Exploring Edinburgh – First day, and Edinburgh Castle
After the train had dropped us off, we’d walked to the apartment, and we’d dropped off our luggage, we all hit the town, heading straight toward the Royal Mile, and Edinburgh Castle itself.
You can see the castle from almost any point in the city… at least any point that we visited. It’s huge, up on one of the highest points in the area, and built directly into the cliffs that it’s built around. Honestly, that’s what was most impressive to me – the fact that the castle seems to grow out of the cliff sides… the designers basically just took the natural formations, and expanded them into a fortification.
On the way up to it we had a few adventures, but nothing too exceptional. The architecture was uniformly amazing, though there were some rather jarring contrasts where a new building had been built right next to an old block. We also learned that alleys are called “close”, and that there’s one called Fleshmarket Close… which is super creepy when it’s this small dark alleyway. Pies were also consumed… probably way too many of them for our health, in retrospect. Bill, Greta, Henry and Leah all got one each, whereas Sarah and I got four, and split them between the two of us. I mean… clearly that’s the best way to try them all, right?
The castle itself was exactly what you’d expect an ancient Scottish Castle to be. Large, and full of tourists. I enjoyed it a lot, but it honestly wasn’t quite what I was expecting… the exhibits that we saw were more about the history of Scotland, and the units that served at the Castle, than I’d expected. I kind of wanted to see specifics about the castle itself – the architecture, the history, and the mechanics of what battles had been fought there. Everything was still interesting, but… a little bit less so than I’d hoped for.
A major highlight though; we got to see the Scottish Honors! Basically the equivalent of the English crown jewels, the Scottish Honors include a scepter, the crown, and a rather massive sword. None of which would be worn or used, from what I could tell… they’d basically just be presented at various state functions. You know… before England took over and did that England thing where they claim everything.
Exploring the castle gave us some awesome views and cool information, but it did start to get quite cold after a while… so we retreated from the ramparts, and headed back to the apartment to warm up and prepare for a fancy dinner that Sarah and I had planned for everyone.
And when I say “A fancy dinner that Sarah and I had planned”, I mean a really cool Indian restaurant called the Mumbai Mansion. And by “Planned”, I mean “the place we’d originally wanted to go didn’t have any room for reservations, and Henry and Greta helped us find a way to get reservations at Mumbai”. It was a bit of a cluster, honestly, but thankfully the three of us were able to pull it off, and soon enough we’d walked the mile or so to the restaurant, and were crowding in out of the cold.
Food? Food was amazing. I still have the whole list of food we ordered… we literally made a list on my phone, so we’d know what to order when the waiter came by. And we ordered nearly everything… half a dozen appetizers, five main dishes, eight sides, tons of drinks… Basically, we made our own tasting menu, and it was amazing.
After dinner, we tried to check out a small statue that we’d seen on the map… but the wind was kind of intense, and we definitely weren’t all dressed for an arctic adventure. So instead, back to the apartment we went, for warmth and relaxation.