Edinburgh is kind of showy — strutting its stuff from just about every angle: castles, monuments, islands in the Firth of Forth. We had a fantastic time exploring it and taking lots of pictures of its stunning views. After arriving our first evening, we were pretty tired, so we explored the park near our hotel, checked out a fun, independent bookstore, and found a really cute (and yummy) little restaurant for dinner. The next morning, we started off at Edinburgh Castle. The castle is has been a royal house, a fort, a prison, and even serves as a military barracks today. I think we could have spent hours and hours there. The exhibits and building were fascinating and the views were captivating. We even were on the Castle Hill when the cannon they fire daily at 1:00 was fired! After lunch, we walked up to a Calton Hill at the other end of city centre. On top of that hill are Nelson’s Monument, the National Monument of Scotland, several other buildings, an observatory, and more sweeping vistas. Here’s a view of the hill from the castle hill on the opposite end of town. Bill and Molly climbed to the top of Nelson’s Tower while Jane Anne and I hung out on the hill. Apparently, it was pretty windy at the top. Calton Hill was a perfect place to end our day. In addition to the views of the city, the new Parliament building, Holyrood House Palace, and Arthur’s Seat, it gave us lots of chances to admire the Firth of Forth — the estuary that flows into the North Sea — and the several islands in it. (And then, since we’d had a large, late lunch, we went back to the room, had chocolate cake for supper, and went to bed!)
The next morning before our train back to Oxford, we just hung out in the really cute Bruntsfield neighborhood around our hotel. We found a lovely German bakery to eat brunch and sip hot chocolate and popped into a few cute shops. I feel like a have a refrain of “such-and-such city was so lovely, I hope to go back and spend more time there,” and, of course, it’s true of Edinburgh as well. I guess we’ll just have to relegate ourselves to a lifetime of travel. Tragic.