I’m pretty sure group tours are a great way to see and learn about your trip. Our family, however, have never taken a group tour or preplanned tour (The Great Wall of China was with a group but no one spoke english so it was just a magnificent guided walk). We love to get into the flow of everyday life among the people who live there.
Our son and his wife have a lovely flat. When you stand in front of the building, and look to the end of the street, you have lovely view of Arthur’s Seat. It’s a hill that pops up out of no where. A lovely back drop to streets lined with what we, from the US, may call brownstones or apartment buildings.
Arthur’s Seat in the background – Edinburgh, Scotland
I have to say that I was impressed with their flat and the simplicity of appliances and such. While the bathroom was narrow, to say the least, it was practical. You can even brush your teeth while sitting on the toilet. But the most practical was the hot water heater for the shower. Just a box that held the shower head and heated the water instantly as you needed it. I’ve heard of that type of hot water heater in the states by builder friends but for some reason they don’t seem to have taken off. I like them.
The ceilings were super high, it was an old building. The windows are old but also very high. The kitchen was small – my small kitchen at home was bigger – theirs is more practical. No dishwasher but a washing machine under the counter! Tiny, but held a lot of laundry and washed them well! The radiators in each room proved to be excellent dryers in the winter months.
The refrigerator is the what we may call a dorm fridge. Also under the counter, and that meant shopping fresh every other day or even every day. So “old world” to our spoiled, busy world. So quaint.
We had a great mattress plopped on the living room floor each night. Warm and comfy right next to the fresh Christmas Tree.
In the winter, because they are quite a bit further north than we are at home, the daylight begins at about 8:34 and ends at about 3:34! Say what? Short days and that threw us off kilter a bit. Had to get moving a bit faster than I like in order to see things in the daylight!
Our daughter made us fresh coffee each morning with toast or porridge. It was wonderful to be waited on.
Our first day…..
We are not use to city life. We live in a small country town and there is little to no public transportation. So out the door we were hustled and walked at a fast pace to the nearest bus stop. We felt old. My husband has a knee that can act up and both of us have lungs that wish hills didn’t exist. But onward we went.
We arrived shortly to Princes Street near Waverly Station ( the train station when we first arrived to Edinburgh) where the festivities began. The Christmas Market! But wait! I heard my name, “Mom”.
My son pointed and there was a young man holding a Barn Owl. I looked at my son and said, “Can I”?, like a child in a petting zoo.
Here is the result……
Gladstone the Owl
Gladstone and Me
Okay, my trip was done, I could go home fulfilled. I held an owl and learned all kinds of info about them. Pinch me.
The Christmas Market was wonderful. Here is why:
- Vendors of all kinds form everywhere
- smell of food cooking…….
- happy people all around
- amusement rides all with the backdrop of a Castle
- did I mention the people?
Let me tell you about the people. It was so crowded at the market and got even more crowded as Christmas approached. BUT, unlike America, we encountered not one rude person. Smiles everywhere. No pushing. No anger. No bad looks.
I thought it was because it was the whole Christmas outdoor market thing…. but wherever we went in Scotland the people were the same. Just plain nice. All the time.
I fell deeply in love with Scotland that day.
Here are a few random images of the beginning of our trip…….
O Christmas Tree
The Christmas Market from a distance
I have to say that from the start, the people impressed me. I confess that I had a “picture” of the Scots in my head – loud, rowdy, etc. And I have to say we never encountered a single one as I had preconceived. A wonderful happy folk.
Tell next time…..