After a bit of a shaky start to our four nights here-we got lost finding the apartment, lost finding our car park and lost getting home from it, we’ve found our feet and our bearings and have fallen in love with Edinburgh.
As the dearest of all the accommodation we’ve stayed in so far, this apartment is also the worst. It’s got pictures fallen off the wall just sitting on the floor, doors that don’t shut, cupboard doors that fall off when you open them, the washing machine doesn’t work and there’s no dishwasher. The kitchen gear looks like it was bought at charity shops and garage sales and the bed is like sleeping on a plank with the second worst pillows in the UK.
Now having had my moan, I have to admit it was expensive, but the cheapest I could find, and the location is fantastic-a 15 minute stroll to the city centre past wonderful homes, churches, restaurants, cafes and gardens, across cobbled streets-it’s beautiful. We have a Tesco supermarket right across the road from us (one of those big ones) and a pub ,and good little Chinese we bought takeaway from on night one, just a few doors away. So it’s not all doom and gloom!
We put our car in the car park and haven’t seen it since. We just hope it’s there in the morning and that the annual pass we have here for the parking spot has been paid up!
Our days have been really full. We bought a 48+ pass for Edinburgh bus tours (so one of those hop on hop off jobs) which gave us access to 4 different buses along 4 different routes plus a bus and boat tour out to and on the Forth of Firth.
We’ve given that pass a hiding right from the first minute we bought it. On day one, we took an hour tour with a live guide round the city, then came back and did our boat and bus tour straight up.. That was great-a good bus ride out to a boat that took us out on the Forth for 1.5 hours out to a ruined abbey on an island, spotting seals, under the road bridge and the rail bridge and for a look at the third bridge being constructed.
Back in town, we jumped on another bus and went up to the royal mile and toured The Real Mary King’s close-a street that was built over during the construction of the new town hall in the 1700s and remains just as it was (sort of) back then.
The tour was a bit of fact mixed with a lot of theatre and was OK. I think it was a bit overpriced and the vaulted ceilings and wooden floors (put in for our safety) made it feel like a series of cellars. One house and the old cattle byre did feel really original though and I enjoyed them.
Yesterday, we visited the Queens Edinburgh residence, Holyroodhouse Palace. It cost about the same as the tour the day before and was so much more worth the price. It was amazing. We got given an audio guide and wandered from room to room on the first floor at our own pace for a couple of hours. These are the official reception rooms used by the Queen to meet with visiting dignitaries. When the Queen is in residence the palace is closed to tourists.
After our visit to Holyroodhouse, we took yet another bus out to Leith Harbour to have a bit of a look at the Royal Yacht Britannia. There’s a viewing area, poorly signed, behind a car park with the yacht behind a big fence with spikes on top. I think they really want you to buy a ticket, but we didn’t really have the time or money or the desire to do so. A bit of a disappointment really, but the bus ride out past the botanic gardens through the burbs was good.
We finished off the day with another bus ride back up to the Museum of Childhood. We only had 1/2 hour before closing time to look around, but that was long enough. Too many train sets and dolls houses and not enough stuff from my era to really grab my attention.
Today we got up early and walked to town where we caught the last bus on about the last minute of our ticket’s 48 hours. We went up to the Edinburgh Castle and took a good look around over 3 hours. it’s not cheap-about 16 pounds each plus 3.50 for the audio guide, but we had those English Heritage passes and using them, got in for half price. The nice boy at ticket sales charged us both as concessions for the tickets and guides so it only cost us 17.20 in total. A bargain!
There is seriously so much to look at and the views are so spectacular, you could spend way more time there, but my legs were nearly worn out, so after three hours and with it being lunch time, we gave up.
We lunched in a great restaurant called The Outsider. We’d intended to eat out every night here but by the time we get home of a late afternoon, I just want to put my onsie on and chill with something simple for dinner from Tesco, and a bottle of wine. So lunch today was our treat. I had rabbit, leek and chestnut mushroom pie and mash, Russ had grilled plaice, buttered kale and sweet potato and we shared a green salad, rustic bread and herbed oil, and a bottle of sauvignon blanc. It was all delicious.
After lunch and before we walked home, we visited the National Museum for about an hour and a half. It’s one of the best museums I’ve ever visited-a really beautiful space with really well thought out exhibits (my photos don’t do it justice). Once again, we could have stayed longer but my feet were now worn out completely.
Tomorrow, we’re off to Louth (back in England) to stay with friends for three nights.