Saturday, March 20, 2004

11:08 pm Edinburgh Day 1 The Castle

The usual: Molly Dog dropped off at the Kennel, packing, etc.


The mundane: Flights to London's Heathrow airport and then on to Edinburgh were, for the most part, uneventful. We were delayed leaving Heathrow because of high winds and it was raining when we arrived in Edinburgh. What else is new for the George's?


Well, it did clear up and, after unpacking at the Sheraton, we took a lovely long walk down Princes Street and got a feel for the layout of the area. Princes Street divides what is known as the New Town and the Old Town. The New Town area is, of course, not new (being several centuries old), but is new in comparison to the old town, which has been around from sometime around when the Northrumbrians conquered southern Scotland circa AD 638. When the MacAlpin kings and then Malcolm II (1005-34) repelled the Northrumbrians defeating them at Carham, the Castle Rock (the extinct volcano upon which Edinburgh Castle now sits) became Scottish. The next Malcolm, (Malcolm III or Malcolm Canmore, i.e. 'big head'), built a hunting lodge on the Rock. This is the Malcolm commemorated in Shakespeare's Macbeth. As you can see, in Edinburgh, 'old' and 'new' are relative terms.


Speaking of the bard, we took our first Pub visit at Shakespeare's, which is conveniently visible just outside our window and just below our partially obscured view of Edinburgh Castle. Beth (or Elizabeth as she is known in her MPI circles) asked me to get her a hard cider, but I had forgotten that the term in the British Isles is just cider. The cordial bartender informed me that if I wanted the cider 'hard' I would probably have to stand outside in the rain with it. I had a pint of 70 sterling McEwan's (sterling is a measure of the beer's thickness) and an interesting club sandwich having forgotten that bacon here is more like sliced ham.


We picked up a couple of travel size single Malts for the room, a 12 year old Glen Garioch highland for Beth and a 10 year old Bruichladdich islay for me. With the weather as it stands (blustery, somewhat rainy and cold) I figure I'll be imbibing more Scotch than playing golf as I had originally planned.


For dinner, we dined at a lovely spot called 'Keepers' in the New Town area (I thought there might have been a 'Finders' across the street, but no one else seems to share my tasteful humor) and walked back to the hotel discovering a fascinating pedestrian walkway in Rose Street, chock full of Pubs and interesting restaurants. We finished our first evening with single malts at the hotel a 1978 Port Ellen for me, an 18 year old Glen Morangie highland for Beth. We now know what a 'wee' dram is. About three sips.


Tomorrow, we sleep in a castle. So ends Day One.





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