Sorry for any spelling mistakes - still getting used to typing on my iPad mini!
18.12.2012 - 19.12.2012 4 °C
It is currently 3:45 am over here and for the second night in a row I have been wide awake since midnight :/ Jet lag is a killer....
But onto the good stuff! Since my last blog we have obviously landed in Edinburgh and had two days of exploring and wandering and just taking in the sights and sounds of this amazingly beautiful city. Most of the other places we are going to on this trip I have already seen so I have been most excited about Edinburgh since we started planning and it certainly hasn't disappointed! After we had checked into our hotel yesterday morning (very lucky as it was only 10am) we set out to walk down Princes St and check out the Christmas markets which had been mentioned to us by our hotel staff. The first thing we realised was that despite it being the middle of the day, it already felt like dusk and that along with the ridiculously long plane flights made us feel ready for bed! But we made ourselves stay out and managed to find the Christ,as markets which were very cute and full of baubles and nutcrackers and sweets and nuts and what I had been looking forward to most - fire punch! Renae didn't particularly like hers but mine was gone fairly quickly and I felt a lot warmer on the walk home We also stopped and got a Kransky (spicy hot dog) for lunch, which Dad would have been very jealous of We spent the afternoon popping into shops and taking pictures of all the old buildings we walked past (pretty much all of them, haha) and managed to find a shop called Anthropology that Bec had suggested and spent a long time in there complaining that we couldn't "buy ALL the things" because they wouldn't fit in our luggage When we made it back to our hotel (Which by the way looks out onto what seems to be a castle but is apparently a boarding school) we collapsed into bed despite it being about 5pm and managed to get some sleep... Until midnight for me, but Renae managed better than I did.
This morning we got up fairly early and headed out to tour the castle. On the way we stopped into a really cute little cafe for breakfast which had been done up with lots of Christmas decorations and where we were served by a girl who was living here for 6 months on an extended holiday from Sydney. She helped us sort out the deal with tipping over here - which again is stupid - and then we headed out to climb up to the castle. There are no words to describe just how beautiful and also kind of spooky this castle looks, sitting up on the extinct volcano and looking down over town. Once there, we spent a while taking pics and waiting for the next tour to begin. Our tour guide was a lady named Lesley who seems to have an awesome job! She told us lots of history of the castle and was so enthusiastic about it all that we were hanging on her every word right from the start. After she walked us through the castle grounds we explored the buildings by ourselves and got to see things like the Crown Jewels and the stone and the prisons and David's Chapel (built in the 11th Century) and the list goes on. I am trying very hard at this point not to turn this blog into a mini history lesson and tell you everything we learnt about kings and queens and revolutions... So ask me when I get home if you are interested - but only if you have a spare hour to listen to the answer!!
After leaving the castle we walked along the 'Royal Mile' which is home to some of the oldest buildings in Edinburgh but nowadays is basically just full of lots of cafes and gift shops. We stopped in one of these cafes for a coffee and muffin before ending up down at The Palace Of Hollyrood. This is where royalty stay on their trips to Edinburgh and while it is a beautiful building, it unfortunately looks out onto the new Parliament Building which is a horrific blight on the landscape as it has been built in a very modern style and is not only ugly in itself but even more offensive when compared to all the beautiful buildings surrounding it! Mum, you would have been as appalled as i was. Ok, rant over... after this we walked up past the Royal Gardens and back towards the shops, where wi bought a few things despite being adamant when I left that this would not be a clothes shopping holiday :/ We had another Kransky for sinner from the markets because they were just so good, and a policeman laughed at us walking along trying to eat them with our freezing cold hands and arms full of bags. I also got some chilli stuffed olives from another market stall but the guy gave me a massive amount of them for some reason so I'm very sorry Dad but they will be wasted You would have loved them! At this stage it was probably 5:30pm in the afternoon but was pitch black and getting really cold so we stopped in at a grocery store to find some Irn Bru for our night time great and then filtered through the ridiculously large amount of infomercial channels before we found some Big Bang Theory episodes to keep us awake for a while longer in the hope that we would then sleep through the night. This plan worked for Renae who is sound asleep next to me but not so much for me! Gav, as you would say, "She really can sleep through anything".
So after doing some calculations I have just worked out that we walked over 9kms today. Hopefully keeping this up will allow us to eat as many pastries as we can fit in our mouths when we get to Paris As for now, concentrating on this has made my eyes a little tired so I am going to attempt some sleep before daybreak! Hope you are all having a lovely day and not missing us too much! We miss you all, particularly when we get back to our hotel rooms at night, but we're also having the time of our lives exploring over here.
Until next time