For the past number of months, Dina & I have been backwarding & forwarding between London & Belfast… but November is different. This month we decided we’d spend our time together in other places. The first city we chose was Edinburgh… somewhere that Dina has never been.
This all came about because of a few work trips I took the city back last winter. I was staying at the Apex International hotel in the Grassmarket area of the city. The hotel has it’s restaurant on it’s top floor… and it has panoramic windows… which basically means that when you arrive for breakfast, the first thing (and practically the only thing) you see from the window is Edinburgh Castle. In a moment of weakness, caused by the view, I said I should take Dina to see Edinburgh.
So off we went.
Dina arrived earlier than I did & spent her day on tour buses getting to see the sights & also getting to know the lay of the land… and when I eventually caught up with her on the Friday evening, she clearly quite liked the place.
On the Saturday we headed to the Grassmarket area, which has some of Edinburgh’s oldest properties, in the shadow of the Castle. It was here where Edinburgh used to have it’s public executions, with one pub honouring the fact of it’s last hanging with the name “the last drop”…
We then headed for the ‘Royal Mile’ – which I irritatingly kept getting confused with the ‘Golden Mile’ of Manchester… frankly, beyond a bit of rain, the similarity ends there. After a quiet stroll up to the Castle and around a number of tourist shops, we headed for the Edinburgh Dungeon. I quite enjoyed the tour, though having done the York Dungeon found that most of the exhibits were extremely similar, with an occasional changing of name or accent being the full extent of the difference. Dina wasn’t quite so impressed… the highlight had to be the large party of teenage girls, who simply found it all a bit much!! Screams, running scared & general fear were the order of the day & they exuded it in buckets. Oh how we laughed at their horror.
Next up was a tour of the real ‘Mary King’s Close’. For those of you who don’t know (and I counted myself in this bracket until recently), a lot of Old Edinburgh has literally been built over the top of. The best example is perhaps Mary King’s Close. Back in the day, when the Merchants wanted a new trading market they simply knocked down some of the streets, used their foundations & built upwards. What they did though was to leave some of the streets… below ground!! To say it was a bit strange & eerie was an understatement, but it was excellent. The scale & real life dimensions of it all frankly make the enormity of the place all the more understandable. A real must do if you ever visit Edinburgh!!
All in all, we had a great wee break in Edinburgh & it was nice to show Dina a different part of the UK.