We're leaving Scotland tomorrow. It's kind of crazy. Third country, though I supposed literally speaking England is still the same. Great Britain always seems a little murky to me in that sense. Well, that and the weather.
Speaking of which, the weather has actually been generally nice here in Scotland. And by generally nice, I mean not pouring rain and windy every day. It's June and we're excited about mid-60s for temperature. It's quite the tropical vacation.
Yesterday was spent in Edinburgh on the Royal Mile. As usual we had great plans for everything we wanted to accomplish in the day and instead made it to a few stops along the mile.
We spent the first few hours of the day at Edinburgh Castle (with hundreds of our closest friends). The views from the castle and history of the different areas was especially interesting.
The Royal Jewels, with its cramped rooms and stuffy, hot climate, was a bit underwhelming. I think the exhibit could have been fascinating but instead you spend most of the time wondering how much farther away fresh air is.
We stopped at the Whiskey Experience for lunch (that didn't involve whiskey) and a few gifts (which did). Scotland is apparently the whiskey capital of the world. Or something like that.
Next we headed to The Real Mary King's Close, a dramatic tour of the neighborhoods of Edinburgh that have since been buried under other buildings. I enjoyed seeing a different side of the city, but the guide and entire performance were a little ridiculous. We did not walk away with a tour souvenir post card.
Following this, we actually walked the rest of the Royal Mile to Palace of Holyroodhouse. Across from Holyrood is the Scottish Parliment building, which is gorgeously modern. There are also a number of trails leading into the hills by the palace (that we didn't have time to explore).
We went on a guided audio tour of the palace. The palace is in use by the Queen during the summer, though she isn't there yet. We just missed our chance to see her. I'm sure she would have received us.
The rest of the day was spent sipping some cider in a local pub (or two) and eating some comfort food at Mum's. We had hoped to stay out for some live music, but ran out of steam and headed home for the evening.
Today entailed a trip up to Inverness, a 3.5 hour train ride to the north. We had hoped to try our hand at spotting the Loch Ness Monster, but our time and travel constraints made it somewhat impossible. The only view of the Loch we had was from a bus window.
The northern Highlands are gorgeous though. I wish we had more time to visit them and explore. It seems like a great area for outdoor adventures and I'll definitely be adding it to my list of places I'd love to see. As if that list isn't long enough already.
As I mentioned, we're off tomorrow, for York this time and have grand visions of walking the wall and taking high tea.
It's hard to believe that our time in Great Britain is essentially at its halfway point. Here's to 10 or so more days of fun adventures!
(Pictures for this post would include castles, palaces, ruins, green hills, more sunshine, and probably some delicious food. Good, now you haven't missed anything.)