Monday, October 15, 2012

Weekend Trip: Edinburgh, Scotland

Actual date of this event: 5-7 October

Luke and I have a HUGE list of places we want to visit while living in the United Kingdom. And since we have arrived, we have seen quite a few already. The biggest of them all is Edinburgh, and we decided to save this for a fun getaway with the family. Edinburgh is a 2.5 hour train ride away and is the capitol of Scotland. After Luke and I took the train to Glasgow we decided that taking a train to Edinburgh was a no-brainer, especially since, well, trains are fun. Because you get to booze the whole time.

Friday morning, Luke, Julie, my mom, my dad and I walked to the train station since it is only about a mile away. It was a nice morning and it helped get our metabolism going for a train ride of boozing and snacking. We arrive at the train station, and are super excited. We even had the first class lounge doors open for us a few times... by accident of course... but since we are good Christians, we did not take advantage.

After collecting our tickets, we walk to the waiting area. And BAM! Our train in canceled. Canceled?! What?! How can a train be canceled? So we frantically trying to decide what we are supposed to do. A ScotRail worker tells us that buses are waiting around the corner to take us to our destination. A bus? That is NOT what we paid for. We paid to booze. We paid to seen the beautiful coast that the rail follows. We paid to sit at a table. We paid to be able to face each other and chat. We paid to booze! Unfortunately, there was no other option. Luke and I were FURIOUS. Our family didnt know any better, so they didnt mind so much.

We head to the bus, and guess what, there is NO bathroom on the bus. Seriously? How do you expect a bus full of people to go 3 hours (which is longer than the train ride would have been) to not have to pee? So with 20 minutes until departure, Luke and I put our stuff down in some seats and head to find a bathroom. Guess what? In the train station, you have to pay to pee. Screw that! So we walk quickly to the other side of the mall. When we get back to the bus, the bus driver was literally 10 seconds from leaving us. Thankfully, Julie told him that we were going to the restroom and would be back any second. 20 minutes until departure, yeah right! I decided that I was STILL going to booze while on the bus, so I handed out the train booze to Julie and my dad. But we had to sip slowly or else we would need to go to the bathroom. And what do you know... along the way to Edinburgh, another passenger had to use the restroom. Badly.  Sp the bus driver pulled over. Luckily, they were quick, and we were back on the road in no time.

After a very uneventful bus trip to Edinburgh, we are dropped off at the train station and it is CROWDED. So we shuffle throught he crowd to find our way to our apartment at which we were staying. We walk up a very steep street, take a detour, and arrive at our little flat. It did the trick for the weekend and all five of us stayed together for much cheaper than if we were at a B&B or a hotel.

We put our stuff down and set out to walking around. It was getting dark around this time and close to dinner, so we wet to Rose Street to find some food. Just like in Aberdeen, most restaurants expect you to make a booking which we had not made. We are casual and frugal people though so we didnt really care where we ate... which ended up being a pub. After dinner, we found a couple pubs to have a few drinks before we called it a night.

On Saturday morning, we left the flat around 9:30 am for a day of sight-seeing. Our flat was right off of the Royal Mile which is the major tourist area of Edinburgh. We decided to start at Holyrood Palace and head toward the castle. So here is a bit of how our day went..

1.) peered at Holyrood Palace from the outside

2.) visited the Scottish Parliament buidling

3.) gazed at the architecture of the buildings along the Royal Mile and other random things

Luke and I made a turn down these stairs. Then when everyone got to the bottom we told them we just wanted to take a quick picture then were heading back up. Hahaha such a fun joke!
4.) visited St. Giles Cathedral

5.) peered at Edinburgh Castle from the outside

6.) entered the Whisky Tour gift shop

7.) enjoyed some lunch

8.) stopped in Old Calton Cemetery along Waterloo Place (Princes Street)

9.) hiked Canton Hill

Stairss or Ramp? You choose.

10.) walked by  St Andrews house or the Scottish Government building

11.) enjoyed a drink at a bar while discussing what to do next. Luke and I really wanted to hike Arthur's Seat, but didnt think we had enough time since we still had a few other things we wanted to do. Plus, I am sure Luke and I will be back to Edinburgh again and can do it at that time since it is a pretty big hike to do. My mom decided she would go back to the flat to rest, while the rest of us continued exploring.

12.) admired the beauty of the Scott Monument and Princes Street Gardens

13.) took a stroll through the International Market that happened to be going on that weekend

14.) walked along the west side of Edinburgh Castle along Lothian Road and King's Stables Road

15.) stopped in for a pint at a pub on Grassmarket while we discussed our next options. Julie decided she wanted to do some souvenir shopping sine it was her last chance to do so, and my dad and I had a few more things we wanted to see. Luke and his mom went back to the Royal Mile while dad and I continued.

16.) visited Greyfriars Kirk

17.) walked by the National Museum of Scotland

18.) walked by the Edinburgh Sheriff Court

19.) went in to St Patricks Catholic church during mass while dad considers this "going to church" for the week :-/

We all met  back at the flat to discuss dinner. I had made a few attempts earlier in the afternoon to book at a restaurant for the evening, but could not find anything. So we settled on Italian which was not too shabby. We also stopped at the train station that night to be sure we would be taking the train back home.

Sunday morning, we made our way just about half a mile to the train station. Had some coffee. And we were good to go on the train! It was a nice day, so the train ride was enjoyable, except for the occasional sun in the face dilemma, but when in Scotland, no one is allowed to complain about sun!

It was a great weekend visiting another big city of Scotland. It was great to spend it with our family! I am proud of everyone for keeping with Luke and me because I know we can be a bit too quick, too random and too wander-y (if that is even a word, it totally describes us). Very rarely we get to spend time with both sides of our family at the same time, so we were thankful we could do it around our neck of the woods :-)

Edinburgh was founded prior to the 7th century.


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