Edinburgh Title Image

Day 13 of our trip was a day of travel. We had a four hour train ride from Kings Cross Station in London to Waverly Station in Edinburgh. We took this train on our last trip and was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable and enjoyable the ride was. This year though, I should have called this our Friday the Thirteenth day. The day was filled major travel stress and a bit of comedic errors along the way

We arrived in Kings Cross in plenty of time (it was a fifteen minute walk from our hotel). The place was jammed packed with travels (yeah, probably shouldn't have scheduled the trip for a Sunday). Everything was going fine until we looked up at the Departure Boards to see that ALL trains to Edinburgh had been cancelled. There was a break in the track somewhere North of Newcastle upon Tyne. Mild panic ensured for several very long minutes.

Then we heard the announcement that all passengers for Edinburgh could take any North bound train and make connections as necessary to get to Edinburgh. Then we got to experience the British free-for-all when it came to boarding trains. We managfed to find two seats on a train to Leeds which was a bit over two hours away, while the aisles were chock-a-block with people standing. At the Leeds station, we caught a local-train to York which should have taken twenty minutes but instead took over an hour since we stopped at every tiny train station along the way. Of course on this short leg, we were the ones standing in the aisles, jammed in like the proverbial sardines. We compared it to riding the Boston T at rush hour.

From York, we waited about half an hour for our final leg to Edinburgh. Keep in mind that all of this was done on the fly. No one helped direct us and, surprisingly, no one ever checked our tickets. In York we took the first available car we came to which happened to be First Class. We had seats once again for the hour and a half trip into Edinburgh. We sat across from a wonderful Scottish couple who were on their way home. They told us that this type of mess happened on a regular basis. And I had been so impressed with the British rail system on our last visit :-) .

A little over seven hours later, we stepped off the train in Edinburgh. Exhausted from both the trip and from the stress it caused. While this wasn't as stressful as having a flight canceled and trying to rebook, it was chaotic and panic-inducing at times. Especially since we were essentially homeless until we got to Edinburgh. Thankfully, that was the only real miscue of our entire trip. It definitely wasn't as expensive as our flat-tire story from our previous trip to Scotland.

Day 14

After our event-filled day of travel, we spent today wandering the streets of Edinburgh. We visited places that we had two years ago, as well as a lot of new places. And there is so much more to see. The weather started out cloudy and rainy (what did we expect in Scotland, right?) but cleared up to partially cloudy skies much later in the day. While Edinburgh is one of our favorite cities to visit, we only planned for one day here on this trip. Fortunately, we're planning a return visit in 2024 where we'll spend a bit more time in the city before we head off to the highlands.

Holyrood Palace Palace of Holyrood - The Palace of Holyroodhouse is the official residence of the British manarch in Scotland. This view is from Carlton Hill.

Nelson Monument Horatio Nelson Monument - A commemorative tower in honor of Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson. It is situated on Carlton Hill and was built betweeen 1807 and 1816 to commemorate Nelson's victory over French and Spanish Fleets at the Battle Of Trafalgar in 1805. The tower is in the form of an upturned telescope, an object closely related to Admiral Nelson.

Old Edinburgh Old Edinburgh - View of Old Edinburgh from Carlton Hill. On the right is the Balmoral Hotel tower, Edinburgh Castle is in the center and Tollbooth Kirk is the tower on the right. The cranes near the castle are installing seating for the Royal Tattoo held during the summer.

Portuguese Cannon Portuguese Cannon - The ‘Portuguese Cannon’ tells several chapters of European expansion. Bearing a Spanish royal coat of arms – Spain ruled Portugal at the time- it was sent out in the 17th century for service in the Portuguese Indies, stretching from Mozambique to Macao. The cannon then got into the hands of the rulers of the Arakan (west coast of today’s Burma/Myanmar) from where in 1785, according to the Burmese inscription, it was taken to Mandalay. In 1885, Upper Burma fell to British forces and the cannon was exhibited at the Edinburgh Fair of 1886 and after that, taken to Calton Hill.

Mercat Cross Edinburgh Mercat Cross - The Mercat Cross of Edinburgh is a market cross, the structure that marks the market square of Edinburgh. It stands in Parliment Square next to St. GIles Cathedral. As elsewhere in Scotlan, important civic announcements were made at the Mercat Cross. The practice of announcing successions to the monarchy and teh calling of parliamentary genral elections is continued to theis day by heralds of the Lord Lyon King of Arms.

St. Giles St. Giles Cathedral Transcept - Ceiling and stained glass of the cathedral's transcept looking East.

St. Giles Crypt Marquess of Argyll Crypt - Archibald Campbell, Marquess of Argyll, Chief of Clan Cambell, was a Scottish nobleman, politician and peer. He was the de facto head of Scotland's government during the 1640s and 1650s. He fought against the Stuart monarchy's atempts to impose episcopacy, fighting to keep the Presbyterian religion. He was beheaded in 1661 after being accused and found guilty of conspiracy against the monarchy.

St. Giles St. Giles Cathedral Transcept - Ceiling and stained glass of the cathedral's transcept looking West (towards the cathedral entrance).

St. Giles Organ St. Giles Cathedral Organ - The present organ in St. Giles Cathedral, built in 1992, stands in the South transcept. It is the fourth organ to reside in the Cathedral.

Tollbooth Kirk Tollbooth Kirk / The Hub - The Hub is a public arts and events building near the top of the Royal Mile. It is the highest poiint in central Edinburgh. It was originally constructed as a meeting hall for the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. In the mid 1980s it was transformed into its current use.

St. Giles St. Giles Cathedral - St. Gile's Cathedral, aka the High Kirk of Edinburgh, is a parish church of the Church of Scotland. The current building was begun in the fourteenth century on grounds of the original Romanesque church built in 1124. In 1559, the church switched from Catholism to Protestanism, an event led by John Knox. It has served multiple purposes including serving multiple congregations, a prison and as a meeting place for the Parliament of Scotland.

Cockburn Street Cockburn Street Entrance - Cockburn Street was created as a serpentine link from High Street (aka The Royal Mile) to Waverley Station in 1856. The street sliced through the previous medieval pattern of closes in order to give a mroe gentle gradient and wider thoroughfare to the train station. The street is dominated largely by four storied buildings with a twelve story City Chambers building at one end. This is evidence of Edinburgh's fondness for high-rise structures dating back to the 19th century.

Charlotte Chapel Charlotte Chapel - Charlotte Chapel (officially known as Charlotte Baptist Chapel) is an evangelical Baptist church located on Princes Street. The congregation was established in 1808 by Christopher Anderson, a young Edinburgh businessman.

St. Cuthbert Kirk St. Cuthbert Kirk - St. Cuthbert is a parish church of teh Church of Scotland in Central Edinburgh founded in the mid-seventh century. The current church was built between 1892 and 1894 to replace a Georgian church.

St. Cuthbert Kirkyard St. Cuthbert Kirkyard - Surrounding St. Cuthbert Church is a cemetary housing graves dating back to the early 1500s. In the background is St. John's Episcopal Church.

Edinburgh Castle Edinburgh Castle - Perched on Castle Rock in the center of the city, Edinburgh Castle hs been occupied by humans since the early Iron Age. There as been a royal castle on the rock since the reign of Malcom III in the 11th century. The castle remained a royal residence until 1633. After than, it was primiary a military garrison. This view is from Princes Street Garden below Castle Rock.

Scott Meonument Sir Walter Scott Monument - The Scott Monumen is a Victorian Gothic monument to Scottish author Sir Walter Scott. It stands in Princes Street Gardens near Edinburgh's Waverley Station, which is named after one of Scott's Waverley novels. The tower is 200 feet six inches in height and has viewing platforms at various levels reach by a series of spiral staircases.

Day 15

Here are the links to the other parts of our 2023 trip, listed in the order we visited: