Scotland part four - Edinburgh   

posted october 2013

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When we arrived at the Edinburgh B&B mid-day, the host gave us a map and she showed us that we were on a main bus route into the city, and away we went.  It was nice hearing a bagpipe player in the heart of downtown, at Waverly Station. We wandered towards Holyrood House where Queen Elizabeth stays every August.   

in the City the Royal Mile Starbuck's writings on the Parliament building Palace of  Holyrood  
  more doors the self-guided tour starts inside no photos were allowed inside Royal Family
in summer QE2 & family stay in a newer wing the garden head gardener's house old foundations
  Abbey Strand        

After more than an hour visiting Holyrood we walked the Royal Mile uphill to Edinburgh Castle and arrived just as it closed for the day.  We dropped off the Mound and found an Italian Ristorante, and later took the bus home.  At our suburban lodging we were very comfortable.      

Castle closed same location   view of distant hills
    The Mound near the National Gallery Italian food  downtown

On Saturday we were downtown early and explored the exhibits at the Castle for almost five hours. There's a lot to see, including ancient & modern military history. The views over the City are fantastic & very photogenic.  There's a great cafe here, too.

Docents are everywhere in the Castle, good at story-telling and some of them are budding history-based comedians.   

morning in Edinburgh   the royal mile Waverly Station
  at the Castle entry on the ramparts the neighborhoods
  at Edinburgh Castle          

Later in the day we walked to Monument Hill and then had a sidewalk cafe dinner at sunset. 

hydrangeas Princes Avenue  see the walkers up on the distant hills Holyrood Castle  
  National Monument British Naval Commander Nelson Monument   we found a sidewalk cafe
Doris & Paul great place for people watching our last evening  overseas  bus ride home  

Afterwards, based on a flier someone handed us, we attended what turned out to be the final practice session for a choral group of maybe 25 men and women, before they headed to the annual nationwide competition.  It began with a ten minute bagpipe piece, sounding really great.   Then the six or so Gaelic songs we heard were performed a capela.  We had to leave at intermission because this was our last day overseas and our flights were very early the next morning.

OK, speaking of the Queen Mother - People who run B&Bs almost always turn out to be good conversationalists or story tellers.  Our host for two nights at the B&B in Edinburgh was enjoyable to interact with, as she served us our first morning's grand breakfast, the three of us being the only guests.  

She was quite proud that the Queen and her entourage come to Holyrood Palace each August and stay for a month or more sometimes, and, how QE2 likes to greet or even mingle with the people.  She said a lot of Edinburgh residents go downtown to greet the Queen, whenever she has pre-announced appearances. 

She had a great story where just last fall (2012) QE2 in August attended an Edinburgh middle school soccer match - and because in apparently harmless situations she is allowed to float - QE2 ended up talking with a 12 year old boy on the sidelines for about ten minutes, who never realized who he was interacting with. 

Our host said the Queen purposely 'dresses down' on such occasions and looks quite ordinary, a clever ruse.  After the chat Elizabeth II thanked the boy for being so polite & amusing and then she wandered away. Our Scottish B&B hostess said "that's why we love her, because she does things like that."    

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