It's a quiet Friday morning, I'm sipping off a mug of hot tea in bed while enjoying the beautiful rays of sunshine working their way around the curtains of my window. Oh, and I'm listening to "The Weary Kind," which is the theme song for the movie Crazy Heart (with Jeff Bridges). I'm not sure about the rest of the soundtrack, but for some reason this one really appeals to me.
Ahhhhh, I love perfect carefree mornings. (I've actually been busy working, believe it or not! And things are bound to get busier now that spring has arrive. Spring = travel weather and visitor time.)
Which brings me to the point of this entry: our Edinburgh trip! It's been nearly a week since we took our friends from Houston and hopped on the train to the capital city, and we had a fantastic time. It was really good that we took another trip, for Mike and I, since our first visit during Hogmanay (New Years) was bitter cold, rainy and all at night. It's like a whole new place seeing something in the daylight!
When we first planned the trip, we didn't realize it was during the same day as the Scotland v England rugby match. And holy heaven, was it hard to find a hotel room. (Which ended in a tie, by the way, and they don't do tie breakers. Bummer.) But we totally lucked out and managed to snag a two-room basement-level flat with plenty of beds for our party of 6. (It got pretty chilly at night, they turn the heat off at half-past midnight, it's too expensive to keep heating the place. Whatever. Do you notice how much I'm loving parenthese today?)
After a pit stop for a couple drinks and some lunch (my baked potato with bacon and brie was soooo good, never would've thought of that combination!), we headed out to see the sites. And see the sites we did. We had made it off the train in time to hear the cannon sound from the castle at 1pm, and after lunch we made a beeline for the mammoth structure to get a look inside. It's an absolutely gorgeous castle, with lots of painstakingly restored areas to preserve its authenticity.
We saw the Scottish National War Memorial - which also held the their tomb of the unknown soldiers - the Great Hall, the chamber where Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to her son who later became King of England, and (drum roll... and more parentheses) the Scottish Crown Jewels. What a majestic site.
The Honours of Scotland, also known as the Scottish regalia and the Scottish Crown Jewels, dating from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, are the oldest set of crown jewels in the British Isles. The existing set were used for the coronation of Scottish monarchs from 1543 (Mary, Queen of Scots) to 1651 (Charles II). Since then, they have been used to represent Royal Assent to legislation in both the Parliament of Scotland and Scottish Parliament, and have also been used at State occasions, including the first visit to Scotland as sovereign by King George IV in 1822 and the first visit to Scotland as sovereign by Queen Elizabeth in 1953. There are three primary elements of the Honours of Scotland: the Crown, the Sceptre, and the Sword of State. These three elements also appear upon the crest of the Royal coat of arms of Scotland, where the red lion of the King of Scots is depicted wearing the Crown and holding both the Sword and the Sceptre. - Wikipedia
After we were done ooh-ing and aah-ing over those, we spent a couple minutes perusing the grounds until we noticed Dominick and Brittany looking quite romantic just outside the castle's chapel. As soon as Brittany looked at her hand, I knew he'd popped the question and she said yes!!
They were so adorable and I think Brittany was truly in shock, she said she'd had no idea it was coming. And what a wonderful engagement story, being proposed to in the castle chapel - the oldest building in Edinburgh - followed by pictures atop the spired capital city of Scotland. Of course, that called for some Champagne, so we made our way to the nearest bar where we could find a seat and popped the top!
The rest of our night was spent doing a little pub hopping around, and unfortunately, we had to spend nearly an hour and a half trying to wave down a taxi to get back to our hotel. If they don't feel like pulling over for ya, it's not going to happen. And several places in the city have "taxi stops" so you have to wait in the longest line in hopes of actually catching a cab before they just stopped coming by completely. We ended up in one such line and a couple of drunks, too-small cabs and impatient sighs later, we were on our way.
When we got back to the flat, we had our own little beer tasting (found the beer we liked in Prague, Krusovice, at Peckham's! Last parentheses I swear.) and ordered some Chinese food. It was the perfect ending to a great day.
Congrats to Dominick & Brittany!