Monday, July 11, 2011

Edinburgh, Scotland

Further north we go! Across the English border and into Scotland - first stop, Edinburgh. We were here for 4 days. Edinburgh is a very cool city - I think Gaffa found Edinburgh to be much better than he had accounted for!!!  Edinburgh has heaps of history, and is proud of that.  The Scottish people were really helpful, and very welcoming to us.  Edinburgh is part of the Lowlands region of Scotland, basically there's 4 main areas: Lowlands, Highlands, Speyside and Isla - all based around the Whisky Distilleries!!

On day 1 we walked up what we thought was Arthur's Seat, basically a very large mountain in the city. But later we found out it was actually the cragg infront of Arthur's Seat. It had great views over Edinburgh.

The mountain that we climbed

Stunning view from the top

Gaffa jumping for joy!
Enjoying a 99p, except it cost 2 pounds!!
Day 2, we walked up to Edinburgh Castle. The price to go in (15GBP) was too much for us, so we decided to do the Scotch Whisky Experience tour instead. We learnt how whisky is made and got a free drink. They had these cool scratch and sniff cards, of the 4 regions of whiskys. This place also had the largest collection of whiskeys. It was like walking into heaven for whisky lovers. Walls and walls of bottles of whiskys, no two the same. They also had a cabinet full of commemorative whiskys, like the one to commemorate the birth of Prince William and Harry.

Adding the yeast in the Scotch Whisky process
Whisky Heaven.....
Then we had lunch in the restaurant "Amber" and Gaffa had some more whisky...this time the knowledgeable bar tender selected three whiskys to suit the cheeses we were eating.  There was a spirit (not a whisky since it is not distilled for 3 years - the minimum time a whiskey has to be distilled before being called a scotch whisky), called "Glenglassaugh" - it was top go with the blue cheese since it had a citrus/pear flavour.  There was a yummy single malt called "Arberlour A'Bunadh" to go with the local soft cheese owing to its slightly sweet and chocolately aroma.  The final whisky was a Laphroaigh "Quarter Cask" which was really tasty, with a smokey medicinal after taste - this went well with the smoked cheddar cheese.  Gaffa seemed a little tipsy after these, so we went for a walk to the gift shop....

Cheese... Mmmm....

matching whiskys =D
I decided that I would buy a t-shirt in each country I visited as a souvenir. In the gift shop of the whisky place, while Gaffa was drooling over the whisky, I found a kids t-shirt made for 7-8 year olds that fit me perfectly. It was bright yellow, with "beam me up Scotty" on it. Awesome! Whenever we go diving, I say to Gaffa, "Zip me up Scotty", so it was very fitting! Love it!! - and she looks so cute in it too (Gaffa).

That night we went to a pub called The Den for their comedy evening. It was fairly amateur but they were funny. During the interval they had a drawing competition. I can't draw so I made some paper cranes. Everyone else loved them, but the judge didn't because they weren't drawings. But Gaffa drew a picture of him scuba diving in a wreck, and called it 'penetration', this won us the prize of 10GBP worth of food in the pub. Score! As it was curry night the next night. 

On Day 3, we walked to Calton Hill and up to Arthur's Seat. More great views and lots of walking - yay exercise! We stopped off on a bench for a rest infront of a nice lake, Dunsapie, Loch as the Scotts call it.  Apparently it's meant to be extremely deep (Gaffa would love to take a dive in it to test that!!). After this we walked down Royal Drive and back up another hill to St Anthony's Chapel Ruins, which had awesome views over St Margaret's Loch and the back of The Palace of Holyrood (AKA "The Royal Palace").

The Monument, Calton Hill
Afterwards we walked back down to the city, past the Scottish Royal Palace, where they Royal Family stay while they're in Scotland. A few days earlier, someone had told us that the Queen would be arriving in Scotland at 5pm exactly. Earlier in the day we'd asked some policemen about it, but they had no idea. But that afternoon when we walked past the Palace, there were some people lining up outside. Gaffa got talking with one of the old service veterans and we found out that she was actually coming to the Palace for the exchanging of the keys ceremony.  The Queen's Scottish Guards were also going to be marching the Scottish Crown Jewels from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood on Friday and then their final ever "Colours" ceremony on Saturday (apparently the last one ever, and it started in the 1600's!!). The group had ONE spare ticket, so when they offered it Gaffa, he politely declined and offered it to me, he really does love me, since it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to go in and.... MEET THE QUEEN! I'll do a separate post on that since it was such an special experience. Short but so surreal!! Gaffa, I love you, thank you for passing up the  opportunity to let me have it instead xx

It's the QUEEN! Ms. Lizzie herself!!

On our final day in Edinburgh, we took a day trip to Sterling. We walked around the town, up to the castle and did some shopping.  We stopped for lunch in a little park and made our way back to the bus station. 

Our time in Edinburgh came to an end. It was alot more chilled out than London, and less expensive. It had great architecture, and was a great mix between city and country. Would definitely come back for another visit!!

1 comment:

  1. This is nice collection of the different beautiful places.I like the especially Scotland.I wish to go there.

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