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Days 1,2 Edinburgh: From Castle to Palace

May 6, 2011

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View Scotland, Ireland & Wales on Karen E's travel map.

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After retrieving our luggage, we headed out of Glasgow International Airport and found a taxi to take us to the Queen St. Glasgow train station. The cab driver was very friendly and asked about where we were heading.

The train took us right into the middle of Edinburgh. We trudged mainly uphill 3 or 4 blocks with our bags to the B&B. It was called 53 Frederick Street which is also it's location. When we arrived, exhausted and tired we found we had to climb 4 floors to our room! But we had arrived. The B&B owners were very nice and the room was quite spacious. We had a double bed, desk, couch, wardrobe and ensuite bathroom. The cost was £80 per night.

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The only thing we found out about this location was that it was noisy at night. Unfortunately we were there for Friday and Saturday nights and below were a bunch of restaurants. People seemed to like to stand outside, even though it rained both nights. They were loud until around 3 a.m. Also, the street was cobbled so every vehicle that went by was loud. I think it affected us more because we were jetlagged. If our room had been facing the back of the building, it would have been much quieter. We had a nice view.

After being shown our room, we freshened up, took a 1 hour power nap and then we were ready to go! We decided to walk the Royal Mile from outside Edinburgh Castle all the way to Holyrood Palace.
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158.jpg You can see how narrow the closes (alleys) are in Edinburgh
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We ended up having supper at the Ultimate Burger Kitchen. I had a Princess burger, named because of the Royal Wedding that took place a week earlier.

DAY 2

The next morning we headed for breakfast at the restaurant next door with a voucher from our B&B. It was very good. We both had pineapple juice. I had the Belgian waffle with mixed berries on top. Mike had the grilled plate - eggs, ham, sausage, haggis, potato scones & toast.

We then took off for downtown. First stop was a cellphone store to get a SIM card for my unlocked phone. £20 for the card and lots of minutes. I had enough time on the phone for the whole month and still have £6 left over, even though I was roaming while in Ireland, and calling home to Canada. It was a Labara SIM card and I had no trouble getting reception anywhere I needed it.

Now it was time for Edinburgh Castle. It was sunny out and warm but not hot. I bought the Explorer Pass which was £34 for each of us. It gave us entry for 7 days over a 14 day period to many sites. It was worthwhile for us.

Edinburgh Castle was interesting but of a confusing configuration. It didn't have a keep but seemed to be a collection of buildings. We spent just over 2 hours exploring the castle.

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001.jpg Edinburgh Castle entrance
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060.jpg4023.jpg057.jpg011.jpg Looking towards our B&B from the castle
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After the castle we headed down the Royal Mile, stopping at St. Giles Cathedral. We saw the Covenant hanging on the wall. Stopping at a nearby cafe, we bought a toasted panini to share and two drinks. £6.50

We went to the end of the Royal Mile to tour Holyrood Palace. This was not included in the Explorer Pass, and we had to pay £11.50 each. I also decided to buy a guide for each place that we were visiting. They were to be my souvenirs. The palace was quite interesting. We especially liked the Mary, Queen of Scots rooms on the top floor. We saw the spot where her secretary, Rizzio, was murdered by her husband, Lord Darnley. We saw the rooms where her son, James, was born. There were many relics; her embroidery, a rosary, a letter etc. Unfortunately, no photography was allowed inside the palace. This is another reason I buy the official guides.

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We then walked around the ruined Holyrood Abbey. Here we were allowed to take photos. The gardens next to it are quite nice. As the afternoon wore on, the clouds rolled in.

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We went to supper at a pub/restaurant called The Filling Station. Mike had fish & chips and I had macaroni & cheese. It was good. Cost: £30 including tip.

After supper, we waited for our tour of Mary King Close to begin at 7:00. I had heard about this tour on the Fodor's site and was really wanted to take it. It was an hour long and very interesting. The guide was dressed up in period costume and took us underneath the City Chambers to see the closes it was built over. Closes are alleyways or lanes leading off of the High Street. The tour takes you through different people's houses and tells you about the people that lived there. Unfortunately, they do not let you take photos down there, but they do take a photo of everyone and then offer it for sale.

When it got dark, we walked to Princes Street from our B&B and took photos of Edinburgh Castle and other buildings.
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We then went back to the B&B for our last night in Edinburgh.

Posted by Karen E 17:58

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