When I was 10, my dad and I rode our bikes across California. During this ride, I was interviewed for, and later featured on The FredCast Cycling Podcast. During the ride, I discovered that the state of California was not as flat as I had formerly believed it to be. And thus, the much quoted “I didn’t know California was so bumpy!” quote was said (you can hear it on a special episode of The FredCast from 21 May 2007). And yes, Dad, I did search through the backlogs of The FredCast to ensure I quoted myself correctly on this.
All this is quite a long digression to say: California has nothing on Edinburgh, Scotland (or at least, that’s what it felt like when we were walking around). When Kim and I left Dublin on our flight to Edinburgh early Saturday morning, I don’t think we were expecting to arrive in a city that is quite hilly. But we persevered, dragging ourselves up a hill (and then down one) to our hostel, which was conveniently located right under Edinburgh Castle. (And really, me talking about the hills in Edinburgh is partially just a ploy to use this blogpost title because I just couldn’t pass it up.)
On Saturday, Kim and I headed through New Town of Edinburgh (down a hill) to the Royal Botanic Gardens. Not a lot was blooming, but it still was quite beautiful and I’m definitely glad we made the trek down there! I’m not sure Kim or I had ever seen that many rhododendron trees in our lives. But despite some of the plants still in their winter dead mode, it was worth the walk.
After the Botanic Garden, we headed to Edinburgh Castle. While walking there, we passed through amazing neighborhoods and cute parts of Edinburgh that Kim and I speculated to be expensive living (though we still talked about how glorious it would be to live there).
Edinburgh Castle is amazing. I mean, for starters, it’s a castle, so what’s not to love? It’s also beautifully kept up and tells a lot about the history of the castle and who lived there. There’s also a war memorial there, which very recently held an event and honored people from every war that Scotland, and thus England, has been a participant in. There were books all around with names of those lost, so I can only imagine how personal it must be to go there to commemorate a loved one. It was all very cool. There’s also whisky tastings on Castle Mount, but Kim and I did not partake. Something to remember for the future though!
It sounds like a short day, but that concluded our Saturday (I didn’t describe dinner but it was Mexican food!).
Sunday morning, we got up, walked down to Holyrood Park, and hiked Arthur’s Seat. This is the main mountain in Edinburgh, its height is 251 meters (825 feet) in height, so not too tall in the scheme of my Utah life, but it was a steep hike to the top. But oh man was that view worth it. Basically, at the very top, you can see all of Edinburgh, Scotland, including all the cute suburbs, the castle, the monuments, and all such things.
After we got back down to the bottom of Holyrood Park, after petting adorable pups, and calming our shaking legs, we headed to the Palace of Holyrood House. This house (no pictures allowed) is where Mary Queen of Scots lived, and where the Queen of England stays now when she goes to Scotland on official business – hence the no photos. The audioguide is free at Holyrood, and I would 100% suggest you take it because there are not too many explanatory signs throughout the house.
We stopped for a much earned lunch at a local pub after that, and then went to the National Museum of Edinburgh to enjoy interesting facts about animals, engineering, space, fashion, and everything in between.
We went on a ghost tour Sunday night (yes, I went on a ghost tour), and it was actually really interesting about ghosts, but also the history of Edinburgh. The only time I felt the shivers was when we walked into a cemetery at night which goes against every single superstitious bone I have in my body. The woman giving the tour was very nice and wonderful.
After our ghost tour, we had dinner at a great pub, and then went to try Scottish whisky. The bartender helped Kim and me pick out a whisky, and Kim really liked hers! I…might not be a whisky person, but perhaps I’ll grow to like it with age.
We returned to Limerick with quite a few assignments to complete, but a ton more memories to keep. Thanks to Kim for such a great trip!