Peering out the tiny window, the iconic Forth Road and Forth Rail bridges came into view as our plane made its descent toward Edinburgh. I smiled at the sight of them, my heart pounding with excitement while I gazed at the rolling hills beneath me. After a sleepless night cramped in my seat, I was eager to land and begin enjoying a wonderful vacation with my husband.
Upon arrival at the airport, we discovered it to be similar in size to our hometown’s airport. We easily made our way through Customs, and then onto the baggage claim area. Stepping outside a short time later, I slowly breathed in the fresh air; relishing the warm sunshine hitting my face. Aah… we’d finally made it to Scotland.
Anticipation trumping exhaustion, we quickly boarded a double-decker bus to take us into the city center. Settling into our seats on the upper level, my husband grinned at me. And I knew why. It was our first ride on a double-decker bus. I matched his grin and removed the camera from my backpack as the bus eased away from the curb and headed for Edinburgh— on the opposite side of the road.
Entering traffic, I cringed at the numerous cars I envisioned crashing into us because my brain was still running on American convention. The camera shaking slightly in my hand, I told myself to focus on the scenery instead of the road. Outside the window were historic churches with spired steeples, old stone buildings high on a hill, and colorful trees and flowers in bloom for the spring season.
When we turned onto Waverley Bridge, my husband tapped me on the shoulder to signal our bus ride was over. Soon we were climbing what felt like an endless flight of stairs up to Giles Street where we found our hotel and dropped off our bags to go grab a bite to eat at the café next door. We looked like crazy tourists as we took pictures of our plates and drinks to commemorate our first meal in Scotland!
Our hunger satisfied and our excitement mounting, we ventured outside in the direction of our first tourist attraction: The Edinburgh Castle. While my husband soaked in the history of the castle and admired the cannons, I began taking pictures, all the while fighting the tremendous urge to run around in circles shouting, “I’m at a castle! Woohoo!”
My husband was grateful that I didn’t succumb to my urge, but instead joined him in calmly touring the grounds and the Crown Jewels exhibition. The crown was pretty spectacular, and I couldn’t help but notice that my husband’s eyes lit up when he spotted the sword and sceptre. I’m almost certain he was imagining himself as a valiant knight on a horse, armed for battle with his trusty sword.
After a fun day exploring the castle, it was time to do some shopping and sightseeing on The Royal Mile. Having successfully found the perfect wool sweater for my dad’s souvenir, we then visited The Writers’ Museum and St. Giles Cathedral. Along the way, I paused to snap a quick picture of the bagpipe player standing on the sidewalk. Love the kilts!
Leaving the bagpipe player behind, we eventually found our way to a local restaurant to have dinner. My husband ordered fish and chips with “smashed” peas— at least that’s what he told his friends on Facebook while he sipped an Irn-Bru for the first time. His UK friends got quite the chuckle from his message since he’d meant to say “mushy” peas. I think it will be a while before he lives that one down!
The air was cool by the time we left the restaurant and headed back to our hotel to meet up with one of our friends from Fife. Maureen, who runs Cameron Tours with her husband, came by to say hello to us, even though we weren’t able to go on the Kingdom of Fife tour with her because of problems with our flight out of the States. We had a great visit! My friend, Alex, was right— Fifers are extremely friendly.
Finally, bidding farewell to Maureen, we returned to our room. Reliving the day, our tired bodies sunk wearily into the feather-soft mattress. Ooh, so relaxing compared to the plane seat I wasn’t able to sleep in the night before! Closing my eyes, I heard the sound of laughter drift in through the open window, followed by a peaceful silence. Good night, Edinburgh. Thanks for the memories.