Out before breakfast.
The sun rises very early here in Edinburgh (4:30 am) and Andrew wasn't too far behind! At 6:00 am, I heard "I am going for a walk up to Arthur's Seat - want to come?" After a groan, I wasn't going to be left behind, so we hauled on yesterday's clothes and set out. I think we chose a harder route up than was necessary, but we made it and what a great view of Edinburgh from the top. We then made our way down - we knew if we weren't back by 8:30 am, Margaret (the innkeeper) would be cleaning up the breakfast dishes. Andrew actually tried haggis for breakfast, but I wasn't so brave - he likened it to very spicy meatloaf - the description of what it contains just does not appeal to me!
The path was of stone steps zig-zaging up the hill. The stones were laid as a make-work project for unemployed textile workers many decades ago.
Laurel at the 251 metre summit.
A view of Holyrood palace and the Firth of Forth in the distance.
The weather started out sunny but cool and we ended up with showers later on. Next it was off to the Royal Botanical Gardens via the bus. It was our first experience where the bus driver stopped for a loo break, got back on the bus, bus wouldn't start, he went to the rear of the bus and managed to somehow start it from there! Well, we finally got to the gardens and Andrew was again in his element. They were very beautiful and well maintained and it was much easier to see it all in about 1 1/2 hours, unlike Kew which was about 3 times larger.
The RBG has a fine rock garden and world renown collection of Rhododendrons, most of which were post-bloom.
The RBG has an enormous clipped hedge apx. 30 ft. high - very impressive.
Palm trees in Scotland???
We had a quick lunch and then decided to take in Edinburgh Castle this afternoon. First of all it was recommended that we climb Scott Tower, which was over 250 steps on a very narrow spiral stairwell. The view from the top was pretty amazing, though.
These narrow spiral staircases made us dizzy.
View of Edinburgh from the top of Scott Tower. The spire is of St. Giles church.
Another angle of Edinburgh from Scott Tower.
Well, you would think that the Castle being set on a hill in the middle of the city, it wouldn't be too hard to get to. We thought if we got on a bus to take us there, it would save us some walking. Having not yet mastered the bus system, we managed to take the wrong bus and were actually heading away from the center of the city. So we quickly got off and hopped on one going the other way. To make a long story short, we ended up doing a fair bit of walking but made it to the Castle. It was well worth the effort and thoroughly enjoyed listening to Laura, the tour guide, enrich our knowledge of the history of Scotland with her wonderful Scottish brogue.
Edinburgh Castle with the National Gallery in the foreground.
At the top of Edinburgh Castle - a wee bit heavy.
The Great Hall @ Edinburgh Castle - note the ceiling which was designed and built by shipbuilders thus the look of a ship's hull.
After a quick supper at Quizno's, we hopped on the 'correct' bus and made it back to Gifford House for a relaxing evening, off our feet!!