Edinburgh… this is the Scotland I’ve been waiting for! I took the 8AM train from Glasgow (just 45 minutes), dropped off my luggage at the hotel, then set out to explore the Old Town. I just got here, and already I don’t want to leave. This is everything I’d been hoping for in Glasgow. A woman sitting at a table next to me the other night said that Glasgow has a more trendy/hip vibe, while Edinburgh is more posh. I’m not sure I’d use the word “posh”, but I know exactly what she meant. Pubs galore, cobblestone streets, and just a more traditional British feel. I had a ticket to the castle, so I made that my first stop. I took a quick 30 minute guided tour before exploring on my own. I got to see the Scottish crown jewels and heard the 1 o’clock gun which is fired daily to allow mariners in the nearby Firth of Forth to set their clocks. I should probably mention there are tons of people here. With multiple festivals on and the military tattoo (I’ll be going to that tomorrow), Edinburgh is certainly a busy place. The Fringe Festival alone has more than 50,000 shows on over the next 3 weeks.
After the castle, it was time for my midday treat at Lovecrumbs. I thought I had read they had scones, but I was forced to settle for a slice of Victoria Sponge Cake and salted caramel hot chocolate. I bake just about every weekend during the school year, and I’m going for a British theme this year, so it was purely research based. I should probably note that it is finally sunny out today, so I’m sure that is also influencing my love for Edinburgh.
It is wall to wall people all along the Royal Mile (the road between Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse). There are buskers everywhere and literally hundreds of people handing out cards and flyers advertising their Fringe Festival performances. I had to stop to pick up some tickets for events tomorrow, then I just wandered through the wynds and closes (tiny alleyways off the Royal mile). There was an original musical that had looked interesting to me in the Fringe guide, so I made my way to St. Columba’s by the Castle to see 89 Nights. It was about a girl who has 90 days (89 nights) on a tourist visa to the US and her experiences in Manhattan. Interesting, enthusiastic cast, but it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. I had planned to have dinner at a nearby pub, but they only serve food until 3, so I missed out. Instead I found an Italian place (that I’m pretty sure is a chain) and had a piadina with Parma ham and mozzarella on the patio.