As predicted, when we arrived in Edinburgh it was pretty cold. After carefully planning and packing I managed to fit clothes for Aubrey and myself, for the entire 3.5 week trip (we had another leg of the trip with Will’s family once my family left) into a carryon sized suitcase (and I brought a second bag with food and diapers – planning for it to empty out as the trip progressed). For the most part the clothes I packed worked out great. Especially since we had washers at every apartment. However, once we arrived in Scotland and realized just how chilly it was, I quickly realized my plan to wear a cardigan sweater over T-shirts or wear my light jacket if needed, just wasn’t going to be enough.
And I wasn’t the only one not prepared. So we all spent the first little bit of our time in Scotland shopping for a few items to help us handle the weather a little more comfortably.
We also found the nearest pub. When in Scotland right?
Then we walked down Princes Street and eventually took a right onto the North Bridge headed to the Royal Mile.
I found the architecture to be pretty breathtaking. It’s so different looking. Lots of sharp points, vertical lines, and a total gothic feel. I loved it!
We later found the one issue we ended up having with Scotland, well more specifically Edinburgh. As it turns out, the licensing for restaurants and pubs in Edinburgh is particularly strict and a bit crazy. For the vast majority of pubs (and a lot of restaurants) kids simply are not allowed, and if they are allowed there is a 5 year old and up only condition, and often that is only until 7 or 8 pm, after which no children are allowed period.
As you can imagine this posted a big problem for us. I feel pretty sorry for parents there, it severely restricts where you can go, and was pretty disappointing for Will and I because we never really got to have a true Scottish pub experience. Aubrey was also not allowed on some of the attraction tours. So all in all we would not consider Edinburgh to be a family friendly place at all. But I guess we’ll just have to make a baby-less trip back 🙂
We did squeeze in a quick tour through Mary King’s Close. For those unfamiliar (as I was), a “close” is a narrow street/alleyway, Mary King’s close is an old, partially decapitated close/area buried beneath the old town part of Edinburgh. Visitors can take the guided tour through the preserved historical site to get a glimpse of life on the close. We found it pretty fascinating, but the only camera I had with me was my phone, and it was dark, so the pictures didn’t turn out.
It was about this time our bad vacation luck struck again.
We’re not sure if it was the multiple helpings of beef tartar, too much wine, too much everything, or just a weird bug somewhere, but Hannah and Jill became really sick.
So it kind of worked out that we couldn’t really go anywhere in the evenings. Instead we had some early dinners, and got takeout at the apartment so everyone could be comfortable. We were also pretty tired by now so everyone welcomed the added rest. And our apartment was amazing.
Will arrived a day and a half before everyone had to leave. It was the first time my family had seen him in a year! With the full crew present we waited until the invalids finally felt good enough to venture out, then walked up to the Edinburgh Castle.
There was a guided tour included in the (somewhat pricey) admission fee so we tagged along for a bit.
Eventually we got tired of straining to hear and ventured off on our own path.
The sicklies were starting to feel like they were reaching the end of their site seeing limit for the day, so a few of us made a quick run up this tower to see the crown jewels and the stone of destiny (a.k.a. the coronation stone placed under incoming monarchs).
Inside the grand hall.
We had one more dose of fish and chips and a round of beers, then went back to the apartment so everyone could get packed up and ready. They had a very early flight the next morning.
We got takeout and tried to squeeze as much talking and hanging out into the remaining time we had together as possible. And then, what had seemed like a really long trip all of a sudden felt like it had come to an end much too quickly. Will, Aubrey and I watched out the window as they climbed into a cab and zoomed off to the airport.
Just a couple of hours later the Jamisons would be arriving and it would be on to round 2 of our European adventure!