Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Edinburgh Castle, Cullen Skink, and Spooky Underground Tours!

Yesterday we went to see Edinburgh! Mom and I had a nice conversation on the train ride there, and figured out my short term life plan :) It was actually really nice to talk stuff through and get advice, and I'm feeling much better and calmer about my post-Scotland plans!

When we got into Edinburgh, we got right onto the Royal Mile. I showed them the Elephant House, we went by to pet Greyfriar's Bobbie, and then headed up to the castle! I had actually not toured the inside of the castle yet, so it was great fun to be able to see it! It sounds a little dumb to say, but castles are so huge! They seriously go on forever. We got a guided tour though, which really is the way to see places like that. Otherwise, you would probably miss a lot of it. Plus, we had dad, so we basically got two tours at once! Good deal!

After the castle, we wandered back down the mile, and stopped at a pub for lunch, where I tried Cullen Skink for the first time! It's basically clam chowder, except made with haddock and a slightly lighter milk base than clam chowder. Very very tasty! I definitely want to have it again. Then, we decided to try cranachan, because it's supposed to be an unmissable Scottish dessert. Turns out, you can miss it. It's basically just a lot of cream, which doesn't really suit any of us...we like our desserts intense  (like the toffee pudding at Molly Malone's...HOLY COW that's AMAZING).

Following lunch, we took our time window shopping down the rest of the mile, stopping whenever a shop caught one of our eyes. It was a really relaxing and enjoyable time. Down at the bottom, at Holy Rood House, we debated climbing Arthur's Seat, but it was getting dark and we didn't want a repeat of my attempt with Erika! So we walked back up, mom and I taking note of tea places so that when we go back later in the week we can have a nice tea.

When we got back up to the church, we decided to take on of the haunted tours of Edinburgh. The one that sounded the best to us was the underground one. The tour guide took us down into these tunnels, essentially, that run under Edinburgh. They were places for merchants to store their goods, but because the underground tunnels were built with limestone, all the moisture ruined their products. So, the merchants evacuated the area, and the scum of 17th century Edinburgh moved in. The tunnels go on on and on, but the tour only consisted of a small chunk of it. Believe me though, that was enough! It was so dark and clammy and creepy in there. Our tour guide told us about the sightings of various ghosts and the like down there. I have to say, it's easy when you're sitting in the sun somewhere to say that you don't believe in stuff like that, but when you're down in places like that, you really start to wonder.

After our tour we caught the train back to Stirling, and tried to find a place for dinner! I was originally going to show them my favorite curry place, but they were out of lamb, which is my favorite, so we decided to try again tomorrow (now today). The only other place still open, since restaurants close early here, was a Chinese buffet. But, it was actually tasty! I was pleasantly surprised, and would definitely go back. We also didn't realize how hungry we all were after a light lunch hours earlier.

After dinner they walked me back to my flat, and I gave them Rick Steves for their trip to Glasgow today. Since I had class today I couldn't go with them, which was unfortunate, but it's the only day I'm missing, so it's really not that bad. And I get to see them again in less than an hour to try my curry place again!

It has been so fantastic to have my family here and be able to show them all of my favorite places in Scotland so far. Tomorrow we're doing a day trip to Oban, which I haven't been to before, so I'm really excited! Dad went before, and he heard that the best fish and chips place is up there, so that's definitely something to look forward to! Also the scenery is supposed to be amazing or something.


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