Our first task on our first morning in Edinburgh was to procure local SIM cards for our phones so that we could make good use of them while in Scotland. I admit to being surprised when I received a call less than two hours later from a local group wanting to talk to me about Scotland’s green energy movement. Man, those phone numbers get added to the telemarketer databases quick!
Following this little task, we were off on our first day of site-seeing! Making our way down Princes Street, we stopped for quick pic of the Walter Scott monument.
Walking to our first museum of the day, we were surprised to come upon The World’s End pub! While not the actual pub in the Pegg/Frost movie, it was still worth a stop for a quick photo op. After quickly checking its reviews online, we also made plans to eat there later in the week.
Then it was to the People’s Story Museum, where we spent some time learning about the lives of the working people of Edinburgh throughout the last few hundred years.
The first diorama showed a very sad, tired looking couple with their small child, tending to the neighbor’s sick baby. They all looked miserable, and rightly so given the living conditions of the poor in Old Town back in the day!
After making our way through the labor movement to the more modern day way of life (epitomized in part by Rodney Relax, the model of the 1970s punk youth), we headed across the street to the Museum of Edinburgh. The first half of the museum was pretty interesting. There was a short film presenting the history of Edinburgh from its geologic beginnings as a volcano through to the modern day. Then we moved into the displays of Old Town and information about the rise of New Town. We cruised pretty quickly through the top floor of the museum, with its large displays of ceramics and silver pieces.
Although I’m frequently accused of scheduling “death march” vacations, I am quite proud of my planning for this trip, which incorporates the rather novel concept of including lunch in the daily schedule!
Refueled, we headed down to the end of Canongate for a tour of the Palace of Holyrood House.
Although we weren’t allowed to take photographs within the interior, we were able to take some nice photos of the exterior of the building.
In the portrait gallery, we listened to a quick talk about the differences between Shakespeare’s Macbeth and the real Macbeth. The docent was discussing the reasons Shakespeare may have included some of the elements that he did. One of those was the importance of the three witches to the story line, and their inclusion as a way to appeal to King James VI of Scotland and I of England. James was very interested in witchcraft and had written a book about witches “and what to do with them”. From across the group, I willed Steve to look at me so that I could say “And what do we do with witches?”. Unfortunately, he was too engrossed by the portrait of Fergus the First to notice me and the moment was lost.
Exiting the palace, we took some time to photograph the ruins of Holyrood Abbey.
Having spent the entire previous day in the cramped confines of the airplane, my grand idea was to spend the end of the day in Holyrood Park, specifically walking up to Arthur’s Seat. The whole reason we spent our first day in Edinburgh on this end of the Royal Mile was so that we could take a nice walk in the park. While I understood it to be a climb to a spot overlooking the city, I once again proved my complete inability to judge size and scale. Looking at Arthur’s Seat, I was certain the climb would be similar to Eagle Rock in Tahoe, which we had judged to be 300-350 feet of elevation gain. Steve looked at me in disbelief and laughed. I insisted it was similar and we set off on the hike. In the end, we got a grand view of the city of Edinburgh from a height of 823 feet.
Ah well, the limitations of my spatial analytical skills are well-known to Steve; this is simply something he needs to take into account when following me off on hikes.
It was an absolutely gorgeous day in Edinburgh, sunny and warm, and a lovely day for that walk, so I don’t regret it for an instant.
We ended the day with a lovely dinner in outdoor seating on High Street, before heading back to the hotel to rest up for the next day’s agenda!