We’re Exploring: Edinburgh, Day Three – Castle Day

9AM wake up call….and it is pouring rain outside, I truly am in Scotland.  This morning I do make it down for a lavish Champagne breakfast with,  yes, more smoked salmon with beautifully roasted tomatoes and a chilled glass of bubbly, along with a pot of hot tea….it is early.

And I am off to explore Edinburgh Castle with an initial stop at the Saturday Farmers Market on Castle Terrace right under the castle.

Gary and I love exploring markets.  We love to see different ingredients, produce, and products from different areas.  One of our favorite parts of last years trip to the Northwest was exploring Granville Island in Vancouver and Pike Place market in Seattle.

The Edinburgh market is set up each Saturday from 8am-2pm with merchants selling their goods.  Slightly different than some markets we have been to, there were more protein and cheese merchants here, along with craft and spirit sellers, with only a handful of fresh produce vendors, but all were beautiful.

My favorite, of course, was a spirit vendor of liquors made with fresh fruits called “Scots Cheer.”  The best creation was an English vodka steeped with fresh blueberries to create a sweet, lively spirit that was good for you…well, that is my story that I am sticking to.

And on to the castle.  Below is my journey through one of my most moving and completely historic adventures.  Cheers to the beauty of Scottish roots.

The One O'Clock Gun - shot off every day except Sunday at 1pm to help sailors in Leith Harbor know the time

Queen Mary's Bedchamber where James VI was given birth

The Great Hall
Patrick Hamilton's Crest
Prisoners of War Barracks
Carvings on the door to the Prisoners of War Barracks

After the castle I walked back down Rose Street and pop into a cozy pup called The Black Cat who is advertising a 2.50 pound “dram of the month” and “pint of the month” special…I pop in for a dram of this months special – a 12 year old Singleton of Dufftown from Speyside.

Very smooth with fruity orange and spice and perfect served neat with a sip of water on the side.

As I sat at The Black Cat sipping my dram, reading my book and enjoying the ambiance of the room I reflected on my three days in Scotland.  It was a big step for me in general, as I had never traveled abroad before by myself.  It would have been tougher in Italy or France where the language barrier may interfere, but this was just like traveling anywhere in the States, just with older buildings and castles.

The people were friendly, helpful and welcoming….and the spirits couldn’t be beat.

There are so many places that Gary and I want to go together that I am not sure I will make it back to Edinburgh, but I would like to as it is a glorious city with a story around every corner.

When I come out of The Black Cat the sky has cleared and I have one final opportunity to see Edinburgh in majestic glory.