8 months and 13 days is a long time to go without seeing my parents, so I was very happy to have them visit us for a few days in Edinburgh at the beginning of their European vacation. And of course, a little nervous! It was a first for both them and us – usually they’re the ones hosting and entertaining and feeding us. It all went pretty well overall, I think.
They arrived quite jetlagged, after flying on a “direct” charter to Glasgow (via Manchester, but if you don’t get off the plane, they can claim it’s a “direct” flight!) and enduring a 2 hour bus ride to Edinburgh. Nonetheless, they were up for an evening stroll so we wandered through the Meadows and then up to the Castle where we found a lot of people standing around waiting. For what? we asked, and we soon found out: the Edinburgh Postal Pipe Band was going to perform! What a perfect introduction to Scotland!
A very late sunset (creeping nearer and nearer to 10 pm these days!), men in kilts playing bagpipes and drums, a castle in the background – what more could you ask for? Good weather perhaps – the wind is still crazy here these days, and it drizzles sometimes too.
My itinerary for their Edinburgh sightseeing was suplemented by tips from one of my dad’s coworkers who used to live here. He suggested the Cramond Inn so we set off to find it the next day. This involved a long bus ride which was made bearable by us grabbing front row seats on the top of the doubledecker bus – great views of Edinburgh all around. Apparently the Cramond Inn is one of the oldest pubs around, but I haven’t been able to find confirmation of that anywhere else.
It’s a cute old building surrounded by a cute old village (which even has its own Roman fort), they have several microbrews on tap, and they serve haggis – perfect! You can even take your beer and food outside to benches perched over the water.
We worked off our full tummies with a stroll around the marina and the beach area, admiring the local fauna – swans galore, and the largest dog I have ever seen. His shoulders easily came up to my midriff, and the little girl thought he was a pony!
Unfortunately it was high tide so we could not make the one mile walk out to Cramond Island on the tidal causeway.
The next day, my mom spent a few hours exploring the Edinburgh Castle while my dad spent the equivalent length of time sampling whiskys at the tasting centre. We met up with them in the afternoon and challenged their endurance with a stroll up the Crags and to Arthur’s Seat. We had a hard time keeping up with my mom, who is clearly part mountain goat!
My dad’s amended itinerary also included Linlithgow Palace, but unfortunately we did not make it there. Instead we walked to Craigmillar Castle – a bit of a crazy endeavour really, as there are hardly any sidewalks along the route we took, and it is way farther than the map suggests! Next time we’ll take the bus. It was worth visiting, although I wonder whether the locals actually pay the entrance fee – the surrounding fence is easily hopped and there are no guards or staff inside. It’s quite barren, with no period decorations like the Edinburgh Castle, and the interpretation guide is brief and not too helpful. The views are quite nice – 360 degrees of the surrounding countryside including a bunch of sleepy cows, and due to the lack of a roof in most of the castle, also good views of its internal structure.
Whatever time we spent in the house was occupied with endless games of Settlers of Catan! Again my mom beat us all several times, although I won the one game of the Seafarers expansion that we played. A fun visit overall!