Day 12 (Edinburgh, Scotland)
We had time for a more leisurly breakfast today, and enjoyed the nice cooked breakfast our hosts prepared. We had met another couple, from Australia, staying at the B&B at breakfast yesterday, and they were there when we arrived again today. We compared notes of our activities of the previous day, and gave each other recommendations for future sightseeing.
After breakfast we took the bus to the downtown area (parking in Edinburgh is difficult, you must pay by the hour, and the parking wardens are told to be very strict in enforcing the expirations) from just outside the Bed and Breakfast, and hopped off near the Royal Mile. The Royal Mile is a mile of shops down the hill from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Castle.
We shopped our way up the hill to Edinburgh Castle, then joined the queue waiting to purchase tickets to enter the castle. We purchased the audio tour, so we had recorded messages for many of the points of interest in the castle. It is a stupendous castle, built at various time over Scottish history. It appears the oldest structure on the hill was a fortress in about 600 A.D. Later the castle was built, and different sections were built, destroyed, rebuilt, etc. It was a very interesting tour, ending with the Scottish "Honors" - the Scottish crown jewels.
Next we hiked down the hill, stopping into various shops, looking for Christmas gifts and other items, all the way to the bottom of the hill, a mile away, where Holyrood Castle is situated. Holyrood Castle is the castle to which Mary Queen of Scots fled after her abdication.
As we've found in places like Edinburgh, what goes down must go up, so back up the hill we hiked, this time in the rain. We made it back to our starting point, and ate dinner at a pub called Deacon Brodie's. Deacon Brodie was the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson's "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde." Then it was back on the bus, for the short ride back to our B&B.