Luke's Football Tour travel blog

The Castle high on the hill ... and the hill we had...

The Elephant House as we drove through Edinburgh, looking for a park

And Luke outside after his two breakfasts

The flag flying high at the Castle

Saving those inside

Mardi found herself a man

In here is housed the Scottish Crown Jewels

A replica of the Crown

Up early this morning and ready to leave the quaintness of Moffat behind and head for the big smoke of Edinburgh on what is nearly the final leg of our UK trip. We didn't need to hang around as the shops didn't open until 10am and we'd already wandered up and down the main street twice this trip (en route to Bolton and yesterday afternoon). That, and I know nothing else will fit in our car!!

We thought we'd pick up breakfast at one of the Service Centres on the motorway, but the Nav Lady had other ideas. She decided to take us the back roads ... and we are very, very happy she did.

The initial part of the trip was driven in complete fog ... very lovely too, but very little to see. Then when the fog lifted we found ourselves driving through some of the most spectacular scenery imaginable. Much to Luke's dismay, we stopped a number of times, for photo opportunities. And still we made it into Edinburgh by approximately 9.45am.

First stop ... the Castle. We parked down the bottom of the hill, out the back of the castle itself. It is a magnificent building that sits high on the peak of a hill, overlooking the entire city. We wandered the 1/4 mile up the hill to the bottom of the stairs, then took the four or so flights of stairs to get to the top. By this time, Luke was starving so we had to find an eating place. We stopped at the Whiskey Bar Cafe ... which sold coffee (luckily for Janine) and ... cake. No breakfast here. We downed the coffees and then it was time for me to wander back to the car to renew the parking metre. Mardi, Luke and Janine wandered down the Scottish Mile to find somewhere to eat. And where did they end up? At The Elephant House, where JK Rowling penned the infamous Harry Potter series. They were extremely impressed, so much so that Luke had to have two breakfasts to mark the honour.

We all met up again at the entrance to the Castle and then spent the next two hours wandering around inside. It truly is a most magnificent set of buildings. We split up and Mardi and I visited the Scottish Crown Jewels, the prisons, the regimental museum, and the Whiskey House - as they had tastings of whiskey on today. And so good was the whiskey we decided to buy a bottle. We're going to have to drink it because we have no room in the car for it at the moment!!

Once we'd seen all there was to see the four of us met up again and headed back to the car. Luke organised his bag for rugby league camp and we dropped him off at the Travel Lodge (where is is to stay tonight). Luckily for us, just across the road was an almighty shopping centre ... not for shopping, but for lunch! We wandered over there and bought some sandwiches. Whilst we were eating, Anthony rang from Australia. It was great to catch up with him, even greater that he got a chance to talk to Luke just before he ducked off to book in at his motel. Luke was chuffed Anthony had rung to wish him good luck for tomorrow's game!

Next stop was the Mackenzie Guest House in Leith, our accommodation for the next two nights. Janine managed to carry her suitcase up two flights of stairs, but Mardi and I were definitely not as adventurous so we took out what we thought we might need over the next couple of days and carried one shopping bag up the one flight of stairs to our room. By the time Janine jogged for 5km, and Mardi and I showered and changed it was time to catch a taxi to meet up with Neil McCracken ... a Scottish mate of Anthony's (my brother), and Mardi's adopted fifth child!!

Our first watering hole for the evening was the Dome. OMG! What an amazing building, with some amazing drinks available inside. We sat in a small little bar off the main room (no room in the big room and no-one in the little one except for us) and drank for a couple of hours (remind me to ask Janine how her head is tomorrow after five apple something-or-other cocktails!). We caught a taxi over to make our dinner at the Whiskey Bar, just after 7pm. And what a night we had!!! Let me see if I can give you a run down of the most interesting facts about the evening ...

1. Mardi ate Haggis (albeit Haggis Spring Rolls, but she ate them). Neil also had Haggis Spring Rolls for entree with Mardi. Janine and I shared an entree of Salmon Three Ways ... yum!

2. Mum had Beef and Bone Marrow Pie; Neil had steak; Janine had Haggis; and I had pan seared chicken ... and the whiskey that was recommended to be drunk with it. Now, anyone who knows me, knows I don't drink ... and definitely not whiskey, but tonight I did. OMG! That is horrible stuff. It takes your breath away!! I managed to take lots of small sips and get through it, but I don't think whiskey should have been my first drink of choice the night I decided to take up drinking!!! And I can definitely assure you I will not be ordering one again, anytime this century!!!

3. Dessert ... well we shared (Neil and I; Janine and Mardi) something that had a good deal of whiskey in it ... honeycomb mixed with whiskey, oats and honey; raspberries mixed through cream whipped with whiskey; all topped with raspberry icecream. Yum!!

4. Scottish coffees were next on the menu ... coffee with a shot of whiskey in it. Not bad either (but only Janine and Neil had one of those).

5. And the evening ended with a Glayva (in honour of Dad) for Janine and Neil, but Janine didn't enjoy hers so I drank some of it for her. Neil ordered me another, but I let him drink it instead.

All in all it was a really, really enjoyable evening. Mardi, Janine and I have voted it the best meal all holidays ... sorry to all the other great meals we've eaten (you are a very close second) but this one was different, and delicious. We spent the night laughing, yarning, talking, eating and drinking ... all the while I was emailing Anthony photos of our antics to keep him up to date with our night out together. We even managed to have a chat with Anthony on the phone (Neil rang him). It was great to talk to him again (twice in one day :)) We had a great night.

Mardi and I hopped into a taxi about 10.30pm and headed for the Mackenzie Guest House. Janine and Neil hopped in another taxi and headed ... for who knows where!! We will ask Janine about that tomorrow, if she can remember!!

All in all it was a most enjoyable day. This morning we walked 13.15kms (15094 steps) around the Castle, this evening we have had a huge meal and a few toddies, and now we are definitely ready for sleep.

PS Photos ... an update of photos will take place tomorrow morning (it's too late now and the chord to download them all is with Janine ... in some bar in Edinburgh!!)

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