Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Edinburgh with The Mahan's

Actual date of this event: 15-17 February

Weeks ago, my friend Jillian discussed taking a weekend trip to Edinburgh because her husband, Ryan, needed more pages put in his passport. Apparently, Edinburgh is the place to get that done. Luke and I were invited to join in on the trip, and we I gladly accepted! It turned out that Ryan was not going to need more pages, but that was not going to stop this trip from happening! Luke and I had been to Edinburgh one time before, but we did not get to hike Arthur's Seat which was on our Scotland Bucket List. Plans were made by the ladies, so the boys didn't have to lift a finger! Don't worry - we were kind!

We drove down to Edinburgh on Friday around lunch time... eating sammiches requested by Ryan, made by Debbie (inside joke) along the way. There are only a few stops when road tripping in Scotland, so you must make use of the ones you see! Anyway, after taking a detour more than 5 times which resulted in Luke singing directions (inside joke), we finally made it to the ApartHotel (lodging with hotel accommodations, but apartment style). We dropped off our bags and headed out.

Calton Hill - The sun was shining and the weather was great, so we climbed the smaller hill within the city. Luke and I did this on our last trip, but the views are so nice on top that we were all about doing it again.
The "hill" on the right is Arthur's Seat

Afterward, we had a few drinks here and there, and walked around here and there. This trip was not at all like the normal trips that Luke and I usually take. We are usually boom-boom-boom-go-go, but since we had already been to the city once before, we enjoyed relaxing and not feeling rushed. If only we could visit EVERY city twice and do the same. If. Only.
We ate dinner at Under The Stairs which was very yummy. Luke says it might be one of the best meals he has had in the UK. Ryan's appetizer, a Veggie Haggis Quesadilla, was voted the best of all we ordered - crazy, huh? Afterward, we called it a night... time will not be mentioned here... although apparently four 30 year olds can't hang very late. Sadness.
drinking our Pommy's
On Saturday morning, we headed out the door around 10:30am for the main event!

Arthur's Seat - Arthur's Seat is a hill mountain on the east end of the Royal Mile, just south of Holyrood Palace. It is located in what is called Holyrood Park. The park is ah-may-ziiiiiiing!!! Seriously, if I lived in Edinburgh, this is where I would spend most of my time. It even got me wanting to be a hill runner. That is inspiration for ya! Anyway, the total hike we did was around 3 miles and we ascended a total of 915 feet. Luckily, these 915 feet were broken up into a few different sections to give our bodies a rest. It was a terrific workout which resulted in some terrific views of the city. I might just rank this hike as my favorite of all hikes of all time. There are several paths to choose that don't require you to go up 915 feet, so it is great for all sorts of people. And it is seriously impossible to get lost. We, of course, chose to go as high possible because otherwise, according to Luke, "the hike would not count".

at the top!
Chapel Ruins on the north side of the park
After our hike, it was only 12:30pm and I think all of us wanted to nap, but no one wanted to admit once again that 30 year olds cant hang, so we got cleaned up and headed back out. More walking, which in Edinburgh seems to always be uphill. For realz - remember that, mom? We stopped to watch a street performer for about 30 minutes.
boys waiting patiently while girls watch performer
Swallowing a sword
A 225lb man standing on a board of nails resting on the performers bare chest and then eating fire
We stopped by the front of the castle which is on top of a hill so we saw more views of the city.
And once again, we found ourselves a little parched and needing a refreshment or two three use your imagination. See, 30 year olds can hang! For dinner, we went to The Dogs which was also a yummy one. I agree with Luke that Under The Stairs was better than The Dogs, but both were very good. We had a few drinks after dinner, one being at a really classy piano bar (meaning not the same style as Pat O's or Howl at the Moon) called The Living Room. It is a neat place... for sure check it out if you are in Edinburgh!
Sunday morning, Jill and I had wanted to get up and run before leaving, but those steep streets in Edinburgh did not sound appealing to my legs at 8am, so we passed that up for more sleeping. We headed home before lunch since Luke needed to make arrangements for working in London for the week. It was a really great weekend! We didn't "do" much but it was great to hang out with some great friends and relax. If only we could visit every city more than one time! Thanks for a fun weekend, Mahan's!

Edinburgh has tons of "closes" which are small alleyways between buildings, many with stairs, that are used to access apartments or areas behind buildings. Back in the day most closes were closed by a gate, but most of them these days are not. One of the most famous closes is Mary King's Close which is said to be haunted.


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