Ready for Part Two of my Scottish adventure with my lifelong friend, Telisa?
If you missed part one – simply click HERE.
I got a full night’s sleep, which is always a blessing on the first real night in a bed. I slept the sleep of the dead starting around 8 pm and woke up somewhere around 7 am on Tuesday morning. Telisa and I slowly got moving and started making a plan. We decided to wait an hour or so and just enjoy a leisurely breakfast as we waited for her luggage to arrive. We knew it was going to be in the upper 30s and it was paramount that we got her coat and a change of clothes, so she wouldn’t have to brave the elements and over pay for something that was about to arrive.
So… we made it down the three flights of stairs to the formal dining room of the Bed & Breakfast we were staying at.
There was quite a feast set up for the guests. At this point, the only people staying there was us and a young couple originally from Russia, now living in London. We spent most of the morning enjoying conversation about the cultural differences we made note of the night before. Everything from the use of the “f-word” to how kind everyone seemed to be. Our host, Jemima, shared her story of how she once lived in the Caribbean and the states and how she met her husband in the Philippines.
Her husband also happens to be a chef and was cooking up a delicious breakfast for us.
Since I am still trying to eat a little better, I opted for the scrambled egg and none of the fatty sausages or country ham. What was added to it was baked beans (a staple for the British breakfast,) a potato scone, hashbrown and the eggs. I grabbed some homemade yogurt from the bar and added granola and nibbled on a piece of cheese and fruit. We filled up, shared stories with the other guests and host, and waited. And waited…
And the luggage did not arrive. Telisa asked Jemima to please give her a ring if her luggage made an appearance, then we called an uber and headed to Holyrood Palace.
Apparently, the Queen was not receiving guests today. Or tomorrow. 😉 That’s right, the palace is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesday and we missed our appointment the day before, as we were stuck in line for Telisa’s baggage claim. Boo on Air France and Boo on the palace for not being open. Regardless, we snapped a few pics and decided to actually walk the Royal Mile (which is actually NOT a mile, more so a few kilometers) to Edinburgh Castle.
As we started up the hill Telisa was freezing – and rightfully so! All she had was a shawl and since we had already had two little disappointments (her luggage not showing up and the palace being closed,) I thought we might need to find a place just to get our bearings. As we were walking, I spotted a tea room and thought – PERFECT! A little British culture and a place to relax out of the elements and get it together.
We found Clarinda’s Tea Room on the Royal Mile, very close to Holyrood Palace. This adorable space was the quintessential tea room with rose chintz wallpaper, tea cups hanging on the wall, and quiet classical music playing in the background.
The first thing I noticed was a scrumptious array of sweets on the sideboard. I ordered a piece of apple bread, flat white coffee, and the strawberry & kiwi herbal iced tea.
We relaxed a little and Telisa warmed up quite a bit. After a few laughs and tasty treats we started our nine hour shopping, sipping, oohing and ahhing of Edinburgh.
Along the Royal Mile you will find a Close, which happens to be an alley-way that leads you to private gardens, churches, and a whole slew of other places and things. We happened upon a beautiful Kirkyard (Churchyard) that had a really old cemetery. We wandered around this peaceful little nook tucked off the street.
Many of the graves had fascinating stories. I love walking through, judging the age differences between the husband and wives, checking out what they did, or whatever little insight I could find into the lives of these people who walked these streets hundreds of years ago.
We stopped in multiple stores and bought random souvenirs and trinkets for our friends and family. The architecture was just perfection. Absolute perfection. I could totally see where the inspiration for Harry Potter came from and why they chose to film so much of it here.
At this point, things are still looking up (as far as luggage goes,) and we decided to stop in a pub to allow Telisa to warm up a little more (remember, she doesn’t have a coat yet,) and try to get the vibe from the locals.
We happened upon The World’s End Pub. I had remembered reading a little about this space and so we decided to mosey on up to the bar – I ordered a water, while she ordered a mulled wine. This pub is a 16th Century listed building in Edinburgh’s historic Old Town. The gates to the city used to be situated outside the pub, and the brass cobbles in the road represent their exact location. The building has had a few incarnations over the years, from bakers to wine merchants, and finally as a traditional old-style pub.
Our bartender, Graham, did a fantastic job of entertaining us! At some point, I think it was when Telisa ordered a second drink, a traditional hot toddy, that she asked where she could find a Glasgow Rangers shirt in the area. Oh boy did the entire pubs ears perk up. ANYTHING that has to do with the Rangers or the Celtic, are a big no-no in Edinburgh. Suddenly, everyone was piping in – and it was good fun, and we ended up laughing with the entire bar. Our bartender put it lightly, “If the Ranger’s were playing child molesters, the entire city would cheer on the child molesters.” Yep. They take football (soccer,) that seriously!
After some good laughs and good advice, we headed back out to do a little more shopping. Telisa finally decided to cough up some cash and bought this gorgeous sky blue cashmere sweater to help keep her warm.
As we were wandering, I am pretty sure Telisa spent a good amount of time trying to call Delta and the Edinburgh airport and Air France just trying to sort things out. She was getting a little more aggravated and there really wasn’t anything I could do to help the situation. I just tried to keep moving, keep the conversation light and well… what do we do in the South? We eat our feelings. So I found a little cafe down a close and we stopped for some munchies.
We found The Thistle Stop Cafe. A darling little place with a handful of tables. There were probably three other couples in there, so we just sat down and ordered our lunch.
I ordered a cheese & ham toastie (grilled cheese sandwhich) and a jacketed potato. (loaded baked potato.)
The mood was not the best, as Telisa was on the phone with Air France. She was really letting them have it – since her luggage had STILL not shown up. As she was chatting with the folks on the phone, she got a little louder and a little angrier, and I noticed the ladies behind the counter started giggling, as well as the couple across from us. I sort of smiled and laughed along, but knowing that this was no laughing matter. I got up, went to the counter, paid for our lunch and explained what had happened to her. The ladies were so sympathetic to her plight and understood why Telisa was so heated.
We were both basically finished eating, so I asked was she ready to go. I think I picked the wrong moment, because she was not ready and sort of barked something to that point. I knew she was just frustrated and decided to go ahead and let her finish up either a phone call or her food and just get some air. It was hot as hades in the place and I was really enjoying the fresh air. Luckily, there was this adorable courtyard.
We finally left the area and made our way over to St. Giles. There was this girl in the middle singing opera and it was just so magical – the sun was setting and the backdrop of this gothic cathedral was everything. Telisa sort of took off on her own through the church and I followed up behind. I wanted to give her some space. Once we rounded the corner, I did a temperature check and she seemed to have relaxed a little. Beautiful spaces do that for you. I asked to come sit with me on the chairs in the sanctuary and I basically said a little prayer out loud for things to work out for her. We left in better spirits and headed even further up hill toward the castle.
St Giles Cathedral was founded by King David I in 1124. Yeah… it is that old. Click on the link above and learn more about this amazing space. I feel blessed just to have experienced it!
As we were trudging uphill, I suddenly realized we were just steps from Edinburgh Castle! Yes, we had made it up that mountainous hill to the very steps of the castle.
And yes, it was everything.
Edinburgh Castle is alive with exciting tales of its time as a military fortress, royal residence and prison of war. When you climb Castle Hill, you walk in the footsteps of soldiers, kings and queens – and even the odd pirate or two. It is one of the oldest fortified places in Europe. With a long rich history as a royal residence, military garrison, prison and fortress. As I mentioned above, it was home to kings and queens for many centuries. Queen Margaret (who was later made a saint) died here in 1093. The chapel built in her honor by her son, King David I, is Edinburgh’s oldest building.
As we approached the area, I moved over to the right to just take a seat on the stone wall and just take it all in. Telisa had moved to the other side and was not really talking very much. I felt kind of helpless in the moment, knowing that anything I said was not going to help matters and I figured the best thing was to let her process what was happening to her. But I wanted to share my amazement with someone – so I called my husband. I literally had tears in my eyes – not tears of sadness or anger, but amazement at what I was seeing. That castle was absolutely beautiful at night.
After I hung up and sort of took a deep breath, I turned around to find Telisa and see if she was feeling better. Lo and behold, she came over and sort of laughed and shared that she had a zen moment and sort of let it all go. I smiled, honestly thrilled for her, because at the end of the day, there was nothing any of us could do. We were at the mercy of the airlines. She told me she and her sister had this saying, “But did you die?” and it sort of put everything in perspective. No one died. We were in one of the most historical and beautiful cities in the world and we were able to laugh and move on.
Once we got back to the B&B, we freshened up and headed around the block to Barony Bar for dinner.
We had small feast of sorts: Scotch egg, Cheese platter, Chicken, Chips, fried prawns and so many other little things.
We ended the evening on a high note- bellies full and a promise from Air France and the Edinburgh Baggage folks that by 10:30 on Wednesday morning, Telisa would indeed have her luggage.
We packed our bags up because the next morning we had another adventure: Driving to Stirling and Inverness! Stay Tuned for that HILARIOUS leg of the trip!