Thursday, May 23, 2013

Castles, bagpipes and pints

I would like to begin by apologizing for such a long break between my posts. It's been a crazy beautiful last few weeks. So without further ado....

My journey with Erika and Jenny continued in the enchanting city of Edinburgh where we arrived in a bit of a disoriented state, as the helpful tourist info kiosks were closed for the night. Fortunately we were able to find the appropriate bus to get into the city. Our first real introduction to Edinburgh was the climb up to 'Old Town' and our aptly named hostel, Castel Rock (you MUST stay here if you're visiting). It was situated down some stairs and directly across the street from the imposing Edinburgh Castle. 

Day 1
We hit the ground running on our first day, starting with a walking tour of Edinburgh. While meandering around the city we learned some of its history and local tales. Afterwards we were invited by our guide to try some local cuisine at a charming pub off of the Royal Mile. Jenny was the adventurous one and ordered Haggis while Erika and I both got bangers and mash (sausage and mashed potatoes). As good friends and travelers do we agreed to share a bite of our meals and I discovered that inspite of its atypical ingredients, haggis is actually quite delicious. 
 After lunch we had some time to pass before our back to back ghost tour and pub crawl so we wandered in and out of the shops in search of souvenirs. 

The ghost tour was fascinating, it began with a hike up Carlton Hill which was believed to be an entrance to the Faerie relm in the mideval age. From there we descended Jacobs Ladder to learn more about body snatchers, murders, canibals and vampires. When that tour was done we rejoined the living in a pub crawl around some of Edinburgs many pubs and clubs. During the crawl we also reunited with some friends from the earlier walking tour and proceeded to dance and drink the night away. 

Day 2
The next morning dawned with the three of us needing a hearty breakfast and lots of water. Unfortunately our enticing meal was bittersweet as Erika had to leave us and meet up with her parents. After saying our farewells, Jenny and I opted to find some shelter from the snow flurries and do some retail therapy at the local boutiques. She was also kind enough to try on all of the roughly 50 dresses I picked out.

Once the snow stopped we found our way to Hollyrod House, the local Royal residence in Edinburgh. It was a beautiful building and the grounds exemplified the mystique that surrounds everything Scottish. After touring the mannor, Jenny and I discovered an adorable Victorian style tea house where we got some drinks to warm up before climbing Carlton Hill for a photoshoot.

After returing to the city from the climb, we meandered back towards our hostel in search of some good food. We settled on a local pub and dinner of Haggis, a burger, and beer.  It was an early night as we had a train to catch in the morning.