  We got exactly one glass apiece (no automatic refills here as there are in the US) and it was a bit weak, but so appreciated.   After dinner it was back to the room.  We have more to see tomorrow before boarding the train back to London.  Wonder if I could find more haggis, neeps, and tatties for a bedtime snack?


4 Responses to “A Full Day in Edinburgh”

  1. Pat Lewis July 23, 2011 at 9:03 pm #

    Looked up Haggis, Tatties and neeps. No Thank you.But Dad said he would try it!!! Of course he trys everything.
    Sounds like another full day . The pictures are beautiful.

  2. thecozylittlekitchen July 23, 2011 at 10:53 pm #

    What an amazing trip already! The neat place where you got the hot tea sounds just delightful. I love your pictures, too–keep the journaling coming!! :)

  3. Sarah July 24, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

    That is so cool that you met up with CCSA students!!! Wish I was there!!! I’m really enjoying your blog! So glad you and dad are enjoying yourselves, and it sounds like you guys are navigating really well! I have a feeling this won’t be your last trip abroad :) Perhaps a whole family trip next??? ;)

  4. Sarah July 24, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

    Oh, and I started laughing when I saw the picture of dad with his tea cup!!!! Can’t wait for pictures of your afternoon tea in London! LOL

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