It was nice to wake up this morning and not have to pack all my things and rush downstairs for breakfast at 7:00 am. The bus was traveling to Edinburgh at 8:45 so I got to be a little more leisure about getting ready. This morning was a continuation of yesterday’s gloom. Breakfast at the Norton Hotel & Spa was delicious. They offer a colorful “vegetarian breakfast” and dining environment with a view of the lush green landscape and drama clouds.
The tour bus head out to Edinburgh where a local tour guide took over for Peter, the guide from CIE Tours. She drove around drizzling Edinburgh telling dark stories about the town and making stops at notorious places like Robert Louis Stevenson’s house, the Walter Scott monument and Greyfriar’s Bobby Memorial.
My impression of Edinburgh is that it’s a very moody city as a result of the Medieval architecture and dark-colored buildings (and today, the rain). The local tour guide explained that Sandstone is naturally white but it’s a porous stone so over the centuries the sandstone of the buildings absorbed the smog of the city which turned the buildings dark.
Edinburgh is divided into two parts— the old town and the new town. The new town emerged as a means of the wealthy separating themselves as an elite population, which caused the old town to decline into poverty. It started to rain during the tour which only added to the somewhat bleak history of Edinburgh.
The bus tour ended at Edinburgh Castle which like York Minster is a magnificent piece of architecture. The castle sits atop an extinct volcano (one of the many in Edinburgh) and it is a steep walk up a cobblestone hill. The ascending walk reveals different structures like gatehouses, towers and sculptures. Scotland’s crown jewels are stored in a vault in Edinburgh Castle but unfortunately photography is forbidden and punishable by prison which was enough for me to cap my camera and conceal it.
After leaving Edinburgh castle, I roamed the city streets. It’s a pretty happening city… far more metropolitan than I imagined. I asked a shopkeeper if she ever saw the sun and she said she recalled seeing it once last summer. She was totally serious. The rain got progressively worse and I took that as a cue to take the early shuttle back to the hotel where I intend to relax, order room service and try to catch up on sleep. Unfortunately, the spa is completely booked so a massage or facial is out of the question.
Tomorrow we leave Edinburgh for Liverpool.