Scotland and Ireland - Part 1

Day One:

We landed in Edinburgh at 6:30 am their time. Eager to get to our hotel to give us time to collect ourselves, we grabbed a cab and headed first thing. Unfortunately, due to the early hour, we weren't able to get into our room. However, the lovely manager allowed us to drop off our bags. She said that since we had a lot of time to check out the Royal Mile.

We were way too excited to sleep anyways, so I immediately knew there were two places I wanted to check out: Edinburg Castle and Palace of Holyroodhouse. If you've read any type of Scottish Historical Drama - I'm sure you've heard of these places (any Outlander fans out there?)

Because we had so much time, we chose to walk through Edinburg to reach out destination. And I am so freaking glad we did! This city is such a beautiful place. At every turn you're reminded at how much history has happened here. If stone buildings could talk I can only imagine what stories they could tell us.

And the people! Any time we stopped to ask for help or directions, everyone was helpful. Not once during our stay here did I ever feel uneasy about walking the streets. And for someone that has walked through our downtown in our local city, that feeling really stuck with me.

We were in awe when we turned down a street corner and the view of Edinburg Castle came into view. The castle actually sits on a volcanic structure. The name of this geological structure? Castle Rock! (I know you Game of Thrones fans just perked up!)

The steps to the left here are called 'Granny's Green Steps'. At the top of these stairs, you could access the Royal Mile. This street is roughly a mile long and connects Edinburg Castle and Palace of Holyroodhouse.

As soon as you climbed the stairs you were faced with a tartan shop (more on that later). To the north was Edinburg Castle, and if you turned south you could head to Holyrood.

Below: A picture outside of St. Margaret's Chapel

Below is the line up to view the Scottish Crown Jewels.

Unfortunately we weren't able to photograph the crown jewel's. In addition to the crown, sceptre and Sword of State, there was also the 'Stone of Destiny' or Stone of Scone. Traditionally, Scottish Monarchs were crowned on this piece of sandstone.

Above: the Scottish National War Museum (opened in 1927)

Below: the Great Hall. Completed in 1511

After finishing with Edinburg Castle we made our way out the front gates, and onto 'the Royal Mile'.

And then we came to it... Holyrood!

I had taken a video to show the entire palace. Unfortunately I was unable to upload it. If you can, google Palace of Holyroodhouse to see the outside of this place! This is where the Royal Family stays when they come to Edinburg. We weren't allowed to take any photos inside of the palace, but it was absolutely stunning.

Some historical points that I found fascinating were that the 'Bonny Prince Charlie' stayed here during the Jacobite rising in 1745. And if you know of Mary Queen of Scot's, they still have it set up as to what her bedchambers would have been set up like during the time she lived there from 1561-1567. Where her private secretary was murdered, there still appears to be blood stains on the floor.

An excellent website to check out to view the inside of the castle is below. If you are interested in history, I would seriously check it out.

Above: the Abbey which was founded in 1128 sits against the palace.

Below: the inner courtyard. If you notice, the Roman looking columns that decorate the outside of the palace have three different designs. More simplistic on the bottom, and more intricate at the the top.

Strolling the gardens. The hill shown int these photos is actually an extinct volcano which is now called the 'Arthur's Seat'.

After this we decided to walk back to our hotel. On this route, we walked past a park that gave us another grand view of Edinburg Castle.

We ended up putting on well over 20,000 steps by the time we got back to our hotel. By this time we were able to get into our room, and had 20 minutes to lay down before our trip meeting. After this meeting, we were taken for a quick bus tour of Edinburg before going for supper and trying haggis for the first time! It was actually super tasty!

After our supper, we had a gentleman come in and entertain us with his bag pipe skills and jokes! (Cody was right up front, which meant he was often the topic of joke lol)

Day Two:

Because we had checked out the castle the day before, we ended up having most of the day to ourselves. We were scheduled for a Scotch Tasting later that afternoon, but we weren't about to sit still!

Above: the view from our hotel room

Below: After a quick trip to the Harley dealership, we checked out the National Museum of Scotland. We only took a few photos, but I would suggest checking our their website to see more!

Above: Old longships that I believe are of Norse origin.

Below: A view from outside the museum. (It's a beautiful building, if you have a moment, definitely Google it!)

Above: 'the elephant house' AKA .... THE BIRTHPLACE OF HARRY POTTER!!!

We had intended on having lunch here, but it was super crowded. So we ended up going to the place below. And old gothic church that had been converted into a restaurant and pub. The theme? Frankenstein!

After lunch, we went to the Tartan Shop on the Royal Mile. There, Cody was able to find his clan tartan. According to what we found, the Dawson's ran under Clan Davidson. It seems suiting that their sigil is a stag.

Their moto is: "Sapienter si sincere" which translates to "Wisely if sincerely".

For some more information on Clan Davidson, you can take a peak here:

A funny story behind Cody's purchase. After he had gotten the kilt on, he was looking through the store at some of the belts and sporrans when another customer came up and started asking him for assistance! He had to explain that he didn't work there, while one of the gents that was helping him yelled across the store, 'You have to buy it now!'

Above: a statue of Greyfriars Bobby. Never was there a more loyal dog. This pupper followed his master around on night watch. After his owner passed away, he stood vigil at the man's graveside for fourteen years. If you're looking for a heartfelt story, you can get all the details here:

The two photos above show the location to our Scotch Whisky tasting.

And once we got back to our hotel room.... Cody put the pieces of his kilt together and snapped a quick selfie before it went back in the backpack.

So ends our time in Edinburg. Stay tuned, up next we are north bound and down to St. Andrews!

Chat soon,

Ashleigh xoxo

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