Monday, September 12, 2016

Edinburgh, Scotland

It was an eventful day at St. Andrew's, but we couldn't hang around forever because we had to get to Edinburgh.  We arrived a little before dinner and checked in to our hotel before venturing out.   I know this is super cliche to say, but Edinburgh reminded me of Harry Potter.  I felt like I was living in a town near Hogwarts.  I loved it!  



This was the first place that we were met with rain and, combined with our hunger, we opted to go for the first restaurant we saw.  Our (really Mike's) usual approach is to research on TripAdvisor and find the restaurant that has the highest ratings, regardless of where it is. This usually involves a lot of walking and wandering, but almost always results in a good meal.  Because we  were so hungry, we nixed that plan and went with whatever was closest.  We found an Italian restaurant, Prezzo, across the street and dashed inside to get out of the rain.  After being seated quickly and receiving our appetizer almost immediately, we ended up sitting and waiting for our main course for almost 45 minutes without any attention from any of the wait staff.  When we flagged a waitress down and asked her about it, it became apparent we had been forgotten. When we finally received our food, my order was wrong and neither of our meals were actually that great.  The manager came and brought our bill and asked how everything was.  Mike responded "Not that great actually" and then the manager DIDN'T SAY ANYTHING! It was so awkward as he processed our credit card (they do that at your table in Europe) and we signed our bill.  It was the worst service and the most awkward end to dinner.  We left and never looked back.  In hopes of rectifying our night, Mike had researched a beer bar to go to, but it was closed for maintenance.  It was just not our night so we headed back to the hotel with hopes of a better day tomorrow. 


The next day, we were up and ready to go, hopeful that our day would be bright and sunny.  While it wasn't quite bright, it was sunny and a good day for sightseeing.  Our first stop was the Edinburgh castle, which was included in the Explorer Pass we had.  It was totally worth it.  The castle was huge with lots of rooms to explore and information to read.  You can take a guided tour or rent headphones for an audio tour, but there was enough information to keep us entertained without either of these options.  We could have spent a whole day there if we wanted, but opted for a couple hours of exploration. 




I love that they have a cemetery for soldiers' dogs!

Mike and a huge cannon!









USA! USA! USA!


I had one request while in Edinburgh and it was to go to the cafe where Harry Potter was written, the Elephant House.  This worked out well as our next stop because Mike wanted some coffee, so while he ordered, I took pictures.  They're such a great cafe and understand the fanfare surrounding them.  There are pictures of JK Rowling in the cafe and a few pieces of HP paraphernalia signed by her.  They welcome pictures and just ask that you make a donation to the Children's Fund in their cafe, which I gladly did.  I'm sure that there are people who are bigger fans than me that come into that cafe, but I was giddy with excitement and had a huge grin on my face the entire time I was snapping pictures.  



OMG OMG OMG OMG!!!


Guys! This is so cool!!

After I calmed down from my HP high and Mike finished his coffee, we walked around the city of Edinburgh for a while.  It's a pretty cool city with lots of character and tons of side streets with nooks and crannies to keep you entertained for hours.





Mike asked if he could go to day care after seeing this sign.

After wandering around, we grabbed lunch and spent the afternoon wandering in and out of pubs and cafes.  We were hit with wave of exhaustion.  Not only were we tired, but we were kind of tired of sightseeing.  Edinburgh is a beautiful city and I'm sad that we didn't have the motivation to keep going because I'm sure there was more to see (or was there? Some people say it can be done in a day), but after an exhausting few months of travel and transitions, we were tired.  So, we took the afternoon off and rested.


After we re-energized, we signed up for the Dooms, Dead and Buried Tour through Mercat Tours.  We did a Boos and Brews tour in Savannah on our honeymoon and it was SO FUN!  While this one definitely didn't live up to that one (and you couldn't drink), it was fun and our tour guide was fantastic.  This one included a lot of fanfare and less information, but it was still entertaining.  They took us underground, to a cemetery and around the city to places that are known for their doom, dead and buried.  It was a fun way to end our time in Edinburgh and learn about an alternative side to Edinburgh.

Our tour guide Heather who made the tour worth it!