Thursday, November 12, 2009

Edinburgh, Scotland in a little over a day

About a month ago, Ryanair was running a fare special. As luck would have it, this whole no working thing (professional tourist) worked to my advantage as I was able to fly out on a Monday and return on a Wednesday for a mere 1 penny. No check in fees, no taxes, no checked problem!

I stayed at the Hilton Caledonian. What a lovely hotel! I was in room 218, which is quite large and has an amazing view of the Edinburgh Castle. There was one small issue, but at no fault of the hotel....the construction crew, which has Princes Street all torn up cut the power to our block, which caused a blackout at about 19:30. The generator kicked in and power was restored, but the fire alarm was affected, so we were back downstairs 10 minutes later. Then, the fire department didn't clear the panel correctly, so 10 minutes later another fire alarm. All in all, about an hour of climbing steps. Luckily all the guests were good natured about it and the staff was very nice and apologetic.

Edinburgh was wonderful. I cannot wait to return in the spring/summer time when all the flowers are in bloom and the tram work is completed (late 2010). In one full day (and two partial days), I managed to take in some sights and do a little shopping, but next time I'll bring Chuck along and we'll spend a few days in Edinburgh and then head to the highlands for a few days.

I started my day at the Edinburgh Castle. It is quite the hike to get there, so if you plan to walk all day, I'd recommend hiring a taxi to take you to the castle, then walking down the hill and exploring the rest of the day.

The Royal Mile runs from the Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace and is lined with cashmere and wool shops, souvenier shops, kilt makers, and pubs. As I walked from the Castle to the Palace, I shopped and I shopped some more. I even went into a few shops to buy an extra suitcase...but, in the end, I just crammed everything into my existing bags. Note to time, bring an extra bag!

At the end of the Royal Mall is Holyrood Palace, which is where Queen E stays when she is in Scotland. It's a lovely palace, but of course, is not as opulent as Windsor or Buckingham.

Princes Street is undergoing a major renovation, with new infrastructure (water/gas pipes) and will soon be getting a new track for the tram, which is supposed to extend from the airport to the city center. But, for now, getting around the Princes Street area is a bit of a challenge as you have to basically commit to one side of the street or the other because there are very few pedestrian passageways. I shopped at Jenners and felt a little giddy when I stumbled upon Mark and Spencers. Yes, I love the wensleydale cheese with cranberries. One little snack size piece and I was set for another few months.

I'll be back. There are so many things I didn't get a chance to do...and Chuck would love it there, so we'll plan a return trip that is sure to include a trip to the Highlands...and maybe a visit to some folks we met in Venice!

A few pix and the slide show.

The view from my room at the Hilton Caledonian.

The Edinburgh Castle

The Crown Jewels are located in here.


  1. One of my fave places that we have been so far... and a DEFINITE return trip! Who knows?! Maybe in the future the four of us can meet there!