July 1 Flew Scandinavia airlines for the first time. I didn’t realize Scandinavia was part of the mileage plus alliance. We can always use more miles! The Split airport was too small for the number of passengers - not enough chairs. We kept our eyes pealed as passengers boarded their flights and finally snagged two. Rhona, our house sitting host, was there to pick us up at the Edinburgh airport and drove us to our AirBnb. What service. We brought a bottle of Croatian Cherry schnapps as a thank you.
July 2 The walk into the old city of Edinburgh was pleasant. We just didn’t realize that the tourist office was so far away. The tourism office was very helpful so our days were all planned out. It was suggested we walk to Grassmarket street in order to find lunch. We selected the Petit Paris restaurant. All wait staff spoke French to give the restaurant that special ambience. It was a wonderful meal. With a full belly, it was a good time to go to the Scotch Whisky Experience. It was a dumb Disney ride explaining the distillation process. Then we moved into a theater to learn about the 5 whisky areas. I didn’t know about Campbeltown scotch. When it came time for the tasting, I had a lovely Campbeltown scotch with a hint of vanilla. We had purchased the “Gold” tasting package which includes 4 more tastings. We were not allowed to select the scotches but that was ok as they were each so different. I needed more food after that. We found a pub serving paninis. It was a large roll with one thin slice of chicken - very unsatisfying but it did fill me up.
July 3 We selected the Blue line of the Hop on Hop off bus. This took us into the town of Leith. It is on the Firth of Fourth which translates to the estuary of the River Four. (I always wanted to know what that meant). During the 1700’s Leith was a busy port town. We were disappointed with this tour package - Oh Well. We couldn’t see the Holyrood Palace (the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland) as the Queen of England was in town. This is the second time this has happened to us - we’re batting zero. Instead we visited Parliament, a very modern building. I didn’t realize until writing this entry that it is a world heritage site - who’d a thunk it! We had a wonderful grain fed steak at Miller & Carter. Sooooo yummy!
July 4 Happy Independence Day We wandered around Edinburgh Castle and stood in line to visit the Royal Jewels. As you can see from the picture we had rain most of the day. Luckily the afternoon was spent touring the South Bridge Vaults which are a series of chambers formed in the nineteen arches completed in 1788. For around 30 years, the vaults were used to house taverns, cobblers and other tradesmen, and as storage space for illicit material, reportedly including the bodies of people killed by serial killers for use in medical experiments. The tour was just ok but it did get our out of the rain. Dinner was at Miro’s Cantina. My tacos were made with shredded pork seasoned just right! Another yummy meal.
July 5 Rhona & Kenny picked us up and drove us to their home in Falkirk. We were introduced to the family which included Cody and Sully, the two dogs we would be house sitting. After dinner Rhona drove us to the Kelpies structures (see picture). They are amazing to see! The Kelpies are a monument to the lineage of the heavy horse of Scottish industry and economy, pulling the wagons, ploughs, barges and coal ships. We then visited the Falkirk Wheel which is a rotating boat lift, connecting the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal. The following is a You Tube video:
July 7 Now I can honestly say I’ve had haggis. Rhona had purchased two patties for us to have. It wasn’t bad tasting, in fact the only prominent taste was oatmeal! Because we don’t eat cereals, it wouldn’t complement our diet nor could we find the all important ingredient - sheep’s pluck (heart, liver and lungs).
July 11 We finally have some sun for our walks with the dogs. We are standing on Bridge #59. The rain makes everything so lush but I love the reflection of the clouds on the water of the Union Canal. We’ve only seen a couple of boats motoring the canal. Nice to see people renting house boats!