After leaving Inverness, we drove over the Grampian Mountains, with the intention of visiting Balmoral Castle. The snow became heavier
and as the temperature plummeted to -5ºC, we decided to head straight for Edinburgh instead. We arrived as the sun was setting
and found a hotel we liked the look of. Unfortunately, they only had a room for one night but recommended another place for us. We were told it was opposite a big building, we couldn’t miss it. After driving past three times, we finally found Ashgrove House, but couldn’t see anything across the road in the dark. After a marvelous curry and a good night’s sleep, I opened the curtains and, sure enough, the Donaldson’s School, a residential and day school for the deaf, was certainly a big building across the road.
Our accommodation was lovely, in the attic room of this beautiful Victorian villa built in 1868.
A short walk away, Edinburgh Castle loomed magnificently over the town.
Built on volcanic rock, there has been a royal castle on this site since the 12th century,
with royals in residence up until 1633.
The view from the castle over Edinburgh and beyond was stunning.
As we left the castle, we caught a glimpse of the Firth of Forth between the buildings,
before setting off down the Royal Mile.
The Scotch Whisky Experience was tempting but, as Michael isn’t keen on whisky, we opted for the 3D Loch Ness Experience instead.
After treating ourselves to a pair of gold celtic rings, our keepsake from Scotland, we celebrated with a pint and bacon sandwich at the Royal Mile Tavern. I have seen condom machines in women’s toilets before, but never scotch whisky flavoured, nor with the advice to refrain from driving while using the product!
The old tenements and alleyways were fascinating
as we made our way to the far end of the mile and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The Queen’s Gallery is an art gallery that forms part of the palace and exhibits works from the Royal Collection.
The palace as it stands today was built between 1671-1678 and is the official residence of the Queen when she is in Scotland.
The fountain is a 19th century replica of the 16th century fountain at Linlithgow Palace, just 15 miles away.
We wandered back to the new town, absorbing the spectacular architecture of the Edinburgh skyline
and the undying traditions of Scotland.
The next morning, we detoured to Dalmeny to see the Forth Bridges before leaving Edinburgh. The magnificent railway bridge was opened in 1890 and is the second-longest single cantilever bridge span in the world.
The 2.5km suspension road bridge was opened in 1964, six years after work began.
We didn’t drive across it, instead heading in the opposite direction.