Not that I ever need an excuse to take a trip, but the Oldest graduated from college with Honors in May, 2018. With a secure job he wasn’t due to start until August, it was the perfect time to embark on a two week journey to Scotland and Ireland. Edinburgh was our first destination.
The Oldest and I landed in Edinburgh well rested after our first class flight on British Airways from JFK. I looooooooove to fly first class on an eastbound, redeye, overseas trip. I also loooooooooove finding such flights using points, specifically “point saver” deals. This one was booked utilizing 100,000 Avios Points (50k apiece) transferred through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
We got a particular kick out of having seats in the Upper Deck of the 747. It felt like we were on a private jet!
Our first glimpse of Scotland, landing over the Firth of Forth (say that ten times fast):
Ah, Scotland. Sunny, bright, and hot, just the way it’s supposed to be. Wait, what?
We may have been well rested, but finding the Airlink Bus, which involved reading signs (in English) and following arrows, was more challenging than it should have been. I should note here that we packed lightly for this trip – a carry on + backpack each – and now only 30 minutes after landing, I was extremely glad for this as we wandered this way and that, in 85 degree temps, searching for the bus.
The bus ride was fine, but it was also our introduction to a key feature of both Scotland and Ireland in the summertime: AIR CONDITIONING IS NOT REALLY A THING.
Our AirBnB was a quick, uphill walk from Waverly bus station. I highly recommend Allan’s 2 BR apartment, which was well appointed and extremely convenient. https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/531292 We never met Allan during our stay, but he was kind enough to leave us a few Scottish goodies as a welcome gift. The best part was a window seat with a corner view of lower High St. aka “The Royal Mile” aka Canongate and Jeffrey St./St. Mary’s St.
After a quick and tasty pub lunch at the No. 1 High Street Pub right below our apartment, we started exploring by walking, uphill, in the direction of Edinburgh Castle at the top of High Street. We ended up making a loop which took us through the bucolic Princes Street Gardens, where many locals were soaking up the bright sunshine. We sat right on the grass and took in the park scenery:
We shortly found our way uphill to the beergarden above Waverly mall, which was lively with a happy hour crowd watching the World Cup.
After the beergarden stop, we made our way back uphill toward our apartment. But not without another stop, at the Whiski Room on High Street, where the a one-man band playing pop tunes with backing tracks drew us in. We quickly made friends with Dave, who seemed to know everyone in the pub. For my first (but not last) taste of Scottish charm, Dave insisted that I couldn’t possibly be Oldest’s mother, because I was only 32! LOL. He bought us a round of drinks, which we returned in kind.
It was a later night than we intended for Day 1, but we enjoyed lots of laughs before walking uphill to our Edinburgh home.