Thanksgiving in Ediburgh
Trip Start Oct 02, 2007
51Trip End Dec 15, 2007
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Ok, so I am posting a week later. We certainly had a great Thanksgiving. This morning I awoke early and did some work for a few hours, then surfed the internet for our next journey up north in the next week. As you can probably tell, internet access is very important for me on this trip (although in the next week I will have none), well the only way I can connect wirelessly is to sit at the front door, most inconvient in my book. We left a little before noon to take the shuttle into the City of Edinburgh (we get dropped off at Queen Street).
Walking to Edinburgh Castle we pass over the train tracks and walk up the hill. Wow, what a difference a week makes, I was doing so well walking long distances, up and down stairs, not today though. I had such a hard time climbing the stairs and walking up the steep gradients. Over and next to the train tracks, the city had set up a skating rink, stage and dozens of booths for 'Edinburgh Christmas' which began today
We got to the gates (and parking area) of Edinburgh Castle, the wind made the already chilly temperatures more frigid. We stopped at some of the stone monuments on the north side to photograph them and the skyline. We bought our tickets and went inside. During my planning stages, I had never expected to visit Edinburgh, so I never had done any research into the castle, so I assumed it would be like the other castles I have visited on this trip, and the entire castle be enclosed. Oh how wrong I am. Upon entering the castle walls, the wind was channeled and seemed to be blowing harder than before. We walked up the road to the gate tower, Melinda stopping and photographing symbols on the walls (while listening to an audio guide), once through the gate house, the skies opened up with rain. So, until the rains and wind died down, we ran from room to room avoiding the weather.
We spent about 3 1/2 hours exploring the castle. My two favorite 'rooms' where the exhibit for the Crown Jewels and the War Memorial. The Crown Jewel exhibit had the history of the Jewels plus the actual jewels themselves. Unfortunately, due the age and fragility of the Jewels, pictures are not allowed. They are impressive. My favorite piece is the gold and silk belt. The belt had to wrap around the king, this sword and over his shoulder. The War Memorial was built for the soldiers who fought and died in World War 1
We left the castle at 430pm, and by that time the temperature had dropped and a cold front had moved in. It was signficantly colder than the morning and the wind was strong. We went into a wool and tartan shop next to the castle so we could check out blankets and kilts (me blanket, Melinda kilts). I searched in the shop hi and low for a blanket like the one my mom purchased 28 years ago when we came to Scotland. Melinda found a very nice looking kilt for herself (The shop does not have pre-made kilts for men).
We left the shop after an hour and headed down to the Hard Rock Cafe for our Thanksgiving Meal. Along the way, there was a concert for the opening of the Edinburgh Christmas Festival (the sound was crystal clear). I had been hoping to see the ferris wheel lit up in the evening (the sun set around 4pm), unfortunately it was shut down for the concert and festivities. Surprisingly the resturuant was not as busy as I had expected, so we got our table right away. Melinda makes every effort she can to visit as many Hard Rock Cafe's as she can (on this trip alone she has been to London, Rome and Edinburgh-and next week Paris' Hard Rock Cafe). We had 2 1/2 hours before we had to catch the shuttle back to the hotel, so we ate and drank til we were merry (and tired).
Once we returned, we scheduled Melinda's next leg of her journey and got ready to leave in the morning. Despite the weather, it was a great Thanksgiving. I am kicking myself a little though, I had made the mistake of not checking my camera's batteries before I left this morning and assumed I had a fully charged spare battery. At about 125 pictures (or half way through the day) my 1st battery died, so I put in my second to find out it was not charged, so I only was able to take 150 pictures for the day.
I had made the mistake of dressing too lightly for the day, since the weather forecast had said the city was going to hit 10*C (50*F). By the end of the day, it was -6*C (22*F) and the wind was blowing quite hard. According to the revised weather report, a cold system came into Scotland from Iceland and very cold temperatures that night were expected.