I believe I left off after Friday. So Saturday morning we were getting up early to catch our flight to Edinburgh. The lady at the hotel called and booked us a cab, which was very nice given our lack of French speaking skills. We got up entirely too early that morning, and the cab showed up conveniently right on time.
Now bags are apparently handled differently here, or maybe with that airline. We could have prepaid 35 euros each for them, but Christopher was concerned that if we missed our flight or something we’d be out that money since it’s non-refundable. This caused a bit of trouble as the check-in counter took our bags but was apparently not able to process that transaction. So first they sent us down to one counter (the flybe counter, which I thought was a cute name, although weird). We waited a bit and they said that wasn’t right and sent us back to the line for the check-in counter where we started. Christopher asked someone rather than waiting, and they sent us to a third one that said they weren’t the right one and the flybe one was, but they’d do it to be nice. Still have no idea where was the right place. Also, to make it all more annoying, it was 9 euros per kilo. Which you can imagine works out to be rather a lot more than 35 euros a bag. Still, at that point we were mostly just relieved to have figured it all out and be able to continue on.
We went to our gate and I peed *again* while Christopher hunted down breakfast. Thankfully while at the shops, he realized we’d forgotten to get a shot glass like we do wherever we go. He even found one that had the Arc on it, since that was right by where we stayed and we saw a lot of it. So he returned with a shot glass and some twix. Apparently the places upstairs (where the shops were) weren’t open. But the place right by our gate opened while he was gone and he got us some croissants.
It’s worth noting that while he was off doing all this, I was sitting and trying to figure out where on earth we were getting on a plane. (Well, for a bit, then I was reading.) Cause see, most of the gates were on the left, on the side with the windows and obvious places for planes to pull in. Our gate was on the right, which just had a narrow little road between buildings. Very odd. But, turned out, we had to get on a bus and take that out to the airplane. We got to take the little stairs to board too, which I always think is neat. We had the very last seats on the plane, which is right by the bathroom. Always a good thing. Confusing though, because we were seats A and C so we thought we woudln’t be next to each other, but it tapers towards the back and for some reason they just eliminate the middle seat. I assume it’s so the window seats will be the same all the way down, but it’s still weird.
It was a nice short flight, less than two hours, and uneventful. It was interesting, I thought, that the wings were up high. Usually they’re below the level of the seats. On this one they were above them by quite a bit.
When we got to Edinburgh it was rather exciting to go through border control because they all had Scottish accents. I was really sleepy, but I woke right up when we got there because I was so excited.
Firstly we took a cab to our hotel. It wasn’t a proper British cab, but we got to ride in some later so it was alright. (In London they’re all the same, the kind you see on tv. In Edinburgh about half of them were those, and the rest were just cars or vans.) When we got to the hotel they’d had some trouble with our room, and had transferred our reservation to their sister hotel up the street. It was maybe a block though so can’t really complain. Check in wasn’t until 2 and it was only 9-ish, so we just got them to check our bags and headed off in search of food. It was kinda neat cause our hotel was in the Grassmarket, which was a little historic spot that was actually a market at one time.
We found a little place up the street, but I found it hard to find food I like there. (My only complaint about it, otherwise Edinburgh was amazing. And some of it was good.) I ate the hashbrown wedge and some of Christopher’s bacon. Though I wasn’t actually that hungry, so it worked out.
After breakfast, we headed for the Royal Mile (^_^), which was conveniently about a block and a half away. There was a sort of shop with real weaving and stuff, so we looked at that first. They had some really nice stuff, but way expensive. Then we went to Edinburgh Castle.
It was one of our favorite things we’ve done. We did a tour that had lots of interesting information, and we got to see the Scottish crown jewels and a bunch of old buildings and stuff. The oldest part is from the 1200’s or so (we don’t remember exactly). And they fire a cannon every day at 1, and we saw that. It was also used for POW’s many times, so parts were set up to show what that was like. For the record their mashed potatoes aren’t very good. There was also a shop and it had a kid’s book about Nessie that I wanted only Christopher said it was too much (5 pounds), but (spoiler!) I found it at another shop Sunday and insisted we get it cause I was sad about it.
Anyway, we were there for at least 2-3 hours, and then we went back to the weaving place. It was surpisingly big and we didn’t actually check it out thoroughly the first time. Then we walked down the Royal Mile (the castle is at the top). It’s REALLY steep (as mentioned in the book!).
It’s worth noting here that it’s been really interesting here with how many things there are that in America would get people sued. The roads in a lot of areas are cobblestones, and none of the sidewalks are nice smooth concrete. They’re all cobbles or paving stones, both
of which can be very uneven and dangerous. We’ve seen an insane number of women in heels and I honestly don’t know how we haven’t seen anyone break an ankle. Also, not all the steps are even, many are steep, a lot of doors are too low for a tall person, and a lot of the hot water gets REALLY hot (our shower in Edinburgh could literally burn you very quickly at the hottest setting (I wanted to see how hot it’d get.)). You couldn’t get away with a lot of that in the States, though a lot of it is the result of things being so old.
All that to say that it was interesting walking down the Royal Mile because you did have to be careful in spots. At the bottom is Holyrood Palace. That’s the Queen’s official residence while in Edinburgh, and where Prince Charles stayed during the Rising in 1745 (book!). We did not, however, go tour it. It was too expensive really to go to both it and the Castle, so we had to pick and we thought the castle would be better. I was a bit sad not to tour Holyrood, but I definitely think we made the right call.
There was no way on earth we were going to go back up the Royal Mile (I think I’d have made it half a block), so we found a taxi to go back to our hotel. We got to go in a proper cab that time! We checked into the hotel, which was a bit unimpressive. There was remodeling going on and the elevator only went to the first floor. Then we had to go down a corridor, and up two flights of stairs. And then we couldn’t get the power to work. Apparently you had to put your room key in a slot for the power to work. And they didn’t bother to mention that. The room was also TINY (maybe 3 feet by 10 was floor space). I went to take a shower, and the drain didn’t work and there was no lip to stop the water so it got water all over the bathroom. The receptionist was the only employee present, so she had to come wring out all the towels we used to sop it up, and said that happened a lot and just take the drain cover off, which was dumb to have to do. Still, for all the complaints, the bed was very comfy when it came time to sleep, and the shower got nice and hot as I mentioned. Overall I’d rather a bleh room with comfy bed and hot shower than the other way round.
Early on in the trip we realized we had a problem with some of our clothes smelling awful. I’m not sure if it was a load that got left in the washer, or if they got something on them, or what. But both of our jeans (and we only had the one pair each) were bad, as well as my
warmer jacket. That meant I was wearing my long skirt and light jacket, which wasn’t at all up to Edinburgh wind and damp. So before dinner we ran up to one of the tacky little tourist shops on the Royal Mile and got me my new favorite purple Edinburgh hoodie. You can
see it in every picture from that evening on. ^_^
Then we went to dinner at a little Mexican place up the road from our hotel. Again, not impressed. Also, restaurants in Europe don’t always list all the major ingredients on the menu like you expect. Worth being aware of. But after dinner we were tired, so we stayed in for the rest of the evening, mostly reading and watching weird UK tv.