Scotland day one

Scotland day one, a set on Flickr.


The day started early with a 6am wake up to get the tube to King Cross and then catch the 8am overland train to Edinburgh. It is as if there is a rule to get lost in your own world with ear plugs from your iPhone, read a book or a kindle, or just sit there sleeping or looking blankly into space. Any way these two were no different, which was fine as there was no need to try and make polite conversation. They both got off half way to Edinburgh so then we had the table to ourselves. The train travels along very quickly and smoothly and as we got closer to Edinburgh the country side started resembling Otago more and more, with the green paddocks and rugged coast lines all looking very familiar.
We arrived into Edinburgh just after midday at the Waverley Station. Edinburgh was a lot busier than I had expected, very similar to London in terms of busyness. Lots of double decker tourist type hop on hop off buses and taxis at the station. We had to make our way down Princes St (yes just about every street has a familiar Dunedin name) to the Easy Hotel, this was about a 20 min walk.
As we could not check in until after 3pm we decided to visit the Edinburgh Castle which we could see looming up high on the hill above Princes St. About another 20min walk and quite a few steps later via a side entrance we were at the castle. We joined a free guided tour that explained about every thing before you are left to explore on your own. We saw the beautiful crown jewels of Scotland, The stone of Destiny that is still used at coronations. We had recently watched a movie about this stone so it was great to actually see it. There are displays of the many wars dating back hundred of years and an amazing chapel dedicated to all the Scots who have lost there lives in battle right up to today. Their names are kept in books around the parameter of the big hall.
After checking in and having a bit of a rest in our room we went to a Chinese buffet tea at Jimmy Changs which was very good value. Then it was back up the hill to explore the old Edinburgh town which is just as you would imagine with lots of small cobble stone Streets with tugged away alleys, quant shops and pubs. We made a booking for a ghost and Gauls walking tour that takes you to the underground cellars beneath this old part of town. Stuart our guide was funny and had lots of interesting stories along the way. It was in the cellars at close to midnight that he blew out the only source of light, which was the candle in his hand, leaving our small group in the pitch black. This was after explaining about true and documented stories of sightings of ghosts in the very cramped cellar we were standing in that it got truly scary.
By this time we were quite tired and after the walk back to the hotel sleep was all we wanted.

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