After our wonderful wedding, we had a marvelous honeymoon in Scotland and London. As most would expect, our honeymoon was filled with castles, graveyards, ghost tours, and hiking. So over the next few weeks, I’ll talk about our travels around Scotland and our time in London.
We began our honeymoon in Edinburgh, flying through Heathrow. We got to Edinburgh in the mid-afternoon. It was amazingly easy to get into the city. We found a bus right outside the airport doors that cost about £4.5 per person and it took us to the center of the city. A short thirty minute ride later, we made our way to the hotel, which had a brilliant view of the castle. We threw down our stuff and ran up to the castle. When we got there, it was about five to 4 and the castle closes at 5. The staff recommended at least 2 hours there so we decided to go the first thing in the morning so we could see everything we wanted.
So we trotted down the Royal Mile, which is lovely but very touristy. We ended up in St. Giles Cathedral, which was gorgeous. It has beautiful stained glass, a series of battle worn flags, and more. While we were there, an organist started to play. Absolutely beautiful!
We took a side road to find the statue of Greyfriars Bobby, the loyal dog. He is said to have waited at his master’s grave for 14 years. There’s now a statue commemorating him. We found ourselves in a cemetery during the Golden hour. The sun hit the gravestones just so. Beautiful.
We asked one of the shopkeepers about a place for some tea and a snack and discovered that we were in the area where J.K. Rowling had written Harry Potter in several coffee shops. He told us of one place nearby so naturally we went to a place known as the Elephant House. It was lovely. It had a dual theme of elephants, which readers know are one of my favorite animals, and Harry Potter. I went into the Lady’s room and found it covered in Harry Potter graffiti. Someone had written “Alohomora” on the lock! Very cool. It was neat. A cup of tea and some tapenade was what we needed.
We decided to check out Mary King’s Close. Basically, there are lanes or paths leading off the Royal Mile called closes. Each one has a specific name. People lived and worked in them. Mary King’s Close got boxed in when they built a government building on it. Many of the lower levels (not leveled by the construction) have been preserved. You can take tours of the rooms and learn a little bit about the history. People of all classes would live in the close so we saw different styles of rooms. There are several places that were haunted. One particular room has a giant pile of toys, mostly stuffed animals, as a result of a psychic encountering a ghostly girl there. The pile itself was fairly creepy!
And there was an amazing story about a man who liked to show off his luxurious item: his toilet!
After our adventures in the underground warren of Edinburgh, we met up with a friend who had been living in Edinburgh for over a year. She brought us to some pretty nifty places. We had amazing cocktails at the Brambles, a bar that reminded me of the Violet Hour before it got too trendy. My husband had a drink with chartreuse in it and he said it was the first one that tasted good. I had my drink in a teacup! What a wonderful place.
And then, we went to a place so I could fulfill a dream I’ve had for 13 years. I finally had haggis. I had been wanting to try it since the summer before college. I remember driving home from a writing program in Iowa City and listening to Anthony Bourdain talk about it on an audio version of The Cook’s Tour. I remember him saying that if it wasn’t for the fact that it was served in a sheep’s stomach, it would be on every street corner in NYC. Our friend had the place to get top notch haggis and so we went.
The place was kinda like a comfort food place but for Scottish food. I ordered haggis with mash. And then it stood before me, my dream of 13 years. It was pretty good. It’s hearty and you really can’t tell it’s made from sheep innards. I liked it. I didn’t love it in the same way that Bourdain did but I’m really happy to have tried it. I would go onto have other versions of it in the coming days.
Our friend also shared with us some treats of Scotland, which was really awesome. She gave us a bottle of Irn-Bru, the national soda, tea cakes, and a tablet. Goodness, those tea cakes were amazing. They are basically marshmallow covered with chocolate on cookies. We ate them pretty quickly. I brought one box home and I’m sad that I didn’t buy more. The tablet is made from caramel and toffee (I think). Sweet and wonderful. As for the soda, not really our cup of tea. 🙂
Anyway, it was a super way to start off our honeymoon.
That’s all for now!