We took the night bus on Friday night and got in to Edinburgh in the morning, it wasn't too bad except for the screaming baby that on the hour would start wailing as if someone was sticking a hot poker into its diaper. I kid you not, I like babies.... but this one had another thing coming.
We checked into our hostel which was more like Amsterdam than Edinburgh, It was so cool. If you have been to a Mellow Mushroom then you know the crazy psychedelic paintings on the walls, this is exactly like that, and all the staff I am pretty sure is mandated to have dreadlocks a pair of Birkenstocks and a smile. It was called Caledonian Backpackers, so if you are headed to the Edinburgh area on a budget I could not recommend it more. Clean, fun, cheap, friendly and AMAZING location. http://caledonianbackpackers.com/
We headed up to the Royal Mile to go to Edinburgh Castle, which is nothing short of picturesque, and sits atop the entire city. Basically anywhere you look you see the
We walked around the grounds got our pictures and memories and then headed for something much warmer, not just the fact it was inside. Something that would make our chests and heads feel all warm and cozy, The Scotch Whiskey Experience. I can only explain this as a Disney for adults. When you go in you buy your ticket and then go to the next room where you chariot awaits. Yes chariot, a Giant barrel ride. It takes you through and teaches you all about how scotch is made and the history of it in a cheesy, great Epcot feeling type of way. Then you get off the ride and they take your group into a big room where everyone has a glass and a scratch and sniff with the four regions of Scotch. They take you through and teach you about each one and then you smell them to decide eventually which is your favorite.
Then comes the fun part. They fill up your glass and go to the tasting room. I was stoked, I mean I have had scotch in the past and hated it, but this time I had ridden in a giant barrel, learned about it, smelled which one I wanted and I was ready. So they take us into the tasting room with a 3,000 bottle dimly lit collection, a crystal chandelier and tell you how to smell it, hold it up to the light and then sip. HOLY GOD. I took a much bigger sip than I should have because I was excited. I almost threw up all over the beautiful room, I felt the dry heaves a comin. Woof. Being me and not wanting to miss out on it, or get "warm" I went to the corner of the room where no one could see me, threw it back and chased it with a bottle of water and piece of cadbury bar. Moral of the story, I love whiskey and bourbon, but not scotch. However besides the fact I was almost a sick spectacle, I had such a great and educational time.
We walked down the Royal mile the rest of the day and then went to a pub for dinner and went back to the hostel to crash and get ready for another day.
We started the next day by doing some cashmere shopping and random souvenirs. I got a pair of baby bagpipes for old times sake and figure maybe if I brush up on my skill I can stand on our stoop, play and get handouts for pub money. I doubt that will actually ever come into fruition but it was one of those things I couldn't not buy.
We ate a big lunch before attempting our next feat, the mountain at the bottom of the Royal Mile. Hollyrood Park. It was an incredible experience walking up the rocky path and seeing the breathtaking view. Cons of this: if you are at all clumsy like myself be very weary of your step as you may fall ass over tea kettle and do a 360 roll down the path. Just saying.... But aside from the spill danger it was amazing. Two of the members of our group decided to go all the way to the top of Arthurs Seat, the other three of us decided to pass and go to the pub and get a beer, because after all "we deserved it" for climbing/rolling down the mountain.
After the pub it was dinner time, we strolled around for a bit, went down to see the GreyFriar Bobby statue, which is super small but just so sweet. I am a huge animal lover so it meant alot to me. The statue is of a little dog whose owner died when the dog was 2, and for the next 14 years the dog would lay on his owners grave everyday. He became kind of a little local hero and when his collar license expired he was supposed to be put down but the mayor at the time had it renewed so he could go about his little doggy business. Just so sweet how much loyalty a dog has to his owner and how much they really do remember.
On the way home I took a Tylenol PM in case of any more crying babies that may be on board, but luckily there was none, and I was lulled away into a coma like state, and woke up in Jolly London town.