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Scotland day 8 (end of trip)

Edinburgh Castle
We drove into Edinburgh just before noon on Saturday, parked near the airport and caught a bus downtown.  We had been told that navigating and parking can be troublesome in UK cities, especially in summer, so we opted for finding our way into the city via the top deck of a double-decker bus.  We stepped off near Edinburgh Castle and were immediately surrounded by a large park, bustling shops, throngs of tourists, and Starbucks.

High Street in Edinburgh.  Dean is on the sidewalk.
After gawking at Edinburgh Castle for awhile, we sauntered around the park, slowed down to listen at a music stage, then headed up the hill to High Street.  It really is high, you know.  The first thing we encountered once we reached High Street was (you guessed it) a bagpiper, this time with a drummer.  A really funky combination!  We spent the afternoon walking from Edinburgh Castle (we didn't have time to go in, but we saw the police dogs sniffing around the stands for the Edinburgh Military Tattoo which were situated right in front of the castle and that was pretty thrilling for us).  We sauntered all the way down High Street until we reached Holyrood Castle, which is the Queen's residence when she visits.  Along the way we looked in some shops (whiskey, tartans, and wool and cashmere scarves for sale everywhere), stopped briefly at the house of reformer John Knox, and I met a friend from the conference in St. Andrews and we chatted for a bit while Dean snapped pictures.


House of John Knox.  I'd like to have that phrase carved above my door, too.
Because the Edinburgh Fringe Festival was on, the streets were packed with street performers and people handing out invitations to their shows.  We wished we would have had a few more days to take in a few of the performances, but because we only had a week in Scotland, we had to run around at a fairly rapid pace.  After picking up some of the Queen's shortbread, we headed to the park to hike up to Arthur's Seat.  Dean took one look at the hill and thought I was trying to kill him.  A slow death, I replied.

We never really saw a map of the paths up the hill, so instead of taking the east path to Arthur's Seat, we ended up on the west path up the Salisbury Crags which are right beside Arthur's Seat.  Pretty stunning, nonetheless.  The views of Edinburgh were amazing, it being another clear and sunny day in Scotland!  I rewarded myself with an ice cream cone at the bottom of the hill and then we hopped on a bus back to our car and headed back to Glasgow for our last night in Scotland.


Climbing Salisbury Crags
When we got to our hotel, we were in for a surprise.  Due to a glitch in their booking system, the hotel was flooded with reservations and had no room for us.  However, they generously offered to put us in a taxi which would take us to a downtown hotel which had room (no extra expense to us).  Okay.  We hopped in the taxi and within 15 minutes were at Hotel Indigo in downtown Glasgow with glowing fuschia lights and decor.  Everyone we encountered whispered to us, "It's a much nicer hotel," and it was.  The room was twice as big, the decor stunning, and items in the stocked mini bar were free for the taking!  I just stood and stared at the shower for a minute when I saw it.  I want one like that, please.  We walked down the street to Tesco (grocery store) and spent most of our last British pounds on a light supper which we enjoyed in our luxurious room.


Dean talking to someone in Hotel Indigo, Glasgow
The next morning we drove to Glasgow airport, returned our rental car, and after another romantic meal in an airport, hopped on the plane and flew back to Toronto.  We had a bit of a delay in getting out of Toronto because I could not find our parking ticket to pick up our car, but a nice customer service guy came to sort it out for us and we were soon on our way.  I found the ticket the day after we got home, of course!  We pulled up to our door around 2:30 am on Monday.  I drove most of the way from Toronto to Montreal fuelled by Diet Dr. Pepper and cappuccino because Dean had to work that day.  Jazz met us at the door, eager to sniff our clothes and inspect our luggage, wondering why everything smelled like dogs.  I meant to explain to her that everyone in Scotland has a dog, but I fell asleep.

And thus ends the tale of our adventure in Scotland.  It was more beautiful than I had imagined, had a greater impact on both of us than we expected, and the untamed nature of the land and the down to earth generosity of the people were a constant source of inspiration.  Like I mentioned in another post, I believe the beauty of the place had a rather profound impact on me. Though we were physically tired when we returned, I felt refreshed, like I had drunk from a well that had access to very deep, cool, springs.  Thank you, Scotland, for giving us such riches.


Into the taxi and on our way home

Comments

steven hamilton said…
I love Scotland!!

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