Today was a big day! It started out right, with a delicious breakfast at the Spylaw Bank House where I had stayed the previous night. Then, I moved my stuff to Laidlaw House at Merchiston, my accommodation for the harp festival. It was just down the road but the owner of my bed and breakfast was kind enough to give me and my suitcase a ride there.
After quickly checking in to my room and dropping off my things, I took the bus into Edinburgh! It was about a half hour to get to the middle of the city. It was a beautiful sunny morning, so I went over to Holyrood Park to hike up Arthur’s Seat. I am used to hiking, so it wasn’t too hard to get to the top. The views were amazing! I then wandered around to the less-traveled parts of the park. You could see the water, and there was a chilly breeze coming off of it. I got off of the path a little bit, but got back on when I almost fell in some slippery mud. I could see the whole city.
Once I started getting tired, I started back down the path. Feeling good after going downhill, I decided I had the time and energy to go visit Edinburgh Castle today. I quickly went up the Royal Mile, resisting the temptation to stop at any of the restaurants and shops, as I was hoping to have time for the castle before it closed.
Finally, I reached the castle. It was starting to get colder; the wind was picking up and it had become cloudy. There was a long line to get my ticket, but it seemed to be set up in a way that could accommodate even larger crowds. I’m glad I wasn’t there on a busier day.
My favorite part may have been seeing the Honours of Scotland- the Crown, Sceptre, and Sword of State, as well as some other very old and valuable items. I liked the way the exhibit was set up, building up suspense as you come nearer to these things, while also teaching about the history. It was very cool. I also really liked Mons Meg, a huge cannon. There were a lot of other things to see and learn at the castle too.
It was very chilly, but they had free samples at the whisky store and the gift store, which helped. After the castle, I wandered around some more and finally went into a Starbucks to get something hot, since the sun was getting low and it was getting very cold. I was near Edinburgh University, and it didn’t feel all that different from similar places back in Boston.
Then I walked around some more. According to my Fitbit, I walked about 34,000 steps, or 14 miles today. It’s amazing how much power your legs will have when there is so much to see. I was just trying to see everything! A nice part about the day was that I could see the Castle from Arthur’s Seat, and I could see Arthur’s Seat from the Castle.
For dinner I just went to Five Guys, looking for something familiar and easy. I’ll have to have some haggis sometime later this week. After dinner, as the sun was setting, I took the bus back to Merchiston where I’m staying. It was a really long day but I definitely think it makes up for my more low-key day yesterday. Tomorrow I’ll go back into the city but come back a little earlier for festival check-in, the opening concert, and the first late night session!