Before I write anything else, I have to take back everything negative I said about Virgin Trains and how they run late. Not only did they apologize several times during our trip from London to Glasgow, but today we received notice that our fare for the trip has been refunded because of the delayed arrival. If only airlines worked that way.
This morning we took another train (not Virgin) to Edinburgh. We arrived around 10:00 am, too early to check in to our room, so we checked our bags at the hotel and walked around town. By “around town” I really mean one street in Edinburgh’s Old Town known as the Royal Mile. We started at one end where we skipped the Palace of Holyroodhouse (home of Mary Queen of Scots) and opted to tour the Scottish Parliament Building instead. This relatively new building is strange but interesting. The architect included many symbolic features that I would not have understood if we didn’t have a guidebook. For instance, the many high windows in the debating chamber are designed to let in the “light of democracy.”
As we made our way up High Street towards Edinburgh Castle, we passed many shops and restaurants catering to the tourists. We stopped in a cafe for tea and a scone and then made our way to the castle in time for the One O’clock gun. Every day at 1:00 PM they shoot off a World War II cannon to mark the time. Apparently they do it at 1:00 (rather than noon) to save ammunition. (I wouldn’t want to hear 12 blasts of that gun.) The castle is huge and crowded with tourists, but a nice place to spend a few hours. The views of the city and the Firth of Forth (I love saying that) beyond are spectacular. My favorite part was the Scottish National War Memorial where they honor the Scottish soldiers lost in WW I and WW II.
After our tour of the castle, we were able to check in to our hotel and rest a bit before doing some shopping and having dinner at a pub. Our beverage was mulled wine with a shot of Amaretto, the perfect way to end the day.