Okay, new day & time to change hotels day. This was my last day of waking up to bagpipes. So I get up & get ready for the day! First things first, COFFEE! So down for breakfast, remembered this time & no OJ. Then it was off to front desk to let them know we were ready to check out & bags were ready to be brought down. We were going to The Old Waverly’s sister hotel The Holyrood ApartHotel & since they set this up for us they were also paying for cab to take us there, which I thought was really nice. So off we go to new hotel. The ApartHotel was only about a mile away but almost different city. We were going to Cannongate which was a totally separate city from Edinburgh until 1856. The hotel was on a close between Holyrood & Cannongate(a close is like an alleyway that sometimes connect streets, sometimes just have old homes or businesses down them)& it’s pronounced Holly rude. We get there & get checked in but have a two hours before we can have room so we leave luggage(my new computer is in purse)& go check out new surroundings. When we came out of close we came out on Cannongate(always came out on Cannongate, Holyrood didn’t really have much of anything of interest except restaurants as far as I could tell) & right across the street from the close was Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe, now there was a landmark I could remember so I could find hotel again! Well I love Christmas & I needed some happy so of course I went in. I love Christmas stores, for just a few moments you can believe it is Christmas. Would have loved to have bought some ornaments there but a little pricey & also rather delicate & probably wouldn’t have survived the trip home. so back out to street & just a few steps up the street is the Cannongate Church & it’s cemetery. There were headstones there that dated back to the 13th century! I would have loved to have taken some pictures of them but they were so old that time & weather had made them almost unreadable. Companion said they should take of them & do them so they could be read. I think she missed the point. Now up on this big hill over looking church & cemetery was this very old, very impressive building, looks like it was either someone very important home or important government building. Now when I say old I mean looks like it dates back to at least the 12th century & today it’s a office building! Amazing! Well by this time I’d decided it was time for a cup of coffee & a pint! So we walked up to a pub called Canon’s Gait, this named for a horse. Was early enough that it was busy & it was a nice place. A couple came in & sat at the table next to us & I got to talking with them, turns out they were from Phoenix, Arizona where John, my husband, is from. That was really kind of neat, talking about things & places I knew.
Well by this time our room would be ready so we headed back to the hotel to get settled & shower & change. Now the hotel itself is this boxy looking building stuck back in the close so you don’t see it from either street, so I was expecting some boxy generic hotel room, boy was I wrong! There were 2 good sized bedrooms, one with it’s own bathroom(I got that one), a main bath in hall next to other bedroom, at the end of the hall where bedrooms were there was a common room with tv,DVD player stereo. There was a sofa, chairs & a dining room table & chairs. We’re talking a good size room & forming a L at the end of the room was a real kitchen with stove, oven, microwave, fridge, dishwasher, & washer/dryer combo. Even had juice, milk & yogurt in fridge. none of it was so what I expected! Hell in the bedroom there was even a desk that you could sit at & really use. And the shower, it was a electric shower, I really liked it. You turn it on, set water pressure & temperature & turn water on. I just liked it.
Okay, we both had plans for afternoon, she wanted to go tour the Queen’s Palace & do one of the night ghost tours. Neither of which appealed to me. I wanted to go have a good look see of where we were & wanted to do a proper pub crawl, so the plan was I would walk down to the palace with her & then go on my way & then meet up at hotel at 7:00PM & share cab back to Princes St. to go our respective ways. So off we went down to the palace, seeing the palace won’t have been bad but paying 20 pounds wasn’t something I wanted to do. So she went in & I started looking. Now the out side of palace I did check out. The real name of the place is The Palace Of Holyrood, it was built in the 16th century for Mary, Queen of Scots. The royal family still stays there on their annul summer visit. The doors to the place are something else! On one door there is a unicorn all in gold(the real thing), the other door has a lion on it. Now those are doors!
Across the road from the palace is the Scottish Parliment building, most Scots DO NOT like this building & I can understand why, it’s this very contemporary looking building sitting in with these wonderful old buildings. It sticks out like a sore thumb! It is ugly!
Now if you stand with the palace to your left & Parliment on your right your facing this big hill that’s called The Salsbury Crags, so beautiful, wish I was younger & before I had back issues, would have loved to have climbed it!
So I headed back up the street to look around. Just as you pass by Parliament heading up Cannongate is the QueenburyHouse, dates back to the 16th century, and check this out, 2nd duke was caught roasting his kitchen boy on a spit! He was one sick puppy!
Going back up the street there are several very nice kilt makers, kind of got the feeling the families that own the shops have owned them for hundreds of years. That’s really mind boggling to me. One family owning one business for that long. think about that for a minute. I’ll wait. Okay, how many family owned businesses can you think of? Even if you can can think of some how far do they go back? None of them can go back as far back as some of these families do, we as a country haven’t been around as long as they have.That put’s it into perspective. Also I just like the fact there are still real kilt makers. There are still also bagpipe makers. Sorry, I just really love the sound of bagpipes, just so mournful sounding. I love Amazing Grace on the pipes, makes me cry every time I hear it. You should see when I watch Star Trek: The Wrath Of Khan, when Scotty plays that on the pipes I just lose it! Crying!
Anyhow, all up & down the street there are these houses that date back to the 16th century, one has become a old folks home & a couple of them have become museums. But these are intermixed with alot of shops of different sorts, as I said kilt makers, bagpipe makers , cigar stores, there are also these whiskey stores, & you can in & do tastings. Made me wish I liked scotch. Anyway, but there are all these cafes & some pubs, no I didn’t decide it was time to have a pint. I decide it was time to have a proper pot of tea. I found this nice tea shop, I can’t for the life of me remember the name of it, I wish I could. It was cool & misty outside(I loved it) so I decided to have a bowl of soup, when I asked the waiter what the soup of the day was & he said it was cream of parsnip , I asked him what parsnip tasted like, he said he couldn’t describe it but he liked it, so I decided to give it a chance. I liked the soup, I can’t describe what it tasted like but I like it. Really, it didn’t taste like anything I’ve ever tasted before. So I have no reference point. Yeah I know, some of you are laughing at me, but that’s okay. Back to my proper pot of tea. I chose to have the owner’s own blend, one that he actually is well known for, it was really was good, but the most memorable thing about the shop was the owner, I was sitting with my back to the counter & all of a sudden I heard the owner talk. It was Scotty! I would have sworn that Star Treks Scotty was standing behind me! I whipped around to look & then discovered he looked just like the Brian the Kiwi who is one of the owner’s of Shorty’s, our favorite pizza place here at home. I turned back around, ate my soup & drank my tea & listened to this guy, he was a talker & he was funny. It was a great way to pass an hour on a chilly, misty day.
By this time my back was pretty bad & I had forgotten to put meds in my purse, so I decided to head back to the hotel, take meds & get some rest for my back so I’d be prepared for my pub crawl.
Well after taking meds , resting a bit & catching up on some emails(also checking on work) talked to companion who had changed mind about going on ghost tour so asked if she wanted to go on pub crawl with me & get some dinner, didn’t seem right leaving her there when all shops & cafes closed between 5 & 6PM. So it was decided she go with me & I do an abbreviated crawl(yeah, I know), so got dressed & got taxi down to Rose St., he dropped us off at one end so that we could work our way down & see the whole street. I have truly never seen so many bars in one place before! But I did figure out why there are so many. Each one is so small that it would take about 20 of them to make a small bar here. But as we were walking down the street getting the lay of the street & what pubs there were I kept seeing these flowers done in in laid stones on the street, when I came to the 3rd one I decided I needed a picture of them, as I’m taking the picture it dawns on me that they are roses. And I’m on Rose St! Damn, sometimes I’m so quick I amaze even myself. Well this was after about a half a block & companion was rather dragging & didn’t see point of crawl soooo, decided we pick one pub & just go & have dinner & then head back to hotel. Not happy. So after walking down & back up street(could have hit 2 pubs in the time it took) we decided to go to Dirty Dick’s, yes the name is giggling inducing to some of us but the story behind the name is actually very sad. Back in 17th century there was this man named Richard who was seriously poor & homeless, the only way he could make any money was to follow around after the draft horses picking up their manure, the owner of this pub felt bad for the guy & would invite him in a few times a week & give him a couple of glasses of ale & listen to his stories of what was going on around the city, he came to be called Dirty Dick(for obvious reasons) & became rather well known; well turned out he had this uncle who heard about him & search for him to let him know that he was a very wealthy man due to a inheritance, well by the time he found him Dirty Dick had already died due to the life he had led. The owner of pub changed the name of his pub to honor him. That’s just sad!
So anyway, we went in & ordered at the & then found a table. I decided it was time to have fish & chips, after all I couldn’t very well leave Great Britain without having had some. It was pretty good but on my god, salt people, SALT! The inside of the pub was dimly lit & had scads of things up on the walls & hanging from the ceiling, kind of like Long Horn, Applebees & Cracker Barrel, but more so. Seriously, more so! So I had my last Scottish pint & my fish & chips & was it was time to head back. As we were walking out the door Skynards “Sweet Home Alabama” started playing! Well I decided to have a cigarette & listen to the song, just loved the fact I was standing in the doorway of a pub in Scotland listening to Skynard’s “Sweet Home Alabama”. After the song was over we headed up to Princes St. to get a cab back to hotel. When we got back to hotel we had decided to watch Keeping Mum on DVD we got from the hotel. I had seen it before but she hadn’t. It stars Rowan Atkinson & Kristen Scott Thomas, a great British comedy, if you haven’t seen put on your to watch list. She didn’t seem to find it funny, to busy rewriting & redirecting. I decided to get some sleep because I needed to get up early & hit Jenner’s to buy a travel bag, I shipped mine home not thinking about the fact that I would need it. Wasn’t thinking. But gave me a chance to go shopping shopping! Yea! So next morning I got up early & got a cab & headed up to Princes St. & Jenner’s, wanted to get there when it opened so I could some power shopping since we were leaving & taking train to Oxford in about 4 hours. Well got there about an hour before opening time & decided that since I was in serious need of coffee I hit the Costa Coffee shop & have a relaxing cup & see what was happening on twitter while I waited for 9Am to roll around. I ordered a large cup of cafe americano(what passes as American coffee) & went & got myself a nice comfy chair & settled in. Now this cup of coffee was so big that the cup had two handles on it & you needed them both to be able to lift the damn thing! But hey, I definitely got my caffeine fix! By the time I finished the behemoth of a cup it was time to head over to the store. Once inside store it was a matter of finding where I needed to be, it took asking 4 different people(my fault not theirs, the place is huge) but I finally made it to luggage. Then looking at everything at least twice & then remembering where the one I liked were I finally chose a really nice bag that was marked as 40 pounds & when I went to pay found it had been marked down 15 pounds! Cool for me! Headed back to hotel to finish up packing & head to the train station.
We get to the train station & it was time for lugging luggage around again. People of train stations in UK, I have one word for you, PORTERS! The stations are confusing enough without having to lug your own luggage! We already had our standard tickets but after all the lugging all over the place I decided I didn’t know about companion but I was going to upgrade to 1st class again. I wanted to be comfortable. So quite frankly didn’t care if I rode by myself. finally made it to the train & found the 1st class car & stopped to double check about being able to up grade on train & find out where the luggage car was, Tony, the nice young man who worked as one of the guys who direct you to correct car & whatever else they do, but he said he would take care of getting luggage checked on to the train & took my carry on & my trench & put on train & reserved me a seat & kept an eye on things until I got on train. Took me like 5 minutes to accept tip. He was a such a nice young man. God I sound old!
Okay, this is where we’re finishing Edinburgh. Next it’s Oxford(yeah, right) & that’s where everything changes.