Mighty Edinburgh

We have just arrived in Parisbut first there are several wonderful days of discovery in Edinburgh to describe.
Following our very long, but thankfully uneventful, journey from Melbourne we arrived in Edinburgh last Sunday afternoon to bright sunshine and blue skies. We were met at the airport by Sheila, a local Scot and friend of some thirty-odd years.

Sheila had quite an itinerary mapped out for us, and so on Monday we began with a tour of the famous Edinburgh Castle. As we lined up to buy our tickets, I happened to see a friend and writing colleague from Launceston, Katy Hulme, selling tickets at one of the booths. Katy relocated to Edinburgh earlier this year and we had planned to contact her so we were delightfully surprised to find her at the Castle.
We spent several hours walking around the site which is rich in ancient military history. And the approach to the Castle, known as the Royal Mile, contains a wealth of interesting tourist shops including woollen mills and whiskey stores.

On Tuesday Sheila took us by bus into the city for a morning of shopping. We followed this with a fascinating tour of the Royal Brittania, the now retired yacht of HRH Queen Elizabeth. And what a ship it is! We lunched in the café on board where we were served the greenest pea and ham soup we have ever seen, in the official crockery of the Brittania.

Wednesday Sheila drove us to St Andrews, famous for its legendry golf course, but also home to the massive ruins of an ancient cathedral and castle. We spent time wandering through the extensive graveyards and eerie remains of what was, around 1160, a place of pilgrimage for thousands of people and one of the most important religious places in Europe.
We ate a delicious late lunch at The Glass House, one of many local restaurants, after walking to the golf course and watching professionals tee off in readiness for the upcoming Dunhill Links Championship.

On Thursday we took a train to the seaside village of North Berwick and spent hours wandering through the National Flight Museum, where we climbed up into the legendary Concorde, as well as other historical passenger planes and jet fighters right up to the 1990s. We also learned about the history of the site which was an air force base during both world wars.

A walk through the town and lunch at a gallery completed our visit and we ‘trained’ back to Edinburgh, exhausted but elated yet again
On Friday it was off to Stirling for two very special reasons: the remarkable Stirling Castle where we could easily have spent an entire day, and lunch at the Dunblane Golf Course with Sheila’s parents - we hadn’t met before and they are a really delightful couple.

The Castle is slowly being brought back to its former glory and visitors can now walk through chambers decorated as they would have been in the 1300s and kitchens, complete with full-sized models going about their daily chores. Just stunning.

I can’t believe we have done all of this in just five days! Naturally we have only just scratched the    surface of what Scotland has to offer, and a return visit is an absolute must. Photos to come...