Our first full day in Edinburgh began with a brisk morning walk north along Lothian Road to a home on Glenfinlass Street as the couple who own our one-bedroom holiday flat invited us over for coffee. Besides welcoming us into their lovely home, providing cappuccino, lemon cake, chocolate ladyfingers and great conversation, they also shared insider travel tips on what to see and do in the city they're proud to call home.
We learned they love to dance, specifically Scottish Country dancing, and twice a week share their expertise with others via lessons. On Hogmanay they shove the furniture against the lounge walls so they and their guests can dance in the New Year. Last year, in between songs and reels, they realized they'd attracted the attention of passer-bys who stopped to watch them dance. We could literally have chatted forever, but took our leave at noon and headed off to explore the city. First stop was the pedestrian-only High Street also known as the Royal Mile.
We stepped inside St. Giles' Cathedral. St. Giles' is Edinburgh's "town church". The church has been at the heart of the city's religious life for at least one thousand years. Inside is a low relief memorial to Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, who was born in Edinburgh on November 13, 1850 and died in Samoa in December 1894.
All along the Royal Mile are shops selling cashmere scarves, gloves, tartan kilts, blankets, hats, trinkets and souvenirs. I spotted this Nessie Hat in a bin and begged John to try it on. Fortunately, he has a good sense of humour!
There's no shortage of shops selling whiskey, and dispersed in between are a slew of pubs. This one, The White Hart Inn, is actually on Grassmarket Street, but I wanted to include it as it is the oldest in Edinburgh. (1516)
In between the row of brick buildings are narrow passage ways. Some lead to quaint little gardens, others to restaurants tucked in behind the busy throughway. Some are dark and dank, others are decked all out to entice customers to venture in. The tiny lights on this one caught my eye, and again, John obliged my plea for him to pose in front.
By 4 PM we dashed inside the Scottish National Gallery and I didn't stop to take a photo of its impressive exterior. I did, however, take the time to do so inside.
After savouring the masterpieces we headed back to our flat. Along the way we passed this food trailer.
The aroma of fresh grilled Angus burgers made our mouths water. I was surprised to see these massive flower boxes still filled with healthy, blooming plants.
|Burgers & Crepes|
Add all of the above together and add in the big band sound of street musicians on Princes Street and our first day in Edinburgh was an absolute delight for all five senses.
* * *