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May, 2017

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Adult family

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We arrived in “Edinburgh”:http://edinburgh.org/ by train at Waverley Station. Our goal was to spend the day on The Royal Mile. It was the first time my one aunt had been to Edinburgh so it was all new to her. We turned left out of the station and walked up the hill to The Royal Mile then headed towards Holyrood Palace. On our way we went into the “Tron Kirk and Royal Mile Flea Market”:http://www.royalmilemarket.co.uk/. It has lovely stained glass windows. There was an interesting selection of various local arts, crafts and fashion for sale.

From there we continued down to “Holyrood Palace”:https://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/review/place/145935-review-edinburgh which I visited on a previous trip, and the Houses of Parliament. My uncle disappeared while we were taking in the views of Arthur’s Seat – some intrepid walkers were braving the breeze and walking up its steep incline. My uncle thought we were with him when he entered the parliament and had to exit security to come and find us. With us all in tow, we went through security to explore this architectural wonder. There are exhibits in the lobby about the Scottish Parliament’s history, how it works and the extent of its powers. We climbed the stairs and sat in the chamber for a while – they were not in session. The public galleries are quite large and comfortable – more so than the old wooden pew-like parliaments I have sat in in Canada where you feel like you are in the nose bleed section of an old tall theatre. If we wanted to wait half an hour we could sit there while they were in session – no photos allowed then though. I took advantage of the chamber being empty to take a photo of the interesting ceiling – it looks like the inside of an upturned boat. The architect is from Barcelona and the outside of the building looks like different buildings built in different centuries from the 17th century (i.e., Queensbury House incorporated into the design) to modern.

After an outside view of Holyrood Palace we headed back up The Royal Mile towards the castle. We stopped for a delicious lunch “No. 1”:https://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/review/restaurant/175859-review-no-1-high-street then browsed through the shops along both sides of the street. Many of the shops carry the same products – lovely well-made tweed items from clothes to purses. With so many to choose from it is surprising that they all stay in business. Being May and the end of term for the university, most of the shops and cafes had signs in their windows advertising for staff. My uncle and I wandered down one of the alleyways and were stopped in our tracks by the smell of chocolate. We followed the aroma to a fudge shop back on the Mile. It turned out to be a fruitful stop as they had some that were made with dark chocolate so were not as sweet as usual.

Down another alleyway we found a lovely garden: Dunbar’s Close Garden. It is a lovely retreat from the crowds of tourists, albeit not that many in May compared to late summer. The garden is separated into small plots fenced apart from each other. If you are looking for a secluded spot to read or have your picnic lunch, this is it. From the gardens you also get some lovely views of Calton Hill. Yet another alleyway, Advocate’s Close, gives you wonderful views of the Scott Monument on Prince’s Street.

Just after Dunbar’s Close Garden is the Cannongate Kirk, the church frequented by the royals when in town, and its sculpture of the poet Robert Fergusson walking by outside. He is in mid-stride and seems to blend in with all the other pedestrians walking through the cherry blossoms on the ground, despite his attire which is definitely from a different century.

As we wound our way up to the castle it was late afternoon so too late to enter. However we spent some time walking around the forecourt taking in the views of the castle and the panoramic view over Edinburgh. The variety of architecture over the centuries is interesting to see. We had some time before catching our train back to Berwick-upon-Tweed so headed for “Patisserie Valerie”:https://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/review/restaurant/175860 for coffee and cakes then spent some time wandering down Princes Street and taking in the views back up to the castle. We walked almost to the end of the gardens then tried to walk through the gardens back to Waverley Station. However, the gardens were closing so we had to go back up to Princes Street. Happily we were able to enter the gardens at the National Gallery and walked through the lower gardens back to Waverley Bridge.

We sat at a table together on the 8:02 train and reviewed our day out and our photographs. We discovered that we had walked 7.16 miles that day or 17,776 steps. A thoroughly enjoyable day

Denise Bridge

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