Thursday – June 20
We arrived in Edinburgh just before one in the afternoon. Since we were spending less than 24 hours in the capital of Scotland, as soon as we checked into our hostel we set out to explore the city. Our plan of attack (or at least Tarynne’s plan of attack) was to climb Arthur’s Seat so we could see a panoramic view of the city from high above before exploring the ins and outs of the streets below.
The climb was a little more than we had bargained for. Well, at least a little more than Oliver and I had bargained for.
By the time we were halfway up we were already drenched in sweat and Oliver ripped a massive hole in the crotch of his jeans. After a somewhat significant struggle up the hill, we finally made it to the top and the view turned out to be well worth the climb.
Once we made it back down to the bottom of Arthur’s Seat we took a quick walk through Edinburgh to Calton Hill.
By the time we had finished cruising around the park and taking in the scenery it was already getting late and we needed to head back to the hostel to change and find something for dinner.
We ended up finding a very tasty pub called The Royal Mile Tavern where I was served the best Bangers ‘n Mash this Scottish boy has ever had (excluding Jude’s). Aside from eating, we also listened to live music and had a couple of beers before scurrying out the door to meet up with the rest of our hostel who were already on a pub crawl.
The pub crawl was pretty sweet. We went to five bars and one night club. Each of the bars had a very different vibe, including one with some of the best karaoke we’d ever heard.
The night club was a little strange. There was a ridiculous amount of fog being pumped out of the stage and onto the dance floor reducing visibility to approximately three inches.
The next morning we thought maybe there were a lot of unattractive people in the place and this was the only way to get people to dance with each other.
After dancing blind to a few songs we called it a night and headed back to the hostel.
Friday – June 21
Edinburgh Castle was pretty awesome. It’s a lot smaller than I remember it being when we visited it in 1999, but maybe that’s because we were also a lot smaller.
We decided not to pay the 6 Euros for the guided audio tour and instead opted for the free 30-minute walking tour. The audio tour is really only for people too lazy to read the exhibit signs, a.k.a most Americans.
After the walking tour we hit up the main sections of the castle including the Great Hall, Scottish Crown Jewels, St. Margaret’s Chapel, Scottish National War Memorial, dungeon, war museums and the royal quarters – the birth place of King James VI of Scotland and I of England.
On the way out of the castle we were able to stop to watch the One O’Clock Gun before charging back out of the portcullis gates and down the Royal Mile to catch our 2 p.m. train to Glasgow, then Gourock.
Okay, the One O’Clock Gun was kind of cool…
The train ride to Gourock was fairly uneventful and despite Dad’s lack of faith we arrived right on time at 4 p.m. It was great to see everyone waiting for us on the train platform, and strangely enough Jude cried upon seeing me, even though I’m clearly her least favorite son.
We spent the afternoon chatting on the front patio, basking in the Gourock sun.
We then were invited to dig into a ridiculously good dinner prepared by our amazing hosts Grace and Stuart Kennedy.
And when I say dinner, I actually mean a feast fit for kings.
We’re talking a full spread of food, including curry, salmon, rice, potatoes, sausage rolls, cheese, and salads.
The list of scrumptious food goes on and on. Oh, and don’t forget the cheesecake we had for dessert.
After dinner we stayed up for a few more hours chatting before going to bed early, to ensure we were well-rested for the wedding the following afternoon.