We have a plan (subject to change) to visit the UK every other year, and this was the year. We wanted to go back to Scotland, and after our visits to Neolithic sites in Ireland and Malta, we were interested in more. Plus, Alison has always wanted to see Balmoral, the queen’s summer residence, and visiting times were limited. So it evolved: Edinburgh to revisit museums and St. Giles (Dunnett alert!), Royal Deeside to visit castles and see beautiful country, and Orkney for Neolithic stuff (and more Dunnett). June of 2017, here we go!
Our Aer Lingus flight took us to Dublin with an early morning flight on to Edinburgh. We had an empty seat on the way over to Dublin, so we both slept better, but it’s still no fun. On the other hand, you wake up and you’re in Scotland, always a plus. It was cool and rainy when we arrived. We took a taxi to Castle View Guest House, just a few streets over from our old haunt, Frederick House.
The entryway was not inviting, with bags of laundry and groceries piled on the stairs. But our room was a good size and the bathroom was modern and spacious. Since we could not check in at 10 a.m. we simply dropped our bags and began walking (stumbling) along the street. We loved revisiting the views of Edinburgh castle and other memories of our previous trip as we walked along Princes Street to the National Gallery. We were drooping but stopped to look at the skating minister and the
Stag at Bay Monarch of the Glen, a famous Scottish picture that we had missed last time around. (Thanks, ArtUK.org, for the link). He really is quite magnificent for all that he’s a Scottish cliche.
Outside the museum we came upon a piper, touristy but still fun to see (with the Scott monument in the background, just as grimy as ever).
We had a quick lunch at the gallery cafe, and finally it was time to go back to the hotel, where we had two hours of sleep before dinner. We defaulted to the Mussel Inn on a busy street on a Friday night. Deep fried whitebait, our starter, luckily turned out to be tiny little fish, eyes still intact, crunchy and delicious, followed by something fishy and washed down with wine. Sitting outside, we watched the light on the grey stone buildings and the people going by. We saw at least two “hen parties” complete with sashes declaring the mother of the bride and the maid of honor, et al. Lots of drinking seems to be involved. We found our way back home and slept like the dead.