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Trip Report Edinburgh, Scottish Borders, and Northumberland - May 2015

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Hi everyone. I went to Scotland last year and wrote a trip report that a few people enjoyed: http://www.fodors.com/community/europe/solo-scotland-may-2014.cfm . I then proceded to ask about ideas for my honeymoon which took place this past May, and promised that a trip report would follow. We considered the advice offered by several Fodorites to rent a car, but in the end decided against it, choosing to leave the transportation to the professionals.

I didn't take any notes this time, so my memory on the details of food and such is pretty hazy. With the help of my better half, however, I will attempt to remember the broad strokes and maybe a few of the details of our trip through the Scottish Borders and Northumberland County.

I have also put some pictures up on Flickr here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/129583653@N06/albums/72157657862043578

So lets get started...

On Our Way
May 17-18, 2015

We got married on May 16th and flew out of Ottawa on Sunday night, May 17th, destination Edinburgh via London. Our plane left Ottawa at 10:40PM, and we were scheduled to arrive in Edinburgh at 2:15PM Monday the 18th, with about an hour stop in London. British Airways was having some issues that day, however, as our one hour stop turned to two, then to three, before the plane was ready to go. So we arrived at the airport in Edinburgh a couple hours later than expected, but were quickly outside breathing cool Scottish air.

We took the Airlink bus from the airport to Waverley Station. The bus dropped us off at the bottom of the hill on Market St. I was prepared for the hill, having been here the previous year, though this was my wife's introduction to the Scottish landscape (and perhaps some incentive to pack lighter on our next trip). We eventually made it to the top and set out to find our hotel. A short walk to the south brought us to the Ibis. It turned out not to be our Ibis, however, so we walked a bit further to the Ibis South Bridge. This is a new hotel (the Google Map satellite image shows a construction site), and they must not have worked out all the kinks, as in our first room we could hear a persistent drip-drip-drip coming from somewhere in the wall or the room next to us. We were moved to another room, settled in, and went to the hotel restaurant for dinner. I had a gigantic fish and chips, and my wife had pasta.

As we had a bus tour scheduled the next day, we decided against doing any exploring and just chilled (literally, it seemed to be cold everywhere we stayed) in the hotel. We were here!

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    Day 2 - Timberbush Tour
    May 19

    We decided that for our first full day in Scotland, we'd go on an organized bus tour. I went on a Rabbies tour last year but we didn't want to do the same one, so we decided on the Timberbush Tours "Highland Whisky, Woodland, and William Wallace" tour (http://www.timberbush-tours.co.uk/our-tours/from-edinburgh/one-day/highland-whisky-woodland-william-wallace/)

    The breakfast buffet at the hotel was very good. Lots of hot and cold options, and one of those fancy coffee machines that can do lattes and whatnot. We filled up and headed out to the Royal Mile to meet the bus in front of the Ensign Ewart pub.

    The tour started with a stop at the Wallace Memorial in Stirling. Last year I went to Stirling Castle and saw the memorial from a distance, this year we did the reverse. It's a nice walk up to the memorial and excellent views from the top, although it was sprinkling on and off. I kind of knew the story of William Wallace, but this place has loads of information to get the story straight. After this we went off to Gleneagles Hotel golf course for a quick photo op.

    The next stop was for lunch, and the reason why most of us chose the tour - the Famous Grouse Experience at Glenturret Distillery in Crieff. We had a nice tour through this small distillery, and a wee dram of both Famous Grouse and Glenturret whiskys. We had lunch in the cafe attached to the distillery and then it was back to the road. We were a little late, so the "woodland" part of the tour was skipped, and the next stop was Dunkeld for a visit to the cathedral and a lovely (but brief) walk along the River Tay. On our way back in to Edinburgh we stopped for pictures of the bridges over the Forth, and arrived back to our starting point right on time.

    My wife and I discussed this, and we believe that this was the night we went to the Burgers and Beers Grillhouse. Not exactly Scottish (the burgers all have American names) but tasty food, and huge portions. I had the Johnny Cash, and she attempted the Mac Attack. After dinner it was back to the hotel for rest & relaxation.

    I'm sure that we could have rented a car and accomplished all this ourselves, but for my money a tour bus is a great way to get an overview of many things at once without the stress of driving in unknown areas. A perfect way to start off our honeymoon!

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    Day 3 - Edinburgh
    May 20

    This was our day to explore the Royal Mile. We got up and had a big breakfast at the hotel, then made our way up to Edinburgh Castle. I love castles, and could very easily spend a whole day here. While we were in line we noticed that nobody else came in after us, and there were people looking over the ledge down onto the parade square. So after buying our tickets we joined them in time to see the changing of the guard. I was most impressed by the band, and they marched right in to the castle past us so I was able to get some nice close photos. We spent the morning exploring the castle. The last time I was here I didn't go into the war memorial, but this time we did, and it is a very sobering experience.

    Once our stomachs started grumbling we left the castle and grabbed a sandwich at the grocery store on the way back to the hotel. We ate and rested a bit, then slathered on the sunscreen and headed out and down to the bottom of the Royal Mile. Holyrood Palace was closed due to the Church of Scotland General Assembly. We hadn't planned on doing the palace anyway, and turned our sights to the hike up to Arthur's Seat.

    It was a nice afternoon, but very windy at the top of the hill. My wife was somewhat surprised to see that there are no rails or anything at the top (other than a few on the stairs), and there are a few places where you could fall off if you weren't careful. We got some nice pictures of us bracing ourselves against the wind, then went back down the stairs. We took the sloped trail up the hill, and the stairs back down, which I imagine is much easier on the knees than going the other way.

    Back at the bottom of Arthur's Seat, we were pretty hungry so started going back up (always up, in Edinburgh) the Royal Mile in search of sustenance. I know we had an excellent steak pie, and a delicious sticky toffee pudding. We shared the meal, as neither of us are huge eaters and it's much more economical that way anyway. Looking at the map of Edinburgh, we think it was probably The Royal Mile Tavern. We continued to climb the mile and checked out the Camera Obscura, but it was almost closing time and the next day was a travel day anyway, so we headed back to the hotel and crashed - nicely exhausted from the fresh air and exercise.

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    Day 4 - Into the Borders
    May 21

    We woke up to a cool, rainy morning, ate breakfast, and said goodbye to the Ibis. It is a nice hotel, with some strange design - like the circular bathroom. But it was a hot shower and a great location, and really there's not much else you need.

    I had made this part of the trip before, so I knew how to get to the bus station. We dragged our suitcases up the hill, then down the hill to the station. I do have to compliment the bus system in Scotland. A 1-way ticket to Jedburgh from Edinburgh cost about $15 Cdn, paid to the driver. A similar distance trip on the Greyhound here in Ontario would cost me $40.

    It rained the whole trip to Jedburgh, which was kind of a downer, but cleared up a bit when we got there. We arrived around noon, dropped in to the tourist center, and had lunch at the Carters Rest - a nice soup and hot panini to warm us up. Then we headed out to find the hotel. In Jedburgh, we stayed at the Glenbank House Hotel. More specifically, we stayed in the Annex. The hotel proper is in an early 18th century house, the Annex is an outbuilding, with two rooms and what looks like a small apartment. It was very quiet, and pretty cold, in the Annex.

    Even though we were a bit early, the owner Alex met us in the lobby and checked us in to our room. The room was a nice size, and very purple. Big bathroom with no electrical outlet (that I could find).

    We rested a bit, and then decided to head out and up the hill to the Jedburgh Castle Jail and Museum. This is a nice attraction, with plenty of Jedburgh history and descriptions of what life was like as a prisoner in the 19th century. It's also free - always a plus.

    Back at the hotel we decided to eat in their little restaurant. We had the gammon steak (ham, for us North Americans) served with pineapple and a poached egg. It was good, but not really special. I did enjoy the Cranachan though - whipped cream, oats, whisky & berries. Writing this out has pretty much conviced me to make some of this soon - I have a bunch of my grandpa's raspberries in the freezer. Anyway, after supper it was still cold and rainy - so I'm pretty sure we just chilled out and watched a movie.

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    Day 5 - Jedburgh
    May 22

    It was cold but sunny when we awoke for our day in Jedburgh. I had the "full Scottish breakfast," which at the Glenbank House includes eggs, bacon, mushrooms, beans, tomato, potato scone, haggis and toast. My wife had the same, minus the haggis and beans (she sampled my haggis, just so she could say she did). Then we went out exploring.

    Our first stop was Mary, Queen of Scots house. This museum includes a very thorough retelling of the tragic story of Mary. After that we made our way over to the ruins of Jedburgh Abbey. This large ruin includes some excavation of the Abbey grounds with helpful plaques explaining things, as well as a small indoor museum.

    I soon realized that I would need another memory card for my camera, so we went out looking for one and found a small shop crowded with electronic gadgets that thankfully had an SD card that fit. During our wanderings, I subtly steered us past the Jedburgh Chocolate House, planting the idea of homemade truffles in my wife's mind. We had lunch at the Corner Cafe, then picked up some chocolates for dessert. My wife stuck to caramel and chocolate, while I experimented with ginger and whisky truffles, and neither of us was disappointed.

    We went back to the hotel to prepare for our afternoon hike. Having just brought my wife into the Kerr clan, a hike out to our ancestral home at Ferniehirst was a must on a trip to Scotland. There is actually a clan museum in the castle, but the curator was on holidays so that couldn't happen unfortunately. Just another reason to return, I suppose. The walk out to Ferniehirst takes a couple hours, and the sun actually came out for us for the most part. It's a nice easy walk (my wife would point out that there are lots of uphill stretches) and very quiet out there in the countryside. I must say, I just love this part of the world.

    We had made reservations at the Carters Rest after we ate lunch there the day before. Neither of us remembers exactly what we ate that night, other than that we shared a chicken dish and it was good, but not what we had ordered. We both agree that we had the banoffee pie, and that it was definitely good. My wife preferred the sticky toffee pudding we had in Edinburgh though, while I preferred the less-sweet Cranachan.

    Full and tired, we made our way back to the hotel and settled in. It was a good day - a little sunshine always helps - and tomorrow we would be heading to our next destination.

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    Day 6 - Into England
    May 23

    This was a travel day - as we were heading across the border into England. My wife had oatmeal, I had a smaller breakfast, and we checked out of Glenbank and walked down to the bus station. I was a little nervous, as up to this point I was familiar with the area and now we were heading into unknown territory.

    Our destination was Haltwhistle, which on the map is pretty much due south of Jedburgh. There's a big forest in between though, and since we were taking the bus we would be going west to Hawick, south to Carlisle, then east to Haltwhistle. This is the only time that I can think of where we could have saved time or done a little more sightseeing had we rented a car.

    The short trip to Hawick was uneventful, and we relaxed on a park bench waiting for the bus to Carlisle. On the trip to Carlisle the bus was full, so we were sitting sideways holding on to our luggage. This is a rather hilly country, and the back and forth, side to side, up and down started getting to me. I don't normally have problems with motion sickness, but not being able to see forward through the rolling hills was bringing some, uh, uncomfortableness. Finally I turned to my wife and said "I'm not feeling too well." Apparently I was looking grey enough that she suggested we get off at the next stop for some fresh air, and catch the next bus to continue the trip. The next stop happened to be in the middle of nowhere, but we stepped off the bus and I breathed in deep some lovely cool air. We asked the driver when the next bus was, and it was in an hour. As we decided whether or not we wanted to stay out in this field for an hour, an elderly lady was having a discussion with the driver about where we were, where she wanted to be, and how to best get there. Their discussion took about five minutes, and by that time I was feeling well enough to continue. We got back on the bus, explaining to the driver that I just needed some air. There were now seats available looking forward, and I was fine for the remainder of the journey.

    We arrived in Carlisle in fairly desperate need for, as they say around here, the loo. We ducked in to an ice cream shop and relieved ourselves, then went in search of lunch. We didn't have a lot of time before the next bus, so we just popped in to get a sandwich. As we were eating, the bus we had expected to take drove past us on its way out of town. Finding ourselves with a little more time before the next one, we went back in to the ice cream shop and treated ourselves to a giant nutty sunday. After all, we had used their washrooms, so it was only fair that we buy something.

    The bus from Carlisle to Haltwhistle was also packed, and my wife found herself sitting next to an elderly gentleman who talked to her the whole trip while she tried to understand his accent, and I looked after our luggage. We got off in the little town of Haltwhistle, dropped in to the tourist center for some maps, then made our way to the Ashcroft Guest House.

    The Ashcroft was easily the nicest place we stayed, with gorgeous gardens and a four-poster bed. We settled in and went out for a walk in search of food. We were a little early, as most places don't serve food until 6, but we were hungry and eventually found that the Manor House Inn would provide us with a pizza. The pizza was okay, and fairly quick service by the seemingly 14 year old girl working there had us back to the Ashcroft early in the evening. We cuddled up and watched The Mummy, and drifted off to sleep. Tomorrow we would tackle the Wall.

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    Loving your report. We had planned a UK trip several years ago that for multiple reasons never happened. Included in my itinerary were Jedburgh and Haltwhistle along with a stay at the Ashcroft Guest House. Their garden is suppose to be glorious in the Spring and I was so sorry we missed it all.

    We still haven't made that trip. I keep wanting to go but my husband is insistent that at our age we should visit countries we haven't been to. But I keep hoping I'll convince him!

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    Day 7 - Hadrian's Wall
    May 24

    We woke up Sunday morning and had a nice breakfast. I don't remember what I had, these breakfasts all kind of run together. I just love back bacon though, so I probably had that. Or maybe sausage, I like to try different sausage too. I know I had smoked salmon somewhere, as well. Regardless, I'm sure it was good. We had passed by a Methodist church in our wanderings, and that being the closest thing to a Baptist church we had seen, we decided to try it out. We were 2 of roughly 20 people there, with about 16 of them being in the choir. It was a nice service though, and we grabbed a sandwich at the grocery store and went back to our room.

    Our hostess knew we were wanting to go out to Hadrian's Wall, and the day before she had informed us of a bus that goes back and forth along the wall. She said that she often takes the bus to Housesteads and walks back, a distance of about 7 miles. She also said it normally took her around two hours. That sounded good to us (though I thought that sounded like a pretty fast pace), so we grabbed the bus and rode it to Housesteads Roman Fort. We spent some time in the museum and walking through the ruins, then eventually decided we had better start walking.

    It was pretty cold and windy up on the wall. There are two ways to walk along here: up next to the wall itself, or along an old path just to the south of the wall. We chose to walk up next to the wall, which I suspect was the tougher of the two walks. I also suspect that our hostesses two hours are spent really pushing it on the easier path. We walked up and down the hills, and right into the wind - neither of us wanting to admit we were getting tired (newlyweds trying to impress each other :P). We also didn't have a good map, so we had no idea how far we had gone or how much farther we had to go.

    Eventually we came to a crossroads where we had to decide if we'd keep walking on the wall or go down to the highway and grab the bus back, as the last bus was around 6 pm, and it was nearing 5 (we'd been up there for about three hours). A group of travellers coming the other way seemed to think that Haltwhistle wasn't very far, but they didn't have a map either and hadn't actually been there. We surveyed the landscape and decided to call it quits. We could see what looked like a tourist center in the distance, and the thought of a hot chocolate warming our bellies pretty much made the decision for us.

    We reached the Once Brewed National Park Center at 5:05 pm, 5 minutes after it closed. Luckily, the bathrooms were still open - as that was one of our more pressing needs. The hot chocolate idea dashed, we huddled under a tree near the bus stop to wait for the next one, due to arrive in about 40 minutes. My intuition (and the black clouds) told me that the rain was due to arrive in about 10.

    We unwrapped our granola bars and got ready to whether the weather, when a car pulled up and asked us where we were going. "Haltwhistle," we replied hopefully. "Get in" they said. It was a mother and daughter who were coming back from delivering supplies to the husband/father who was walking the Pennine Way. We had a nice chat, and discovered that the mother was a vicar who had just performed a wedding the day before. This brief visit with two friendly folks really turned our dispositions around. We both readily admit that we were getting pretty grumpy before our angels arrived.

    Back in Haltwhistle and happy but hungry, we decided to try the Indian restaurant we had noticed the day before. It's called The Fort, and it's pretty nice inside. We had butter chicken with rice and naan. The butter chicken wasn't like anything we had tasted on this side of the Atlantic. It was much more...buttery. There were actually two big chunks of butter melting in the sauce. Now maybe that's more authentic than what I've had before, but it was, let's say, too buttery. We finished what we could, and retired back to the guest house.

    Looking at a map, it appears that we did about 3 miles in 3 hours. So we didn't quite make it halfway, but we're happy we did it.

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    This brief visit with two friendly folks really turned our dispositions around. We both readily admit that we were getting pretty grumpy before our angels arrived.>>

    I bet they enjoyed their brief meeting with you too, ApK. They re probably still dining out on giving a lift to two honeymooning Canadians.

    And kudos to you for attempting the walk, though I would always suggest that people take an ordinance survey map with them - you never know when it'll come in useful.

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    Day 8 - Off to the Sea
    May 25

    It was chilly and rainy, and we were heading to the coast (where I personally was expecting more chilliness and raininess). We ate breakfast and said goodbye to our hosts. I highly recommend the Ashcroft for anyone travelling through this area.

    Our destination was Berwick-upon-Tweed, and we travelled by train via Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The trip was nice and uneventful, and lunch was at the station in Newcastle. As we got closer to Berwick, the sun came out and it started to look really pleasant. We arrived sometime after lunch and made our way downhill (downhill!) to our lodging, the Elizabethan Town House. Our room was pretty small, but we were in good moods so we stashed our stuff and head out to explore the town.

    I'll just say right now that we really enjoyed Berwick-upon-Tweed. I'm sure the sunshine after so much cloudiness helped a lot, but the town just "feels" nice. We walked out to the Tweed, which was at low tide, and along the path up to the castle ruins. There isn't much left of this castle, just a wall and some building fragments. It seems that the train station is sitting on top of where the castle itself used to be.

    There are parks and paths all around the old town, and we walked down along the river and out to the lighthouse at the end of the pier. We had supper at The Queen's Head. My wife had a delicious fish pie, and I had cod. It was an excellent meal, and it seemed like a very nice atmosphere. We found our way back to the Elizabethan and collapsed for the night.

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    Day 9 - Berwick-upon-Tweed
    May 26

    One of the best things about staying in Bed & Breakfasts is the breakfasts! I had the full English breakfast (pretty much the same as the full Scottish) at the Elizabethan and we went up to the river to get a few pictures at high tide.

    We had stopped in to the tourist center the day before and been informed of a few tours available. In the morning we decided to go on a tour of the town hall and gaol. We were a bit early, so we ducked in to a clothing store where my wife looked at a few of the offerings which were nice, though quite a bit out of our souvenir price range. Back at the town hall, we had a private tour of the museum and gaol. For 2 pounds, you really can't beat this as a tourist stop.

    For lunch we treated ourselves to crepes smothered in chocolate at Maisies, just around the corner from the town hall.

    After lunch, we went back to the tourist information center to take a guided walking tour of the Elizabethan Town Walls. Again we had a private tour, and our as our guide explained the various points of interest around the town, his pro-Scottish political views started to leak through. Berwick-upon-Tweed changed hands between the Scottish and the English many times in the last 900 years, and our guide was quite certain that Berwick would be treated much better as a historical attraction by Historic Scotland than it currently is by English Heritage (where it is essentially ignored, in his view).

    We had paid for the extended tour, but someone had broken the lock on the munition storage building and our guide hadn't received his new key yet, so he gave us the money back for that part, but still took us into one of the "ice houses." These are man-made caves where ice from the winter was stored during the summer, and salmon would be packed in the ice in order to stay fresh for the southern markets. Quite interesting, and not something you would just stumble upon on your own.

    We still had time after the tour before supper, so we went up to the Barracks and took in the military museum. This isn't something my wife is particularly interested in, but I enjoy military history and found it quite interesting.

    We had a burger somewhere (not sure where), and thoroughly exhausted from our day of walking (in the sun!), we settled back in for the night. It was a great day and we felt somewhat revived for the next part of our trip.

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    Day 10 - Kelso
    May 27

    We had breakfast and checked out of the Elizabethan, then made our way out to the bus stop. We were kind of early so we had coffee (well, I had coffee, I haven't converted my wife yet) at a little diner beside the bus stop. We hopped on the bus and started off toward Kelso. It started to rain again, and by the time we reached Kelso it was kind of miserable out again. The bus arrived right around lunch time, so we grabbed sandwiches at the White Swan, then found our way over to the Abbeyside Bed & Breakfast and settled in. Another loveley B&B in the Borders.

    It was raining off and on, but we made the trek out to Floors Castle without getting too wet. Floors isn't so much a castle as it is a palace. It's also in the Kerr (Ker) clan, though from a different branch than the Ferniehirst Kerrs. Floors is the home of the Duke of Roxburghe, who lives in one half of it, while maintaining the other as a museum/tourist attraction. Walking through the castle, it was fun to imagine that this is the side of the family that my line comes from. Deep down though, I'm much more a Ferniehirst than a Floors (google the two castles, you'll see what I mean). We didn't get out to the gardens unfortunately, as it was raining pretty hard.

    By the time we got back to Abbeyside, we were pretty drenched. Supper was at The Waggon - I had the scampi and my wife had macaroni and cheese. We're pretty sure we shared a dessert, but not sure what it was.

    We went back to the Abbeyside and dried off, then curled up and relaxed for the night.

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    Day 11 - Kelso to Edinburgh
    May 28

    We only stayed in Kelso one night, and it was bright and sunny (but chilly) on this morning. We had breakfast looking out onto the lovely gardens at the B&B, then went out to take a look at Kelso Abbey. The ruins aren't quite as extensive as the ones in Jedburgh (there's a school building on top of where some of the Abbey buildings would probably have been), but they are nice none-the-less. We went on a little walk along the river to enjoy one last bit of Borders quietness before heading back to Edinburgh.

    Grabbing our stuff from the B&B we went out to catch the bus and soon found ourselves back in Edinburgh. We needed to change buses to get to our next hotel, so we got off somewhere along the line and quickly ducked out of the rain and into a small cafe for lunch. The bus eventually took us to the last hotel of our honeymoon, the Apex Haymarket. We got settled in and then started to walk to the Royal Mile for the afternoon and evening, the rain having stopped and the sun now shining.

    We had wanted to do the Camera Obscura when we were here at the beginning of the trip, but didn't have time. Now we had some, so we enjoyed a couple hours here at this interesting place full of optical illusions and nauseating spinning tunnels (which neither of us made it through). We had tickets for a Ghosts & Ghouls tour, so wanting something quick for dinner we ordered fajitas at the Filling Station. Fajitas should be quick, as it takes approximately 10 minutes to fry up some meat and peppers and chop up the toppings. For some reason this took 45 minutes. Our drinks were pretty much gone before the rather small portion arrived (fajitas require cheese, and they gave us about a tablespoon of it). I was hoping for dessert, but at the rate this was going we couldn't risk it. I think it took about an hour and a half from order to payment, for fajitas. Being Canadian, I tipped anyway, but I was not impressed with this restaurant.

    The Ghosts & Ghouls (Mercat Tours) was fun. It starts out with a quick tour above ground with some reenactments of gruesome torture and execution methods using members of the audience, then moves underground. Our guide (whose name we can't remember, unfortunately) was an excellent storyteller and she had everyone on edge with tales of spooks and hauntings as we moved through the vaults under South Bridge. One little girl was getting pretty anxious to leave(though she stuck it out), and I resisted the urge to blow on the back of my wife's neck during one particularly scary story (the prospect of sleeping on the floor kept me behaving myself). The tour ended with refreshments (a wee dram for myself, juice for my wife) and our guide seemed genuinely surprised when we gave her a tip on the way out. We walked through the cool night air back to our hotel and huddled up for the night, every creak and squeak seemingly magnified for some reason...

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    Two of us did one of the City of the Dead tours in Edinburgh two weeks ago. How tour guides like our Gerry keep up their enthusiasm tour after tour is beyond me. Not very scary but very entertaining.

    Torture and execution methods sounds interesting.

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    Day 12 - Edinburgh
    May 29

    This was it, our last full day in Scotland before heading back to reality.

    We had breakfast at the restaurant attached to the Apex Haymarket Hotel. Now perhaps I had been spoiled by all the fantastic breakfasts we had so far at the various B&B's and Guest Houses, but I found the breakfast here (the restaurant is called the Metro West End) to be rather lacking and very overpriced for what we got. Perhaps we arrived a the wrong time, but the continental part consisted of a couple of pastries, a few slices of melon, and some room temperature cheddar. I don't remember the price, but we pretty much had to upgrade to the hot breakfast or we would have gone hungry. My french toast with bacon was very tasty (my wife had the french toast without the bacon) when it eventually arrived, but again it took far to long to arrive. In our server's defense, they were short staffed as someone had gone home sick. However, I have very little patience for poorly managed restaurants - and waits of half an hour for anything other than some fancy dish is evidence of poor management.

    We had no real plans for the day, other than that we wanted to go out to the Botanic Gardens in the afternoon. So we looked at the map and saw that the National Museum of Scotland wasn't very far away. We headed in that direction, past the statue of Greyfriars Bobby, and spent the morning in the museum. Eventually we figured that we better head toward the Gardens, since that was going to be a good walk.

    We made it as far as North Bank Street before stopping for lunch at a little cafe. It was looking pretty dark and forboding in the direction of the Gardens, so we had a decision to make - keep heading that way and potentially get caught in the rain, or go back down the Royal Mile toward Holyrood, where we could duck into a store or something if it started raining. We chose the latter, and were very glad we did. I knew the Edinburgh Museum was down there somewhere, and it started pouring right before we got there (so we still got soaked). It actually started hailing some big chunks of ice while we were shaking the rain off, so at least we missed that!

    The Edinburgh Museum was pretty interesting, and we were practically the only ones there. When we had learned all we could we went down to Holyrood. The Palace had been closed two weeks earlier, but it was now open so we enjoyed wandering through the luxury listening to the audio tour. The sun came out so we also enjoyed the gardens behind the palace. On the way back up the hill I steered my wife into The Fudge House because...well...fudge!

    Our last dinner in Scotland was at Deacon Brodies. I had steak and my wife had chicken and mushroom pie, and although we were pretty full, we shared a warm fudge brownie. It's kind of an inside joke for us, as there is a Deacon Brodies where we live here in Ottawa too. We had dinner there with her parents on a special night of some kind where they just handed out whisky shots to everyone. Here at the Deacon Brodies in Scotland my wife got carded. :P Luckily she had her ID with her. We had been sharing beers at most restaurants. I assume that most restaurants saw the wedding rings and just assumed she's of age (which she is, in case you're wondering), but this time we had an older waitress that wanted to make sure we were obeying the rules.

    Full and happy, we made our way back to the Apex. The Apex is a nice hotel, and we were treated well other than the slow breakfast. We had an early flight the next morning, so we took it easy and went to bed.

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    Back to Reality
    May 30

    Our flight was scheduled to leave at 9:10, so we got up early, checked out, walked the short walk to Haymarket Station, and hopped on the Airlink back to the airport. It's a nice policy that return tickets on the bus last for two weeks so we didn't have to worry about that. We had breakfast at the airport and were fairly quickly on our way.

    The flights were pretty uneventful, except that we had to circle around Ottawa for a while due to rain.

    We finally arrived back at our apartment, did a pile of laundry, and began the process of settling in to life as a married couple. :)

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    Thanks for reading our report! It was nice to go through all this and remember what we did when and where. Hopefully it was enjoyable for you to read as well.

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