The streets were no longer buzzing with partiers when we walked back to the aparthotel this morning. This time around, our only company was the crews cleaning debris from the festivities last night, and a handful of early risers getting their steps in before the streets got crowded again. Our mission was to bring breakfast for everyone at the aparthotel and fortunately we succeeded thanks to a conveniently located Tesco, only a block from the aparthotel.
After breakfast we resisted the temptation of becoming couch potatoes in front of the Olympics and instead, we ventured from the aparthotel to Holyrood Park. The main attraction at the park is King Arthur’s Seat, another item on our “to do” list for the trip. The Seat is an ancient volcano which sits 251m above sea level (the parks highest point) and provides a fantastic few in all directions. We were delighted to have the sun shining down on us while we made our way up the foot paths alongside other tourists and some locals out for their morning exercise. We concluded that it must be very popular for local runners, who are looking to add some variety to their training plans, as there aren’t many other options for hills nearby.
The walk up took roughly a half hour. At the top, we had great views but could immediately tell that the sun wouldn’t last long. The wind had suddenly come to life, bringing with it dark clouds. The clouds and the crowd both encouraged us off the top, and we wrapped around the back side of the peak on our way down.
We had fun identifying major landmarks from this vantage point; we were even able to spot the Craigmillar Castle which we walked to yesterday!
Towards the bottom we found the remnants of an old fort, and then had a little fun scrambling through some rocks as a shortcut.
The clouds delivered a very brief rain shower as we made it back down to the road. Only a minute or two later, the sun was back out, just in time for us to walk past an ice cream truck. With fresh, sunny skies, we once again failed to resist the temptation of dessert…
… and quickly followed up with some proper coffees at a cafe called Let Me Eat, near the aparthotel. Shortly afteward we pushed through the crowded streets of the Royal Mile to get to the start of our Mercat tour: History of the Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle. The Royal Mile portion of the tour was very interesting and fun but the Castle portion was a wee bit underwhelming. It could have been the fact that we had already been touring for over an hour already, or perhaps the fact that it was highly anticipated, or maybe it was just that the tour guide only gave a brief overview and then left us to explore on our own. We spent another hour inside to investigate the prison, chapel, crown jewels, the large cannon and the palace before getting hungry again. While still in the castle, we searched for a dinner spot, then made our way straight there.
Coincidentally, our last dinner in Scotland was at Bread Meats Bread, an American food restaurant. After filling up on hot dogs and hamburgers, we once again waded through the Fringe Festival party-goers to get back to the aparthotel. We followed routine and once again relaxed together for dessert, wine and tele until it was time to say our final goodbyes of the trip.
I was sad and jealous saying goodbye because we had a great time sharing this trip with MICK and we wish we could have stayed for the rest of their trip, too! They’re going to stick around Edinburgh for another day for more sightseeing, another hike up Arthur’s Seat, and then a ghost tour tomorrow night. Then they will get back in the car to visit friends in Manchester, and pass through Bath on their way back to London before flying home to Maine. Thanks so much for including us in this trip, we can’t wait to see you all again, and hopefully we can plan a trip together sometime again in the near future!