Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Day Two in Edinburgh Scotland, part one

The Bed and Breakfast, Joppa Turrets,  that we stayed at was wonderful.  The bed was comfortable and we slept with the window open to listen to the waves, birds, and rain all night long.  Breakfast was served at 8 am and we made sure to be showered and ready.  We were eating and then taking the bus into town to start our adventure of Edinburgh!

We  had a few choices for breakfast and I selected the traditional Scottish breakfast.  While it was being made, I enjoyed fresh fruit of sliced grapefruit, figs, and juice.  They had yogurt, table fruit, and cereals as well.  We needed plenty of energy for all the walking we knew we would do, so I really enjoyed the fresh fruit.  Coffee was by French press.  If you have not had coffee this way you are missing out! 
 I loved my traditional Scottish breakfast of ham, bacon, tomato, mushrooms, egg, haggis is the brown round patty, and black pudding.  I have to say that I really really enjoyed the haggis.  It tasted a lot like a German dish I use to have a few years back.  The only thing I could not eat was the Black pudding (blood sausage).  :-)


The owners of Jappa Turrets were great, because this American girl did so great at eating her Haggis, I got a certificate!  Once we finished are breakfast, juice, and coffee we head out to Edinburgh.  The parking is a bit of a headache and did not want to waste our money on the meter parking so we decide to take the bus to town and walk.

Unfortunately as soon as we got into the city we had to do a little shopping.  I knew the temperatures were cooler, highs of 60, but with the rain a cool mist went throughout the city in the morning.  We picked me up a new coat, that you will be seeing throughout the entire trip, lol. 
Here I am in front of the Olympic rings!  Go USA!  Come on Woman's Gymnastic, behind you all the way!

 This is part of the Royal Mile, what a misty foggy morning. 
During the week, Queen Elizabeth was there.  Today she is Knighting her grandson into the "Knight of the Thistle".  Those that have invitations to the events were making their way into St. Giles Cathedral.  I loved the different hats, and wish I had gotten more pictures of them.  I wanted to get a few pictures of the men in their more formal kilts. 
Before going up to the castle we found a knight shop.  So many cool items and they let us try on the helmets. 


The entrance before heading  into the front court of Edinburgh. 

The guard on the left is there just so tourist can have their picture and not bother the guards that really are on duty.  The guard on the right did a great job of not letting me distract him.

Edinburgh Castle

These were very steep steps leading up to Castle Edinburgh.  Edinburgh Castle dominates its city like no other castle in Europe.  For 3,000 years people have found safety in this rock castle.  In the beginning it was called "din Eidyn", meaning the stronghold of Eidyn.  It was around AD 638 that the Angles invaded and called it Edinburgh.

This castle endured siege after siege during its long wars with England.  While there was a lot of history told, most had a very English feel to it.  By the time of King James VI, the castle been little more than a garrison fortress.  Since 1745 the Castle has been a national icon, but the garrison of soldiers remain.

One thing I loved, and is in a lot of my pictures, is the moss and plants that gross so beautifully over walls, rocks, and pretty much everything
This was a small room in the castle that held a full detailed mold of the castle, it was huge!


St. Margaret's Chapel

St. Margaret's Chapel is the oldest building in the castle.  Built around 1130 as a private chapel for a royal family, dedicated to his mother Margaret.  Margaret died in the castle in 1093, who was devastated over the violent death of her husband, Malcolm III.  These are a few of the gorgeous stain glass windows that include St Margaret, St. Andrew, St Ninian, St Columba, and William Wallace. 

Back side of The Scottish National War Memorial
Royal Guard in front of TSNWM.

These were the only pictures allow since the inside was No Photos Allowed.  The inside was breath taking, they did a wonderful job with honoring the memory of fallen soldiers.  There was stain glass windows and statues that are difficult to describe beside breath taking.  They even had an area much like in Washington that is dedicated to the unknown soldiers. 


The Great Hall of Edinburgh Castle was completed in 1511, and was meant to serve as the place for ceremonies in the castle.  Unfortunately it was not used for that often since King James the IV was killed in the Battle of Flodden just two years later.  It was used for barracks for the next 230 years by Cromwell when he took the castle over in 1650.

After the Castle was taken back, work began to restore the Great Hall in 1886.
Architect Hippolyte Blanc, helped in restoring everything you see, except the hammer-beam roof. 

The medical roof is one of the most important in Britain!  The stone corbels supporting the main trusses are carved with Renaissance sculptures which happen to be the oldest in Britain.  
I spent quite some time just looking at the detail in the wood work of this piece.  It amazes me the time it would have taken to make these. 

 Mons Meg, is the Big Gun, so to speak. Mons Meg was presented to James II in 1457 as a gift from his niece's husband, Duke Philip of Burgundy.  The six tonne siege gun was named after the town it was built in Belgium, built in 1449.  This massive gun weighs 330 lbs and took a hundred men to move it during its battles.  The gun was used mostly during the wars with England first at siege of Roxburgh Castle 1460.  It was during this siege that James II lost his life.  James the IV then used Mons in the siege of Norham Castle  in Nurthumberland.  Mons ended her fighting days with James V's Navy and was taken out of military use around 1550.
She was then used as a saluting gun, especially at the wedding of Mary Queen of Scots.  She was last fired in 1558 to celebrate the birthday of the Duke of Albany (later known as James VII).  It was then that her barrel burst and was dumped down near the Cartshed.  There she sat until 1754 when they moved her for the Disarming Act.  She was saved from being melted down because of her size and 70 years later she returned to the castle.  A full military escort accompanied this beautiful gun in 1829, back to where she sits today, as one of the most remarkable of all medieval guns and Scotland's military past.

Governors House on left.

 The 1 o'clock gun is fired every day except Sundays, Good Friday, and Christmas Day.  The entire town sets its time to this gun.  The only time it went interrupted from its normal schedule was during the two World Wars. 

We saw the Palace and actual Honors of Scotland.  These were areas were no photos allowed again.  I will show you pictures from the tour guide book.

From here we headed to the city to do Mary Kings Close, St. Giles Cathedral, Museum, and ghost tour.  There is too much for one post so I had to break it into two, which you can check out part two tomorrow. 


  1. Wow, that castle is amazing! Love the photos with the guards. I don't think I could eat Haggis or black pudding. lol

  2. Love love love all the photos!! Looks amazing :)

  3. What an awesome trip! Thanks for sharing the great pictures. I love that you got a certificate for eating the haggis. lol

  4. You deserve an award for eating haggis, LOL! What an amazing trip and the sites look incredible. What's it like watching the Olympics in one of the kingdoms!

  5. Absolutely beautiful!! I have a french press I should pull out. I think I want to go to Scotland now!

  6. Oh, you look like you're having SO much fun! Can't wait to visit Scotland.... someday....

  7. I love, LOVE the foggy photos! How gorgeous!

  8. Love all the photos! Your trip looks amazing.

  9. I love black pudding. I wish it was easier to find in the states! Looks like a fabulous trip!

  10. St Margaret's Chapel looked gorgeous! I am envious of your vacation. :)

    Ew. I wouldn't have eaten black pudding either, bleh...what exactly is Haggis? Or did I miss that?