Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Edinburgh Day 2; Heading Home

DAY 11: Friday, July 17, 2009

As I mentioned in my last post, after our three super-intense sightseeing days in St. Andrews, Edinburgh and North Berwick, we opted for a more leisurely day on Friday as opposed to getting up early and taking the train to Stirling for more castle exploration. Instead, we slept in a little bit, then went out to breakfast at a little place called Gourmet Grub on Rose Street, a very cute street in New Town with lots of restaurants and pubs. Eric had a full Scottish breakfast (which included baked beans this time!), and I had scrambled eggs and bacon on biscuits, which was served with a side salad! A side salad for breakfast? Interesting.

Eric's breakfast: black pudding, potatoes, tomatoes, fried egg, bacon, sausage, mushrooms and baked beans

My breakfast: scrambled eggs and bacon on biscuits with a side salad

We then set out to do our casual exploring. We headed back to the Royal Mile to do some shopping, walking through another portion of the Princes Street Gardens on the way. Edinburgh is a very cool place - we enjoyed the scenery as we shopped, although the rain did its best to put a damper (get it?) on the day.

Very cool looking street

We even ran into William Wallace! We just see celebrities everywhere, I'll tell ya what.

After doing a little souvenir shopping, we visited the Scotch Whisky Experience ("whiskey" is spelled without the "e" if it's Scotch - something I learned from the Experience!). That was fun! It started with a little ride that talked about the whisky-making process. Then, they gathered a group of us into a room with a guide who discussed the various types of Scotch whisky from the four regions in Scotland, and how they differ. We were then able to choose which region we would like to sample whisky from. They poured us our glasses then took us into the collection room, which was wall-to-wall whisky bottles! It was really cool. There, our guide talked to us about how to taste the whisky (swirl it, "nose" it, etc.), then we were let loose to sip our whisky and check out all the different bottles in the collection room. It was really fun! And that whisky was STRONG. I couldn't finish mine!

The Scotch Whisky Experience

Ready for the ride portion of the tour

Look at all those whisky bottles!

Sipping our whisky in the collection room

After the Whisky Experience, we stopped for a few more souvenirs then grabbed lunch at a burger place called Wannaburger. This place had MUCH better milkshakes! Then, we went back to our hotel for a bit. Eric spent some time at the fitness center in the sauna, steam room and pool, while I took a nap.

We just sort of killed time until dinner, which was very late! We had dinner that night at The Witchery, right by the castle. We knew we needed reservations, so we tried to make a reservation when we woke up Friday for between 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. However, the earliest we could get a reservation was 10:00 p.m.! Can you believe that?! But, we had really wanted to eat at this place, so we did it.

The Witchery By The Castle

The Witchery exterior

We actually ate in the Secret Garden, a very romantic portion of the restaurant on a sort of walled-in patio. The atmosphere in there was fabulous. It was lit almost entirely by candlelight, and the walls were covered with beautiful tapestries. There were gorgeous roses and statues scattered about, and the service was exceptional. It was quite the place!

Thanks to the romantic candlelight, you will be spared pictures of our food, but not the description! We of course started with a bottle of wine. For appetizers, Eric had the haggis, neeps and tatties, and I had the most incredible scallops with red mullet tempura and passion fruit beurre blanc. For the main course, Eric had the fillet of Scotch beef with green beans and dauphine potatoes. I had organic salmon wrapped in potato with roast chicory, parsley and lemon oil. For dessert, we split a honey heather parfait with fresh strawberries. YUM. It was a delicious dinner!

Eric at our candlelight dinner (you can't make it out, but he is wearing a Baird tartan tie he bought as a souvenir! He looks so handsome in it.)

Outside the restaurant after dinner

As dinner wore on we became nervous about our walk home, as we watched the rain pour down outside the restaurant windows. But, it wasn't as bad as it looked. We still were walking home in the rain, but it was tolerable. I would say we enjoyed our walk as we reflected on our wonderful vacation.

When we returned to the hotel, we started packing up then went to bed as soon as we could - when dinner starts at 10:00, you tend to get to bed pretty late!

DAY 12: Saturday, July 18, 2009

We got up and checked out of the hotel around 8:00 a.m., then walked a couple blocks to pick up the bus to the airport. We had no trouble getting checked in and to our gate with plenty of time to spend our last British pounds on snacks for the flight. Our flight departed around 10:55 a.m., and by 1:30 p.m. New York time we were back in the States. Just like that, our wonderful trip had come to an end!

Sad to leave!

The usual reminder still applies: there are TONS of Edinburgh pictures (from both days) on MyLifeAsALawyersWife.Shutterfly.com. I have not had time to caption them yet, and won't get a chance to do so until next week when Megan leaves, but they're up there if you want to check them out and guess what things are!

Thank you so much for bearing with me as I relived our trip. I cannot even describe what an incredible experience it was. Everything was just even better than I expected - from sightseeing in Budapest, to the most fun wedding ever, to gorgeous St. Andrews, to busy Edinburgh, to scenic North Berwick. Every single thing far exceeded my expectations. We are so lucky to have had this experience.

And now we've been hit with the travel bug! The only question is: where to go next? Time will tell!

1 comment:

Molly said...

I made it through and I enjoyed every post! What a wonderful vacation. Looking forward to seeing the updates of your time with Megan!