Sunday, October 26, 2008

Royal Mile After Mile, After Mile.....

5:30am came way too early. We dragged down to the lobby and checked out, leaving 4 bags of various papers, booklets, and other stuff we had collected along the way for our friend Jill (from the Cathedral) to mail home for us. THANK YOU JILL!!!! The only pounds we want to carry are the British ones! The taxi arrived to take us to the airport for our flight to Edinburgh. Actually, it was more of a mini-taxi and the driver swore he could never get all of us and our luggage in. Where there’s a will there’s a way, and we did not have time to get another taxi. So we all wedged in with bags and one suitcase on our laps.

Norwich airport is very nice, very efficient, well-run – when we come back, we are definitely flying through there (stops in Amsterdam) rather than Heathrow! We walked out onto the tarmac and boarded the propeller plane for a short but tempestuous ride to Edinburgh. It was cold, blustery and rainy when we landed and stayed that way all day. Tracy and I were tempted to kneel down and kiss the tarmac when we landed – we had been planning this trip for a year and are both big fans of Scotland and all things Scottish.

We are staying in the Clarendon Hotel, a modest place but just a 10 minute walk to the Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle. Unfortunately, it was pouring rain and very blustery. In fac, the Castle was closed due to the high winds - they did not want people blown off the ramparts. So we took a picture in front of the castle and moved on.

We spent the whole day, from 9:30am until 6pm, walking the Mile, dodging into shops (where we contributed to the local economy) and pubs to get out of the torrential rain and wind from time to time. We stopped in St. Giles cathedral, on Mercat Square halfway down the Mile. It was dark and rather grim (I thought, but Anna says gorgeous). Lots of WWI memorials - Royal Scots Fusilliers and all that - and this nice little old lady who came up and informed us we needed "photo badges" - a sticker with a camera you need to take photos. We got square with the Ladies Auxillary.

While Audrey, Tracy and I toured Holyrood Palace (home of Mary, Queen of Scots) and the Museum of Edinburgh, Anna was reunited with her friends Cathy and Gustav and their wee one Oskar. After that, she visited The Fruitmarket Gallery and the wonderful photographic show Close Up featuring Bunuel, Dali and more despite the 55 mph winds! The amazing architecture –towering ancient buildings along narrow, winding streets – is truly magical. It’s no wonder J.K.Rowling wrote the first installment of Harry Potter here. We spent a quiet evening in the hotel’s lounge, which had the feeling of someone’s living room. Our wonderful barkeeper Marcin was kind enough to change the TV channel to CNN so that we could catch up with US news and politics. We even caught the last half of Jon Stewart’s Daily Show!

The clocks turn back tonight, and we are all looking forward to an extra hour of sleep. It’s nice to be warm and dry and we are all thoroughly exhausted but very happy to be here. Our taxi driver said it best – “we’ve experienced four seasons in one day!”

1 comment:

John Verrill said...

I thought Chicago was the "windy" city?
You seem to have contributed a good deal to the local economy!