As we continued to drive north into Scotland the scenery became more and more beautiful. The countryside was filled with blue skies and green grass. There were fields and fields of yellow flowers and sheep/horses/cows roaming around. Who says it rains in Scotland? It was a little chilly but the sun was shining. We arrived in Edinburgh which was our first stop. We again were staying at a Marriott (we can always count on the Marriott to have hot showers, fluffy pillows and a real bed. The executive lounges are also a bonus because we get complimentary coffee/tea/drinks and snacks). We checked in and then went straight for the bus stop which was conveniently across the street. It was only 1.30 pounds each and a 20 minute ride took us directly into the city center.
WOW…Edinburgh can make your jaw drop when you first drive into the city. It’s massive castle sits as the main view-point overlooking the city. To one side of Princess Street is the old town. The buildings are centuries old and the detail in the architecture will have you stopping every few minutes to take another picture. On the other side of Princess Street is the new town which is where all the name brand stores are located for shopping. We quickly realized the 2 days we had allotted to spend here was not even close to enough time. We could easily stay a week in this area. We decided to focus mainly on old town since we wanted to see and feel the history.
As soon as the bus dropped us off we saw the “hop on hop off” buses were right next to us. We had jumped on these before and it was a great way to get a good summary of the area. As we were inquiring about the tour, a stranger came up to us and handed us 3 free tickets (12 pounds each) because they had already done the tour and the tickets are good for 24 hours. We thankfully took them and got on the last tour of the day. This one had a live tour guide instead of the automated recording. The tour was about an hour and drove us around the old town talking and showing us things we wouldn’t otherwise have known. They pointed out one of the older buildings which dated back to the times when waste was just thrown out the window. The building had its viewing windows which didn’t open but then below each window were what looked like little wooden cupboards. These opened and the waste was thrown out onto the street. They also pointed out a statue of a dog named Greyfriars Bobby. We had heard about this dog from the traveling writer Curtis in York. Legend has it that this dog was so loyal that once his owner passed away and was buried in the cemetery…the dog would sit at his grave everyday for 14 years until he died and was buried next to him. You can visit the dogs grave right behind the bar named after him. We saw other major sites and were then dropped off right where we started.
It was now pretty cold and starting to rain so finding ourselves in the pubs seemed like the right thing to do. We found a couple small but authentic looking pubs and sat at the bar to chat with various locals as we sipped on what they call “real” beer…it’s not quite as chilled nor as bubbly as the beers in the states because it still has active yeast and hops in it and the extreme cold temperatures would ruin it and take away from the taste. After a couple pints we hadn’t walked around in the super cold and windy weather for too long when we found a restaurant. it was a little wine bar and we ordered soup and salad while sitting in the corner window seat. After our late dinner we got back on the bus and went back to our place.
Published by Giff Kabat
I grew up in Ohio as a kid, so of course I went to college at “THE” Ohio State University. I graduated in 2001 with a major in business finance. A month after graduation, I moved out to California with my college girlfriend (whom I married in 2005)…and started my career in sales (industrial sales for 5 years…then moved into medical laser sales for 4 years).
In 2009 I was 31 years old. I had a great job, a new house, and a beautiful wife. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better…my wife and I found out we were going to have a baby. Everything was going according to plan…and I couldn’t have scripted a better life for myself.
Then in the same year…everything changed. My wife, Brandey, called me when I was on my way to work and told me over the phone, something I never thought could be possible in a million years. My beautiful 30-year old pregnant wife was just told that she had breast cancer. At that moment, everything stopped all at once. I immediately went to her…and learned of our new plan…which began with her needing surgery immediately…and the rest we would find out later.
The day we returned from the hospital after Brandey’s surgery…my father died. He had been battling an aggressive cancer of his own…and although he was the one person I wanted to speak with about Brandey having cancer…I never told him. My sister, Brooke, had just gotten married a few months ago, and although he was weak, he was able to walk his little girl down the aisle of her wedding. On the night before my sister’s wedding, Brandey and I told him that we were pregnant and about to make him a grandfather. It made no sense to tell him that everything had changed for us…so he died in peace knowing everything was “the way it should be” for his only 2 children.
2010 was the worst year of my life. We had lost our baby…and for 12 months I watched my wife fight cancer with multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and drug therapy. It was a difficult year for us…but we made it. When you go through something like this in life, you learn a lot about yourself and the people around you. I was amazed at the strength and courage of my wife…and how many good people there are in this world. I will be forever grateful for the ones who never ceased to amaze me with their kindness during this hard time. Family, friends, and sometimes complete strangers…helped us make it through this. I am, and will always be especially grateful to my mother, who was with my dad at the very end, when I couldn’t be there, and when things were at their worst. She has been so supportive throughout all of this, and without her everything would have been so much harder for me.
It’s 2011 now…and the plan we have for our life this year…is to make it the best year of our lives. Brandey is officially in remission from breast cancer and she has a 95% chance the cancer will never come back. Besides the love that I have for my wife and family, the loves of my life are food, wine, and adventure travel. My wife and I love traveling to new places, seeing natural wonders, and meeting new people from different parts of the world. So for the next 400 days…we’ve decided to travel the world…and celebrate our lives. There are so many things I took for granted in life that I will never take for granted again. My father worked for over 30 years at the same job with the same company…rarely took time off…and died at 64 years old right after his retirement. For me, this trip is a combination of a tribute to him, along with wanting to spend the time of my life with the “love of my life.”
* The only thing I will miss while we are gone is our family and friends (who we hope will meet us somewhere throughout our trip) and especially our 3 little kitties we left with my mom in Ohio to catsit for the next 400 days. I will also miss watching “American Football” over the weekend…but I’ll do my best to check the scores in the middle of the night.
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8 Replies to “Day 100 of 400: Edinburgh – Scotland”
What an amazing journey! I’m so happy for you guys that you are doing this. Enjoy every moment of your 400 days. After all your travels, I want to hear what your absolute favorite place in the world was. Great blog – thanks for sharing!
Thanks for checking in with us…we are loving our travels. Hope you are doing well:)
I have enjoyed following your travels..Grant & I have the same plan, just not all at once 🙂 We love seeing you go to the places we have loved seeing together and some we hope to travel to down the road. I wish I had seen your itinerary for Scotland sooner. We were married in a castle just outside of Edinburgh and had our “reception” on the Royal Mile at Deacon Brodie’s pub! Ha! Anyway, I loved revisiting Scotland with you and hope you have the most amazing 400 days of your lives together. Looking forward to your next adventure! We will be in Europe in July..so let us know where you’ll be! Love, Angie
Hey Ang! Glad to see you are checking in on our site:) We are having a blast and are learning new things and cultures everyday. I see now why you and Grant picked Scotland for your wedding…what an amazing place. I totally would have stopped into that pub when we were on the royal mile and taken a picture with a beer for you:) Where in Europe will you be? We will be in Italy the entire month…we would LOVE to meet up with you guys…let me know.
We will be in Italy too 🙂 More later but we will be flying in on July 2 and taking a cruise out of Venice on July 5/6 for 12 days and then back to Rome for a couple of days July 17/18. Hope we can meet up!
We will be in Umbria on the 5th and 6th…and 17/18 in Bologna. Will you be in Tuscany at all? Where does the cruise go? It’s too bad we aren’t on the same cruise…we leave out of Venice on a cruise on the 30th! We can see how far the train would be from Umbria to Rome…
Checking in on you guys. Trip sounds amazing! Lots Of love!
Having so much fun!! Hope you are doing good…I want to see a picture…are you still feeling good?