Scotland: Day 10 + 11

Scotland: Day 10

Still sick but determined to do all we had planned today. We set out to tour Edinburgh’s castle. Everyone we met has told us we have to see the castle. That it is something special. Maybe it was the number of castles we’d been to before, or the audio tour (definitely the audio tour), but Edinburgh Castle just didn’t light a spark for us. It’s definitely cool – built into rock formed by volcano, but the audio tour is 90% focused on military activity and war. In fact, the castle is filled with little museums within, and these are almost exclusively related to war and military. Some history is good, but hours and hours worth? We weren’t having it.

Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle

There were two sections that we both thought were cool. The prison, which had been housing prisoners since 1100 AD (and maybe before), including some Americans from the Revolutionary War. There is a carving on one of the prison doors from the 1700s that depicts our stars and stripes flag.

The other section is Mary Queen of Scots’ chambers, which also house the Scottish crone jewels and stone of destiny (which we heard about way back during our visit to Scone Palace).

Needless to say, we didn’t dawdle too much. And so we headed off to Loudon café for lunch. Loudon is known for it’s gluten free fare – and so I had an eggs benedict with avocado and bacon on a gluten free English muffins and a piece of gluten free Victoria sponge cake. James had a lamb burger and cheesecake (but his were gluten filled).

We were supposed to go on a Harry Potter walking tour at 3 pm, and so with two hours to kill, we walked around the city, popping into shops and making a journey to Harvey Nichols so I could pick up prosecco glitter (it’s a real thing! And it only exists in the UK!).

We headed to the Benny the dog statue at around 3 pm to meet up for the tour. There must have been 100 people there. The tour guide showed up a little late and we soon realized that about 60 – 70 of the people were on this tour – with one guide. I love Harry Potter. But I don’t love crowds, and I don’t love having to fight to hear, especially when I’m under the weather. So we made the decision to head back to the apartment – and this was definitely needed. We packed, finished laundry and I even took another nap.

Since this was our third anniversary, I had made reservations at The Kitchin, a Michelin star Scottish restaurant. They were absolutely amazing with accommodating my diet, and we opted for the surprise tasting menu.

Tasting menu
Tasting menu

Part of this menu included grouse. I made fun of James for his reaction to grouse three years ago when he ordered it during our honeymoon. He hated it. He was so sad. I didn’t know I was being served grouse and suddenly this little bird looking meal was put in front of me and I knew it had to be… grouse is bitter, smelly and disgusting. I don’t recommend it to anyone. Otherwise, the rest of the meal was fabulous!

James and his grouse.
James and his grouse.

This took almost three hours, and we even cut it short since I was really starting to lag at the end.

Scotland > London: Day 11

This was mostly a travel day. Note to self – next time you take a short flight in Europe, do it in the morning or at night so you don’t lose a whole day.

Our flight was at 1:45 pm, so we left our AirBnb early and headed to Glencraig, which is the town that James’ great grandparents lived in. Today, the town is known as a failed mining town and one of the street signs in Glencraig literally says: the town that died. Not morbid at all!

We drove along to Loch Gerry and Meadows park, which now boasts a significant number of offroad bike trails. That’s literally what is left. We walked around the trails a bit, then headed to the airport.

James and his muses.
James and his muses.

Our flight was uneventful. British Airways wants you to pay seven pounds (seven!!) if you want to switch your seat. Stuck in a window, and James in the middle, I went up to the check in counter and told the woman I had a knee injury and couldn’t sit where I was placed. She moved us for free.

We figured we would take the Tube to the next AirBnb we were staying at since this is cheaper, and generally takes the same amount of time as driving. What a mistake! There were signal line problems, and by the time we were on our way, after picking up our bags and getting out of the airport, it was rush hour. It took a hour and a half. The entire time I was standing, crammed in with tons of people. So much for an easy rest day. I was pretty wrecked by the time I got to the apartment, but we still had to get groceries and dinner. We opted to walk over to Whole Foods in Picadilly Circus since it’s a short walk, and we knew what to expect from there. (It also meant I could pick up the savory biscuits I love that I can only find in the UK).

We got back to the flat around 8 pm. I crawled into bed and not even the sounds of neighbors talking and dogs barking could keep me awake.

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