We skidded into the Parliament House Hotel (Edinburgh) about an hour before we were to meet our group. We registered and were directed to our room. RM and I had a good, but small room with two of the three windows painted shut. The third window opened, but wouldn’t stay open. So, I dug around and found a canister full of tea in a drawer and used that to prop it up. (With no AC, you had to do something.) We quickly washed up and headed to the lobby where the 28 tour members were greeting and introducing themselves to each other. We had an architect, two doctors, some software engineers and TEN teachers. Age range was 21 – 82.
(SCOTLAND FACT: People in EdinBORO get as upset when a visitor says EdinBURG as we do when someone says IllinoiSSSSS or AwanaS.)
We paraded out of the hotel and up Calton Hill which was right across the road (and up about 327 steps).
WHAT IS IT? Calton Hill is in the center of Edinburgh and from the top you have panoramic views of the city, including Arthur’s Seat which is the main peak in Holyrood Park
HOW DO YOU GET THERE? By climbing 143 steep steps (just felt like 327)
WHAT’S THERE? Nelson’s Monument and Edinburgh’s Folly.
Edinburgh’s Folly was constructed (well, partially constructed) back in 1817 to commemorate those who died in the Napoleonic Wars. Unfortunately, they needed 42,000 pounds and quickly ran out of money. The structure (which was supposed to look like the Parthenon in Athens) only has a front. (I thought of you, Karen, and our seven mile walk to the Parthenon in Nashville.)
WORTH IT? Yes, but plan to climb a lot of steps.
We then paraded back down the steps and over to Howie’s Restaurant which is located in a 200 year old building.
After we ate, Anne (the wonderful Scottish tour guide) made a little speech and somehow in her speech, she added, “And the Daisies were the last to arrive.” Forget Me and the Other Three – from there on out, everyone called us The Daisies. And sometimes in identifying ourselves, we would simply say, “I’m one of The Daisies.”
Then she set up the buddy system. This had to be someone you didn’t know anything about. My buddy was a random guy who was sitting down at the end of the table with his wife. (More about that later.) Your job was to make sure your buddy was on the bus each morning and after every stop. That way, people didn’t get left behind.
Each night Anne would post the next day’s itinerary so we would know what was happening. But many of us took a picture of the itinerary so it would help us identify the day’s pictures.