Scotland 13 and 14

Our mornings have been slow in the highlands so far, but today we were off in the morning to make it up to Eilean Donan castle, one of the most well preserved  castles in Scotland. 

We drove about two hours to get that far west from Inverness and didn’t have WiFi reception which we were thankful for, as it gave us a little break from all the panic inducing travel news. The drive was so beautiful! I wish we had gotten pictures while driving up as it was sunny and we saw about 30 deer, more than half of them stags, and wild goats that were all black and had really long slightly curved horns. They were right by the road so it was easy to see. We did get pictures going back but it was overcast by that time. 

The castle tour was not included in the explorer pass because it is still privately owned, however, it was well worth the visit, mainly due to a employee they have named Richard MacLeod. As we were just started walking into the castle we were in the banquet hall and a man stationed in that room took a shine to our family, particularly impressed with how kind Caidoc was to Azelie, mentioning that over and over. As a result, we got a private tour, the kids got to see into special 750 year old spy holes! He even quickly told us he wanted to take our picture for us! In this castle pictures of any kind are forbidden so, after checking the coast was clear he took some very nice photos of us using what he called “highland zoom” since he doesn’t know how to “use these contraptions” . 

Richard then told us all about where else to go and encouraged us to jet over to Skye, and a view point we couldn’t miss that “Johnny goggle doesn’t even know about!” 

Quartz that Caidoc found on the Loch banks!

We had such an awesome day! We are so thankful we’ve had such great interactions with the locals. And I am thrilled we got to see Skye. Maybe not a lot, but as Richard said, “Well, ye have come all this way now, ye have to set foot on Skye even if just a wee bit!” 

The skye bridge
The skye bridge
On the road back to Inverness

Our time in Scotland was more than we could have hoped for. We bonded as a family so much! And it was amazing how much the kids embraced the change and adventure (we walked ~75 miles in the two weeks!). I have to say, Chris and I are pretty unstoppable as a team. It was a joy to spend so much time with him since that was rare during grad school.  

I can’t pick a favorite part so far, but I’m just so grateful we could have this amazing adventure! You’ll have to tune back in for Chris’s post, which will detail how exactly we spent our last two days in Scotland trying to get home amid the coronavirus mayhem! Haha! 

Thanks for following along everyone!

Scotland day 11 and 12

The highlands have been some of the most beautiful country I have seen. We have gotten incredible weather and we are very grateful. It’s not hot by any means, but it’s been sunny and clear. Today the kids actually got really warm and shed their coats and sweatshirts. 

After a slow morning we went to Urquhart Castle located right on Loch Ness. Folks, this place blew my mind. The sun was full out, it was warm on our faces while breathed in that fresh air. I got to sit on a bench and nurse Cosima while listening to the waves splash against the stones of the castle and it was heavenly. I imagine it’s exactly why this place has been a castle site since the time of the Picts more than 1400 years ago. St Columba was the first person to be recorded as a visitor here, baptizing the Picts. According to legend St Columba saw the Loch Ness monster on that visit! 

View from the entry towers
Living space in that tower
Pensive baby watching loch ness from what used to be a kitchen
View from the living space tower
Most of what is left
I mean talk about a home with a view!
Shows the fort progression
Ask Caidoc about his favorite part of this castle . I didn’t get a picture so he could explain it all 😊

This area is just gorgeous! If you see the pictures below you’ll see what I mean. 

The next day we went back to Loch Ness to play around near the water. It was very fun and relaxing. We didn’t do much else that other than a short walk around town sending some postcards.

We found Nessie!

Scotland Day 9 and 10

On day 9 we spent the day traveling up to the highlands, taking a quick stop in the Cairngorm mountains (where it was snowing much to our delight!) and then just shopping for groceries and settling into our next air bnb and taking a short walk along the River Ness.

The highlands already feels slower and cozier. Our air bnb is fantastic and we are almost right on the River Ness. We went for a walk in the morning after we got in and you wouldn’t believe it, just five hundred feet down the street is the small ruins of a Black Friers (Dominicans) priory build in 1225. I cannot believe it! We didn’t spot it before and it’s all but built over with a modern factory but it’s there. Most of the graves are not legible but a plaque stated that the friers were there caring for the people in the remote highlands, relying on donations to stay alive. They were driven off in the reformation.  The oldest parts of the priory are the knight effigy, and the column you see in these pictures. The graves we could read were mostly families, which was sad because in most of the cases the one or both of parents survived the children- lots of babies and young children were buried before their parents followed. Or the whole family but two of the kids survived till they were in their forties then they both died too. I wonder what happened? 

Zelie with the knight effigy

Our walk led us to Leakeys Book Store an purveyor of old and rare books, along with all the usuals. It is situated in an old church, with an open wood burning stove in the center. While this makes a very cozy place, it seems not the ideal situation for a place full of highly flammable material, haha! 

After the book shop we went to the Victorian and market, just down the street. A popular tourist trap but fun to look around.

Victorian market

After lunch at home we headed out to the Calva Cairns and Culloden Moor. Culloden Moor was a somber, but beautiful place. It is heart breaking to think of the devastation that happened there. One stainless steel plaque stated that a cross they had found on the ground might have been left by a Jacobite who was charging forward or either fleeing the battle field. “Fleeing the battle field” had been scratched out by some metal instrument- the highland folk have not forgotten. 

The rebuild of the Croft on the field
Clan stone
Huge cairn built in remembrance of the clans

I saw a highland cow there too so I was pretty excited about that. 

The prettiest cow! There was a blonde and redhead

The Clava Cairns are Bronze Age burial grounds, well, one or two of the cairns were. They are guessing as to the for sure use of the third. They were amazing!! Chris and I hypothesized all the possible reasons they had for building them. The opening of the biggest cairns line up so that the midwinter sun on the shortest day of the year,  shines right through the opening, midwinter would have been the hardest time for these people; the stores of summer running out, and the daylight scarce. Chris and I thought it must have been a religious reason they built these in order to line up with the sun that particular way, at that particular time. Pretty amazing. It made me think of how out of touch with nature we are as a society now.  

I mean wow! How?!
Rock art carved from the Bronze Age

Deeper under one of the cairns they have found Neolithic flint pieces. Can’t you believe it?! So the think these have been in use for much longer. I encourage you to read about this more, it is so interesting! 

We went home and had dinner- Cullen Skink for Chris and I, and cock-a-leekie soup for the kids. We loved the Cullen skink but were not fans of the cock-a-leekie. We can’t wait to go monster hunting at Lock Ness and Urquhart castle tomorrow! 

Scotland Day 8

We took a day trip to Stirling today, which is about an hour west-ish  of Edinburgh. The trip went just fine, it poured rain and was very windy which actually made for a cozy trip. The kids are loving their audiobooks and Chris said the driving wasn’t as hectic as driving in Edinburgh proper. 

We went to Stirling Castle which was also built on a volcanic craig like Edinburgh castle. The castle was added on and rebuilt several times but James the V is the most well known monarch who influences are still seen. The views were incredible! We loved spying the William Wallace monument from the battery. The sun came out just as we parked, we have had the best weather so far! 

Stirling castle
View from the battery

Notice the orange-ish looking building in the castle? That is the palace of James the V only recently (2011) reopened by the queen. It is actually suppose to be that color! James has it like washed to make a statement about his reign (something like property would follow) and that is what is left of the original color. I definitely thought it was a messed up restoration at first haha! Stirling was one of the most kid friendly places yet. They had interactive set up everywhere. 

The wooden portrait carvings were all commissioned by James as well, during his time restoring the castle and building the palace. They were all originally painted bright colors.

Great hall in the palace

They had several staff dressed in period costume and they stayed in character. It was so cool! 

Robert the Bruce!
Can you spy the William Wallace monument in the distance?

We walked by the ruins of Saint Rude’s but we couldn’t go in. 

After Stirling we went to Doune castle, which was so close by we couldn’t miss it. It is a very popular film location (Monty python anyone?) and was the home of the duke of Albany who was regent for several Scottish monarchs. It was cool to see what a “lesser” castle looked like. Still massive! 

On our way home we stopped by the famous Kelpies! Mythical Scottish water horses- although maybe we will dispel that “mythical” titles if we spot one at Loch Ness! These were as huge as advertised and so cool! It was quite the juxtaposition to see a some modern art after all these medieval castles.

After we rested at home for a bit, we did a quick jaunt out to the Royal Mile. It will be the last time we see it. I was rather sad. But we heard bagpipes and the kids spontaneously started dancing around and we looked at the epic views from the castle courtyard and it was wonderful. Who knows if we will ever be there again?  Chris and I decided we should bring the kids back before we take Caidoc to college, right before our 20 year anniversary. So, it’s a date ❤️. 

We walked six miles and thirty seven flights of stairs. So, I guess we weren’t done walking, oops. You’d never guess it though, as soon as we got back the kids were bouncing off the walls with a game that involved vaulting onto a bed, which had us all laughing. We start the “cozy” part of our trip tomorrow, as we drive up to the highlands. I will probably condense posts for that part as I’d like to be completely unplugged and we will be less busy. 

Scotland Day 7

We drove 1.5 hours out to Fife today, in order to visit the ruins of Saint Andrews cathedral and castle. We walked and drove past Saint Andrews University and the famous Saint Andrews Links. 

To get to the castle and cathedral we walked through the university, which was neat! The Saint Andrews cathedral ruins were massive. To imagine these were built by hand in the medieval ages is just mind boggling. Look at how small we are in these pictures! The cathedral was built in the shape of a cross, and once originally housed the relics of Saint Andrew. Saint Margaret (remember Saint Margaret’s chapel in Edinburgh castle? Same lady!) commissioned a ferry system in order for pilgrims to get to the relics of Saint Andrew. This cathedral was the seat of the Catholic Church in Scotland during that time, before that it was on the isle of Iona. 

St. Andrews university
St. Andrews castle
Castle. Azelie loves the audio tours, the explorer pass gets you a discount if not free
Artist reconstruction of the castle
View of the North Sea from the castle
Courtyard of the castle
The opening to the bottle neck prison .

In the ruins off to the left is the tower of Saint Rude. It’s folklore that he brought the relics to Scotland but historians agree it was mostly likely Saint Augustine.  So the tower was built before the cathedral. 

St. Andrews cathedral

The castle of Saint Andrews was not as big as the cathedral but right on the North Sea. It is famous for the murder of cardinal Beaton. Boy, the bottle neck dungeon was something out of a nightmare! We so enjoyed felling the North Sea and throwing rocks in the water. It was a windy but beautiful day. 

Tower of st rude
View of the cathedral ruins for the tower of saint rude
St. Andrews cathedral ruins
Ancient the crypt in the museum part of the cathedral

St. Andrews also has one of the rare Scottish Dominican friary ruins destroyed during the Reformation, but I didn’t get a picture of it sadly. 

Again, we were charmed by the lovely historical Scotland institution staff. They were very kind and loved the baby. 

On our way out we drove past the uber famous St. Andrews links- the birthplace of golf! Chris was very pleased but probably not as pleased as he was to check out al the cars on the drive up. The kids were champs in the car, listening to audiobooks the whole drive and Cosima slept some of the time. We packed our lunch per usual. We didn’t have to do much walking today- just 3 miles. 

Scotland Day 6

Going to Saint Mary’s Catholic cathedral was big on our list of musts for Edinburgh but we waited till Sunday, two birds, one stone and all. 

St Mary’s Cathedral

The biggest reason for our visit to this church in particular was to see and pray before the relics of Saint Andrew the apostle. Incredible opportunity and a blessing! I sort of felt like a pilgrim because of the walking and packing Pickle and then feeling very light and unburdened while praying even though I was still holding her. It felt like that picture in the illustrated Pilgrims Progress I grew up with, right near the end when the pilgrim’s burden has just stared to slip off in the blinding light of heaven. It’s hard to explain but there it is. 

C and A got to light candles as well for which they were very excited! Here is a link to more information about the relics, but to sum up the high lights; Saint Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland. During the reformation the original relics brought over by (probably) Saint Augustine, were lost due to that pesky John Knox sacking Saint Andrews cathedral (which we will see tomorrow). The Saltire, the flag of Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 is in the shape of the cross upon which Saint Andrew was killed. 

I didn’t get many pictures, we were a tad busy wrangling the littles to be quiet, and it wasn’t really appropriate to take pictures obviously. But what a blessing. Who knows if we will ever get an opportunity like that again!

We also visited the Princes Street gardens. Epic views of Edinburgh castle from there! 

A memorial statue to all the lost babies
Sir Walter Scott monument

In the evening we went for a walk in the Holyrood park , well, not really a walk, mostly just playing chase and climbing trees and getting Cosima her evening nap. But it was very fun. We got our first sprinkle of Scotland rain! It lasted about 3 minutes and there was an incredible rainbow right after! We can walk to Holyrood park from our flat in about five minutes. This was our last full day in Edinburgh, and it was perfect. 

Coming up our street
A tree fort in the distance with kids in it
You can see the ocean! Tomorrow we will see the North Sea

Chris said it should be noted that we *only* walked 18 flights of stairs, and 6.1 miles. We are done with the bulk of our walking so far I think, according to the itinerary. Personally, I’ve just loved it, and could walk around Edinburgh all day! If you’d have asked me I would have said we’ve walked like six miles total, I haven’t even noticed there is so much to see and do. We have had the best chats and experiences as a family just hanging out together on this trip. 

On a random note- Chris met our neighbors and their little boy wants to be American. He even is working on his American accent, haha! We didn’t mention it to them, but Caidoc keeps saying how much he loves the Scottish accent. He gets very quiet and listens when they talk then later tries to imitate it. It’s so cute! Chris and I cant get over how darling it is so hear little kids with the Scottish accent! 

Scotland Day 5

Today we did our first day trip from Edinburgh. After packing lunch and getting baby’s morning nap in, we started out. We didn’t go far, just about forty minutes outside the city to Linlithgow Palace and Blackness Castle. The weather held for us and was just overcast, had a tiny sprinkle of rain, then just windy.

Linlithgow Palace
The courtyard. It was epic, we could drive right up through the gate to park!

Linlithgow Palace is famous as the birth place of James the V and Mary Queen of Scots and royal retreat for the monarchs of Scotland. It was incredible, I cannot believe how massive this place was! Again, the kids had a blast running around and exploring. Chris and I were marveling at how much of the architecture is still intact, and the detail of the carvings on the fountain. The views of the loch sure are stunning.

I asked Azelie what she would think if she lived in a castle this big, and she said she would need a grown up with her at all times to not get lost. I told her she’s not wrong, I’d need one too, this place is huge!
Those tiles on the floor are original-from the 14th century.
This place was huge!
Inside the Palace was an array of objects that they have found
Right in the middle is a baby shoe
Chapel in the Palace
Dining hall

Right next to Linlithgow Palace is St. Michael’s church. A church has been on the site for over 1000 years. As you might have guessed, it used to be Catholic, before John Knox and his followers sacked it, destroying all the images in particular.
We met the sweetest locals here, particularly a lovely elderly couple. They called Caidoc’s hair red, so it’s official. He’s a red head. If a Scot said so it must be true right?

St Michael’s has a graveyard, and we ere looking around for he oldest ones we could. It was windy, but other than that the weather held for us.

We stopped at a little cafe that the elderly man suggested to us just a stones throw from the Palace.

After the Palace we went to Blackness castle, a ship shaped castle mostly for military use through out the centuries, even utilized in World War One and Two. Also probably lived in by my ancestors. Maybe. But probably not. But maybe!

Blackness castle to the right, officers quarters to the left
I was a big fan of this dining room
You can see the point of the ship shape
We have all the right clothes and shoes for this place so far! I’m very pleased with our preparedness.
The very top

As you see the the castle is located right on the water, and I mean, RIGHT, on the water. In the distance off to the right, you can see the Firth of Forth bridge, which is so odd to see such a new construction as a backdrop to these old castles! I didn’t get a clear picture of it, but it is a very picturesque white bridge.

Chris likes to tell me how much we’ve walked at the end of the day. His watch tells us it was 5.5 miles today, and 20 flights of stairs. This doesn’t included the evening walk around the town I took with Caidoc and Cosima to get some additional wiggles out ( yes, 5.5 miles wasn’t enough…).

The kids barely notice how much we are walking, which is great! The prep for the trip and the strategic visits to kid friendly places is really helping. Also they are just the best kids in the world. I am very impressed with the staff at all these locations so far, they are very kid and baby friendly, always offering explorer packs, or scavenger hunts for them to go on.

We ended the day with dinner and a rousing game of family charades.

Scotland Day 4

How can I even explain the awesomeness that was castle day? Today we started off by walking up the Royal Mile to Edinburgh castle. We have the explorers pass which gives us entrance to many locations all over Scotland, without having to wait in any ticket lines and saves lots of money. We are also traveling off season, and we are heartily reaping the rewards of next to no crowds or waiting.

Edinburgh castle is stunning from the outside, but the views from the battlements, with a bagpipe playing below in Princes Street gardens just smote my heart. I have read quite a bit on the history of the castle, and Chris dutifully listened to all my blathering the past few months so we felt pretty well informed. We got quiz sheets (they had these out for free everywhere so far) for the kids at this castle, but they didn’t really need any extra incentive because they were so excited about the massive cannon, the Crown Jewels ( known as the Honors of Scotland), the incredible views, and weapons. We couldn’t take many pictures of the insides, but my favorite part had to be St. Margaret’s chapel, the oldest building in Edinburgh.

The Scottish English crest

Just inside the portcullis

The inner tower. We probably didn’t miss much by not being able take pictures inside. After Robert the Bruce destroyed a lot of the castle, they have since changed the insides into displays of war memorials.

A burial site for officers dogs
St Margaret in the chapel

A replica of St Margaret’s gospel book
Here is the chapel, the oldest building in Edinburgh!

You can see Arthur’s Seat in the distance

Mons Meg! We were speculating how the heck they got those cannon balls into the cannon

Looking into the battlements from by the big cannon, and outside the chapel
The Walter Scott monument in the distance !
We couldn’t take pictures inside the national war museum but it was most impressive for the outside anyways

The Crown Jewels of Scotland were just amazing- as I said, no photos allowed but I’m all the more glad for that, since we could just soak it up. If you’re curious about what exactly those are, here is a link:

Displayed with the The Honours aka the Crown Jewels, is the Stone of Destiny. Which I strongly encouraged you to read about. It has the best back story!

After walking three and a half miles around Edinburgh castle and the Royal Mile, and trekking the equivalent of 15 flights of stairs, we headed back to the home base for lunch and rest before we headed out to Craigmiller Castle.

We saw a real live bagpiper on the way back to the car. The kids were slightly startled at how loud it was but they really liked it
Reading and food break
Craigmillar Castle

The kids has a blast running around this castle. It is one of the best preserved castles in Scotland, home to the famous Craigmiller Bond, the plot to murder Lord Darnley, (Mary Queen of Scots’ second husband). We practically had the place to ourselves. The receptionist gave us kid’s quizzes but the most fun that C and A had was exploring, which they were encouraged to do by the staff, since it is a safe and pretty indestructible place. I took so many photos since nothing was off limits. I’ve also decided the layout is perfect, and we can move in anytime.

Outer Courtyard
Two ancient yew trees planted in the courtyard. No one know exactly how old they are, but they were well established by Mary’s time. The history they have seen!
This placed passed hands as did most old castle, the family crest here is from one of the later families
Used to the kitchen, then it was converted to stables
I have so many pictures of this place, so I will only post some of them here but the kids just loved running around here!
The very top! You can see Arthur’s Seat in the distance and beyond that Edinburgh castle

I’m very grateful I “ trained” with the kids, they’ve been just rocking all this walking. Per usual, Cosima took her second nap (two hours!) at Craigmiller. Apparently the Scottish air agrees with her.

The “castle day #1” was an epic adventure! We are definitely seeing more castles on this trip, but this was one of the days where we got to visit two in one day! How lucky are we?

The rocky outcrop that the Preston family built this castle on. Notice the layers of the rock!
Caidoc wrote me a message in the courtyard ❤️
Surveying my new house

We walked over six miles and climbed thirty flights of stairs! We are having a great time moving so much, and the kids are really enjoying being outdoors so much. Scotland has been a great vacation with smaller kiddos.

Scotland Day 3

Today we went to a palace. Yes, a real live palace, I don’t think Azelie could have been more excited! 

The Palace of Holyrood House is still in use by the queen of England and is full of history of Scotland, well, the English side of things that is. I was so impressed with their audio tour options for kids, C and A could navigate them easily and were enthralled. Caidoc was especially pleased with being able to lead himself around and was astounded at the size of the dining room. Azelie saw a portrait of the queen and was surprised that, “she was so old. But that’s okay, she still does a good job running this place!” Hahah! 

We only have pictures of the outside since photography is not allowed on the inside. But I have to tell you, seeing Mary Queen of Scots room that she lived in for awhile was a TRIP! First of all, I almost died of claustrophobia going up her stairway, these people must have been Caidoc’s size. And her bed was bitty!! How did people this small build castles?! When you tour the palace you only see part of it naturally, the historical portraits, tapestries, carvings, and various special items such as a locket given to Mary by her second husband Darnley and a lock of Mary’s hair (they think). The rest of the palace is still in use by the queen and her family. It was pretty cool to walk up the grand staircase where many popes, presidents, and other officials have walked to have meetings with the queen, not to mention Mary queen of Scots herself!

The kids absolutely loved the tour and it really made it easy for Chris and I take it all in. Cosima slept in the Ergo the whole time.

Attached to the palace is the ruins of Holyrood Abbey. I find it sad it wasn’t kept up like the palace BUT I won’t go into that now. 

It. Was. Beautiful. On the audio tour your little screen does a live reconstruction of it, so you can see how much bigger it really was. It was totally gorgeous, still is actually. 

The palace has a family room, which is a interactive space for kids to play so we went there as well. 

After we finished that tour we went back for rest and lunch before starting off on another hike. 

Below Arther’s Seat is another hike called Salisbury Craig so we did that in the afternoon. It’s a much milder hike than Arther’s Seat but still had amazing views. At the foot of the path was a replica of an original well called St. Margaret’s Well.

We are getting all our mandatory hikes in before the rain starts in a day or two. I’m grateful it’s been this nice for so long! 

After our hike we went back to our Airbnb where I held down the fort while chris exchanged our rental car, the rental company gave us the wrong one. Check in tomorrow for one of our most exciting days yet- CASTLE DAY ! 

Ps. Please excuse all the spelling and grammar errors, as I am attempting to get each day down while it is still fresh in my mind and don’t have much time to edit. Time enough for that later!

Scotland 2020 Day 1 and 2

We made it! Our epic trip, several years in the making, finally became a reality and we are loving Scotland. We are so proud of Caidoc, Azelie, and Cosima, who all handled the long flights so well. Much to my surprise, Cosima had the least amount of difficulty on the flights, however that might be to due to being in the Ergo, or being nursed the whole time. She also was completely unfazed by pressure of the ears. Azelie was very tired, but remained so positive and cheerful. Caidoc, who refused to sleep, has retained his title of the Lidless Eye. He was a trooper despite the multiple time changes and wake time of about 20 hours.
There were several other kids and babies on our flights which was very reassuring! We even came across a Seattle mom, with a eight month old, on her way to join her husband and two year old in west Africa, where they are in the process of adopting her niece. You can meet the coolest people on airplanes!

Azelie loved the moving sidewalk in the airport

Our first five hours on the ground were fairly eventful. Our Airbnb host decided that we couldn’t check in early after all. After a sleepless transatlantic flight with three kids, you can imagine we were not thrilled. I had also started to feel odd on our last flight. After we packed up our car I started to feel worse and I the kids were rapidly falling apart. Chris was a champ navigating the roads as we tried to figure out what to do till we could get into our Airbnb. I had started to throw up and have other terrible sickness symptoms so we checked into a hostel for a few hours. All the kids went to sleep which, while this was a bummer for adjusting to the time zone, it worked out well for me so that I could take care of myself in the bathroom which was about two feet from the bed where the kids slept. I was pretty useless to to poor Chris (who was heroic, running around finding parking and a place to crash) because I was shaking uncontrollably. I had guessed what was going on pretty quickly; my kidney tubes can’t handle any extra pressure on them for long periods, something I discovered with my pregnancy with Azelie. And I guess the Ergo was too tight for too long. Well, after a couple hours I felt right as rain, and we woke up the kids and got to our Airbnb. We left the bags and went to the grocery store, just about a five minute walk away, and loaded up on all the essentials. We cooked dinner and crashed for the night.

The next day was fantastic! The weather has been incredible since we’ve been here, we haven’t seen a drop of rain. It’s been crystal clear and chilly. We walked the Royal Mile, and visited St Giles cathedral, which were just so beautiful! It was a great way to start our trip. We have planned this trip extensively, and have pre planned different locations grouped together by distance so this day was very efficient, using on our of pre planned “ Edinburgh days” that would be best with good weather.

Front of St Giles. We didn’t get pictures of inside because it cost money.
St Giles
Only pictures of the outside since pictures weren’t allowed inside without a permit
Adventure Crew 2.0
Caidoc was facinated with this clock tower
Edinburgh castle which we will visit inside another day
Edinburgh castle

Since it is so close, we also went to the Elephant House, were J.K Rowling wrote part of the second Harry Potter book! Talk about fun! The kids got treats, and the parents got coffee. The bathroom walls are covered in Harry Potter fans graffiti, and you can bet I signed the wall too. 

Of course we also had to walk down to Victoria Street that inspired Rowling to invent Diagon Alley!

The castle from The Elephant House

After our walk, we headed back to our Airbnb, had lunch and quiet time. We’ve divided most of our days into mornings and afternoons, since we are doing most of our meals here, and we all need some down time in between events. 

Our afternoon brought us our hike to Arthur’s Seat! We loved this hike! It was challenging but gorgeous! We walked from our Airbnb to the hike and inadvertently took the most difficult but shortest way up. Did I mention Cosima has been taking all her naps on our outings? It’s working great so far. 

On our way down from the hike we took a different path in order to see this ruin of St. Anthonys chapel. The kids were SO excited and Chris and I were on cloud nine visiting the first ruins of our Scotland trip!

The we walked back to Airbnb which is about four minutes walk from this hike. We made dinner, and the kids wrote about the day in these awesome journals I found for them to have on this trip!

I have more pictures I hope to attached to these posts eventually, but for neither this is it for day one and two. Check back tomorrow for day three!

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