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Edinburgh, Scottish Borders, and Northumberland - May 2015

Edinburgh, Scottish Borders, and Northumberland - May 2015

Sep 20th, 2015, 12:12 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 48
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...
ApK is offline  
Sep 20th, 2015, 12:44 PM
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 32,129
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.
colduphere is offline  
Sep 20th, 2015, 01:05 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 48
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. 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.
ApK is offline  
Sep 20th, 2015, 01:14 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 48
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.


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.
ApK is offline  
Sep 21st, 2015, 04:56 AM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 280
Very enjoyable read, ApK. Thank you for sharing your travels with us, and congratulations on your new marriage!
BBgt is offline  
Sep 21st, 2015, 10:28 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 2,850
Yes, very enjoyable. Thank you for sharing. Enjoy your lives together.
LCBoniti is offline  
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