High Atop Castle Rock

Edinburgh Castle dominates the skyline of this historic city. Located atop an extinct volcano, in the heart of Old Town, the fortress stands as a stark reminder Scotland’s more turbulent times, when wars were fought between countries and even between clans.

Touted as Scotland’s most visited landmark, Edinburgh Castle draws in more than a million visitors a year. We made our way to the top of the Royal Mile to explore this ancient castle and learn about its place in Scottish history.

Here are additional photos from our time

within the castle compound.

Looking toward the Firth of Forth, east of Edinburgh.

There has been a royal castle on this rock since the reign of King David I, in the 12th century. Most of the castle’s original structures were destroyed in the 16th century during the Lang Siege, due to artillery bombardment, with the exception of Saint Margaret’s Chapel, the Royal Palace and the Great Hall.

Stained glass window and huge painting in the Great Hall.

We spent time wandering in the castle prisons, where the somber energy was heightened by dark shadows and the interesting play of light in stone passageways and long, dormitory style rooms. There was a sacredness present there, that told of survival rather than captivity, and life rather than death. Some of my favorite photos of the castle were taken in the prison.

Hammocks strung above narrow cots.

I love the light finding its way through these shuttered windows. It symbolizes hope to me.

Although the prisons could be considered depressing, I found a resilient beauty in them. The stone chambers would have provided unyielding barriers to the men within, however, their souls were not contained. We viewed etchings and carvings the prisoners made on wooden doors and upon the stone walls themselves. The creative pictures were vital reminders of home and life and hope.

The One O’Clock Gun is fired every day, except Sunday, at precisely 1:00. It is a time signal, fired for the ships in the harbor, since 1861.

There is a castle tea house in the compound, where I enjoyed a cup of hot lemon grass and ginger tea.

We enjoyed our time on Castle Rock. The views of the city are amazing. I stood peering over the battlements, and imagined what Edinburgh looked like in the centuries past. Remove the cars and buses, and much of it probably looked the same as it currently does. I felt the solidness and permanence of this stronghold and my Scottish blood rejoiced.

The statues of Robert the Bruce and William Wallace were added to the gatehouse entrance in 1929. They stand as silent sentinels, defenders of Scotland’s freedoms. I feel the castle itself is a sentinel, watching over the city from atop its stony perch, a grounding force for Edinburgh’s residents and visitors. Long may it stand.

The Edinburgh Way of Life

On the fourth day of our three country adventure, my traveling companions and I took a short flight from Ireland to Scotland. Edinburgh Airport was our destination. Because the flight was so brief, we didn’t climb high above the earth. Instead, the countryside, rivers, buildings and houses were easily discernible from my window seat vantage point.

This was perfect for me. I watched intently as we flew low across the Borders and approached Scotland’s capital city. Although I enjoyed visiting Ireland and England, Scotland calls strongly to me. My soul answers that siren call, energetically stretching out ahead of my body to connect with my ancestral home.

I am not typically a big city girl. Joplin, with a population of 55,000, is just about the right size for me. How then to explain why this sprawling metropolis of almost half a million people has captivated me so, earning the title of My Favorite City in the World.

I love the energy of Edinburgh, home of national festivals and endless activities, museums and universities, cathedrals, historical sites and a castle. Together Edinburgh’s Old Town and New Town form a UNESCO World Heritage Site that draws more than a million visitors a year.

I was grateful to be one of those visitors this year. Here are additional highlights of our first day in Auld Reekie:

First glimpse of Edinburgh Castle. Our apartment was in the neighborhood behind the ancient fortress. From almost anywhere in the city, you can look up and orient yourself by locating the castle.

Wellington Statue

The Scott Monument near the Princes Street Gardens.

The Scottish Saltire, white cross on a sky blue background, and the red, white and blue Union Jack.

Because my son is a police sergeant, I like to take pics of police cars in other countries. Edinburgh’s police car.

I wrote about Greyfriars Bobby, the faithful little dog who refused to leave his owner’s grave after the man died. Bobby is buried just inside the cemetery gates, near his owner. I wondered about the sticks. My niece and sister pointed out that dogs like to play fetch, chasing after a thrown stick. Ahhhh, yes, I got it.

The grave of Bobby’s owner, John Gray. Bobby remained near this site for 14 years, until he too died. The city adopted him and made sure he had food, water and shelter. More sticks as a memorial at this gravesite.

Greyfriars Kirk Cemetery.

The leaves were beginning to turn in Edinburgh and the weather was much cooler than in Missouri, necessitating long sleeves and jackets.

Everywhere I look in Old Town, it’s like a scene from a Charles Dickens novel come to life.

We concluded our first day in Edinburgh with dinner at Deacon Brodie’s Tavern. William Brodie, 1741-1788, was more commonly known as Deacon Brodie. He was a respectable cabinet maker by day, and a city councilor, who maintained a secret life as a burglar, partly for the thrill of stealing and partly to fund his gambling habit.

Part of his job as a cabinetmaker was to install and repair locks in prestigious homes. Brodie used his day job as a way to get info about his clients and to make wax impressions of the locks’ keys, allowing him to easily enter the houses later and steal. Brodie was eventually caught, found guilty of his crimes and hanged before a crowd of 40,000.

Robert Louis Stevenson, whose father owned furniture made by Brodie, was fascinated by the dichotomy between Brodie’s respectable life and his true nature, and was inspired to write The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as a result.

In fact, Stevenson found Edinburgh itself to be leading a double existence.

I love the history and colorful stories associated with Edinburgh. I feel like I have only just begun to learn these stories. The city has so much more to reveal to me.

My earnest desire is to live in Edinburgh part time. My grandchildren are still young and I could not be away from them or my adult children for long. My family is here in the States. They are dear to me. I envision myself living a month in Edinburgh and then three months in Joplin, going back and forth throughout the year.

I have released that desire, that dream, to the Dream Maker. I don’t need to figure out the hows or the whens…I will just hold to the whys. Edinburgh feels like home to me. It feels right. A mixture of contentment and excitement fills me there, in a way that it does not elsewhere. I am open to all possibilities, and attached to nothing. If I am meant to be in Edinburgh part time, the way will be revealed to me, and I will simply take each step as it is shown to me.

Writer Ian Rankin said, “Edinburgh isn’t so much a city, more a way of life. I doubt I’ll ever tire of exploring Edinburgh, on foot or in print.”

My sentiments, exactly.

Exploring Edinburgh Castle

The focus of our second, and final, day in Edinburgh was the castle perched solidly atop volcanic rock, high above the sprawling city. The weather was decidedly Scottish…cool and drizzly, with periods of light rain. We weren’t deterred. Donning hoodie jackets over warm layers, we set out on the day’s adventures.

Here are the highlights of our explorations:

Edinburgh Castle has existed in varying degrees of size and fortification since the second century AD. Margaret’s Chapel is the oldest surviving structure in the castle complex, and also the oldest in Edinburgh. Most of the other buildings have been destroyed during bombardments and rebuilt.

Our tour guide, Robby, was knowledgeable and guided us expertly around the castle grounds, telling stories and sharing interesting facts.

Looking out over the battlements, toward the Firth of Forth. The castle is at the top of the Royal Mile, in the heart of the Old City. Edinburgh’s New City stretches out toward the water.

And looking to the west.

The stone structures comprising the castle are beautiful. The castle grounds spiral upward by way of cobbled courtyards and streets. The former royal residences are at the peak, where they were most protected. Today the castle house’s numerous museums and exhibitions and it is one of the most visited sites in the world.

The Great Hall.

The Royal dining room, and a sculpture representing the crowning of Robert the Bruce, located in an alcove off of the room containing the Crown Jewels of Scotland and the Stone of Destiny. Photos were not allowed in the Crown Jewels room.

I love the Stone of Destiny, a slab of ordinary looking stone that the kings of Scotland were crowned upon. King Edward I of England took the stone, and for 700 years, it rested beneath the throne of the English monarchy. But it was officially returned to Scotland in 1996.

Group pic in front of the castle.

We walked through a stark recreation of the living conditions in the castle’s prison rooms, where prisoners of war were held. Americans ended up in here as well, when they were captured as enemies against Great Britain. The rooms, while fascinating to explore, held a troubled energy that empathetically created discomfort in my chest. We viewed the original wooden cell doors, where prisoners had scratched words of hope and detailed works of art, including an American flag.

We enjoyed a light lunch in the castle’s tea room, and later shopping on the Royal Mile. However, most of our day was spent within the castle walls, looking, listening, learning. This was not just a tourist stop for us. The history here is part of our history as well.

The Scots are my people. This is my land. My heart dwells here in joy and peace, and embedded in my DNA are characteristics that sprang from this rich and fertile land. I’ve loved every moment spent in Edinburgh.

Tomorrow we head south to Lauder, in the Borders. This area of Scotland has great significance for my family. I am looking forward to visiting Thirlestane Castle again and

sharing that journey with my mom, sisters and niece.

Alexander McCall Smith wrote about Edinburgh: “This is a city of shifting light, of changing sky, of sudden vistas. A city so beautiful it breaks the heart again and again.”

I so agree. I love this city. My heart has been pierced by its beauty and energy. Edinburgh, I will be back.

Edinburgh Says Welcome Back

I first visited this amazing Scottish city in 2014. I’ve dreamed of returning since the moment my airplane lifted into the skies above Edinburgh, homeward bound. What a powerful feeling of anticipation I experienced this morning as our small jet flew low over the Scottish countryside, in preparation for landing.

Edinburgh feels like coming home to me.

We are staying in a wonderful 2 bedroom apartment in the center of old Edinburgh. As we waited for our quarters to be ready, we explored the neighborhoods nearby, found a delightful little cafe for lunch, and eventually ended up touring the city in our favorite way on a hop on/hop off bus.

Here are highlights of the day:

This huge sign greeted us as we exited the Edinburgh airport, perfectly expressing the way I feel. In ways I can’t fully explain, Scotland feels like home to me. Although my ancestors came from the Scottish Borders south of the city, and I love that region as well, Edinburgh calls to me like no other place on earth. It is my favorite city.

As I was looking for a quote about Edinburgh that I only half remembered, I came across another one that expresses my sentiments as well: “I always feel that when I come to Edinburgh, in many ways I am coming home.” What surprised me was who said those words…the late actor, Alan Rickman, who has been foundational to my year of inspiration. I should have known he had a connection to Edinburgh as well.

The ancient Edinburgh Castle sits high atop a craggy hill, overlooking the city. We will visit this fortress in the morning.

Beautiful architecture throughout the city, in both the old side and the new side, which is still more than 700 years old.

One of the places all of us wanted to see was the site of the Greyfriars Bobby statue. Bobby was a wee terrier whose owner passed away after a sudden illness. For 14 years, the faithful dog stayed near his owner’s grave in the cemetery. People cared for him, providing food and shelter. When the loyal pup died of old age, he was buried just inside the graveyard gate, near his human.

We toured the Greyfriars Kirk Graveyard as well. This old cemetery has a very gothic look, with headstones and memorials dating back to the 1500s. The overcast day created a gloomy atmosphere that was perfect for our exploration. Bobby’s grave is marked by a headstone that matches his owner’s, John Gray.

We completed our first day in Scotland with a delicious dinner at Deacon Brodie’s Tavern. Debbie and Linda tried haggis for the first time. Mom and I had a veggie burger that was awesome. And I got to enjoy a Scottish cider called Thistly Cross. This light and refreshing hard cider has simple ingredients and no added sugar.

It was an enchanting day, full of glad remembrances and happy reunions as I recognized landmarks from my previous trip. I dearly love this city. The energy is lively, uplifting and intriguing. My heart beats in sync with the rhythms of Auld Reekie, so named for the smoke that used to rise from the cottages.

Riding in the top deck of our tour bus, I couldn’t help but notice bright yellow flags along a street. Welcome Back they declared. Thank you, I silently answered. I am so happy to be back.

Going Where My Heart Will Take Me

I’ve been looking forward to drawing today’s creative action. Sunday was the perfect day for some concentrated effort on behalf of one of my dreams, as it is my me time, my heart, soul, mind and body care day. 

I drew:

Plan a 2 week trip to Scotland. 


I visited Scotland for the first time in August 2014. I loved the ten days that I spent there with my cousins, Mindy and William, exploring Glasgow, Edinburgh, the Highlands and our ancestral village Lauder, in the Borders. Even though I had never been in that beautiful country before, I felt like I came home. I cherished every moment, and as soon as our plane lifted into the air from Edinburgh Airport, I began thinking about going back. 


What fun then this afternoon, after a morning spent in the garden, to do more than just think about my return trip to Scotland. I spent several hours planning my trip. Ten days was a great start in getting to know the land of my ancestors.  We’ve been properly introduced, Scotland and I. Now I want to learn more, and deepen the connection. I want to see places that there just wasn’t time for on my first trip.  


Edinburgh will be my home base on this second trip. Scotland is a small enough country that I can take day trips to anywhere from this centrally located city. And I do love Edinburgh. Although I expected to be drawn to the Borders, where my clan resides, it was this ancient city with the fortified castle perched high above it that captivated me. I have never had such a strong attraction to any other location. I am haunted by Edinburgh. 


The first item on my planning list was locating budget friendly extended stay facilities in the heart of the city. My favorite find was a self catering apartment on Blackfriars Street, just off the Royal Mile, that leases for a week at a time. It is perfect for my needs. 


Places on my itinerary that I missed before include the Writer’s Museum, pictured above, the Royal Botanical Gardens, The Elephant House (the pub where JK Rowling wrote much of Harry Potter), and Dean’s Village, pictured below. I intend to have afternoon tea at The Palm Court at Balmoral Hotel, stroll through the Princes Street Gardens and enjoy fine Scottish fare at The Gardener’s Cottage and the Scran and Scallie Public House. And I’ll revisit favorite sites such as Edinburgh Castle, and walk the Royal Mile. 



During my day trips, which could occasionally turn into overnight visits, I’ll see the huge, magnificent Kelpies for the first time, shown in their glory above, go off the mainland to the Isle of Skye, and dance among the mysterious  Callanish Standing Stones. Sterling and Eilan Donan Castles are on my must see list, as are the towns of Inverness and Pitlochry. 



And I will venture into the Borders again. I look forward to another long, leisurely tour of Thirlestane Castle, eager to see how the renovations are going. And I know we missed parts of the quaint village of Lauder. I intend to see it all. 

I loved planning my trip today. To move from longing to go back to making detailed plans brought me great joy. Putting actions with my thoughts sends out a strong signal that I’m making ready. I know that the Divine comes to meet me as I move forward, arranging everything once I release the outcome and settle into the flow of life while staying open. 

As I looked up information and scribbled notes this afternoon, I heard in my heart these whispered words, “Get really specific with your desires…” I was ever so happy to comply. 

Day 227: Shopping on the Royal Mile, Fringe and Saying Goodbye

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Today marked our return to Edinburgh and our last full day in Scotland. We said a fond “See you again soon” to Wilson, who made our stay in Lauder so pleasant. And boarded the bus bound for the city.

As if blessing us, the sun shone all day, occasionally sliding behind a fluffy cloud for a moment, only to reappear and stream golden light onto us and Edinburgh. It’s the only day we had here without rain.

Arriving in Edinburgh we made our way to the Hilton near the airport, in preparation for flying out tomorrow at noon. But this was not a day of relaxing. After we dropped off our luggage we took a bus back to Old Town. We wanted to savor every moment of our time left in Scotland, and each of us had a list of purchases to make. Mindy and I also wanted one last afternoon tea in this bonnie land.

When we first arrived in Edinburgh, from Glasgow, I didn’t notice a big difference in the feel of this city, other than an ancientness in Old Town that I didn’t feel as deeply in Glasgow. However, after spending several days in Lauder and the Borders, where life moves at a wee bit slower pace, I immediately felt the shift in energy when the bus pulled into the bus station. It wasn’t a bad energy, but a surge of strong busy energy, connected to thousands of people.

Nowhere is this bustling energy more apparent right now than on the Royal Mile in the heart of Old Town. The Fringe Festival is still going strong, continuing until August 25. It is the largest art and entertainment festival in the world and has been held each August for the last 67 years. Performers from all over the world showcase their talent in more than 3,000 shows. While venues for shows are all over Edinburgh, many performances take place in buildings along the Royal Mile or in the open air in the streets in and around the Mile. Performances range from singing and mime to plays, comedy routines and musicals, from the spectacular to the downright weird!

As we approached the Royal Mile on foot, the bustle and busyness and noise came out to meet us, rolling over us like a wave. Thousands of people were shoulder to shoulder on this famous strip of road as performers took to the streets, sidewalks and makeshift stages. We divided up. Harry headed to a store he wanted to visit while Mindy and I started on our shopping lists. Amazingly, our first two stops provided exactly what we were searching for.

Mission accomplished, except for buying Scottish tea to bring home, we gathered Harry and began the search for a spot to settle for afternoon tea. This proved more challenging than we thought it would! As Harry would gladly testify, we walked a long time, looking for just the right place, only to push through the throng and discover we’d made a huge circle, back to where we had started. Not finding a new shop to try, we returned to a restaurant we had eaten dinner at earlier in the week and had a late lunch followed by a simple tea. It was perfect actually. After our light meal we had a cup of tea and a bite of bakewell tart, which was a deliciously tart cake with fruit filling and almond flavoring.

We again split up to complete our shopping, Harry to buy a book while we girls headed to a tea store. We are serious about continuing afternoon tea when we return home. We previously bought Scottish cookbooks and today we bought Scottish tea. I can’t wait to have afternoon tea in my garden at home.

I have to admit a pang and tear filled eyes as we walked away from the Royal Mile. It’s not because I don’t want to return home. I do! And I’m exited to see my family and friends and jump back into the real estate business. No, the brief moment of sorrow is in feeling the separation from this beautiful place I love so much. But more than sorrow, I feel gratitude and joy for this wonderful journey that has so deeply connected me with my roots, with this amazing country and with new friends. I drank in all that I could and the trip feels completed. I’ll carry this experience in my heart no matter where I am. I look forward to my next visit, and bringing others with me who want to share the journey!

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Day 224: Edinburgh Castle

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The focus of today’s first was a visit to Edinburgh Castle, in the heart of Old Town. At the top of the Royal Mile is the gate to the castle. With a sense of awe we passed through that massive gate and entered a different world.

Once through the gate, it’s like being in a small city. A small fortified city. Built upon volcanic rock and overlooking both Old and New Towns, the castle of Edinburgh is an imposing fortress. Some sort of structure has sat atop that hill for more than 2000 years. From its vantage point, the castle has never been taken by force.

We opted to take a guided tour, rather than just wander around. Our tour guide, Jonathan, had a Scottish accent and the look of a Scottish laird with his red hair and beard. It was blustery and cold today so Jonathan sported plaid slacks rather than a kilt.

He expertly guided us through the castle grounds, relating stories and interesting facts. At the highest point, near the great hall and residential quarters, he set us free to explore.

Mindy and I had already spied our next stop…the castle tea room. Harry is good natured about our new obsession with afternoon tea and indulges us. And obsessed we have become. We have a good breakfast early in the day and then we skip lunch and have afternoon tea instead, which traditionally is between 3:00-5:00. We then have a late supper, between 7:30-9:00. We have wholeheartedly adopted the customs of this friendly group of people!

We enjoyed our tea and getting out of the cold wind for a short time. Mindy and Harry left to investigate the Whiskey Experience shop while I chose to remain in the castle.

On my own, I climbed the tower to view the Honours of Scotland, the royal crown, sword and sceptre. Our guide had explained how, in 1707, after England and Scotland united, the Crown Jewels were hidden away in a secured vault until they were rediscovered by Walter Scott in 1818. The pieces are on display now at the castle, along with the Stone of Destiny. Scotland’s first king, David I was crowned sitting on this large chunk of sandstone. All the kings of Scotland have been crowned thus. When Scotland united with England the Stone of Destiny was moved to Westminster and the kings and queens of England have been crowned with the stone beneath their throne. For 700 years the Stone of Destiny remained in England. It was recently returned to Scotland. The Scots will allow the stone to return to England for any future crownings but our guide told us, fiercely, that the stone will never again be away from Scotland for such a long period of time.

I stood before the Stone of Destiny and felt Scotland’s rich heritage so deeply. I wanted to touch the stone, as a way of acknowledging that I too am fulfilling my destiny. Alas, the stone is encased in glass, protected as it should be. It was enough to hear the story and see the stone.

I visited the residential palace and saw the room King James VI of Scotland and I of England was born in. It was a small room for a man who became so important. I also visited the chapel of St. Margaret, which is the oldest building in the castle complex. The original castle was destroyed in the 1300’s and was rebuilt in sections. I stood the longest on a battlement overlooking New Town as it marches down to the water, the Firth of Forth. So many have stood where I stood and looked out over the city during the past 2000 years. I felt such a kinship with the Scots. My ancestors. My people. Nearby a Scottish flag curled around the flag pole, temporarily snarled. I stood and willed it to catch the breeze and unfurl, so I could capture a picture. As I stood, camera ready, the wind picked up. The flag rippled and twisted and patiently, I waited. With a loud snap it untangled and unfurled, flying unfettered above the castle. I captured the image and smiling, wound my way down through the stone passageways to the gate. I didn’t shout it out, but in my heart rang a cry of freedom!

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Day 223: Exploring Edinburgh

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We have been very much on the move today, as we explored the city of Edinburgh. After a lovely traditional breakfast, courtesy of the Halcyon House, we grabbed our rain gear and headed out on foot.

We learned so much by taking the sightseeing bus in Glasgow that we made that our first priority this morning in Edinburgh. We saw Old Town and New Town in Edinburgh. It made me smile to find out New Town began to be built in the 1700’s! Our tour guide, Stuart, was fun and informative. The hour long tour was a great overview of the city and I loved the stories connected to each section. It amazes me, the age of this city. In Old Town, with its narrow streets that barely accommodate a bus and structures built of mixed stone, it was very easy to imagine how it looked hundreds of years ago.

On our second loop through the city we stopped in Charlotte Square at a book fair, where I purchased a book of traditional Scottish recipes. I need those to create my own afternoon tea when I return home! We then visited the Scottish National Museum and enjoyed an hour of looking at the exhibits. It was very moving to see the works of artists I recognized such as Raphael, Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Da Vinci.

Our next stop was the Royal Mile, that stretch of road that has Holyrood Palace at one end and climbs to Edinburgh Castle at the other. We decided to save the castle for tomorrow. Instead we visited shops and had afternoon tea at the Hub Cafe and wandered through the crowds, watching street performers. For August is the time of festivals in Edinburgh. There is a National Festival that includes art and performances in ballet, theater, opera and other classical forms. There’s a jazz festival. A book fair. The military tattoo. And what the locals call the mad festival, the Fringe. This can include anything beyond the ordinary! The impact on Edinburgh is huge! People are everywhere! One cab driver told us the city’s population of 500,000 doubles during festival time. I can believe it! It’s a party atmosphere, all over town!

After a brief rest back at the hotel, we returned to the Royal Mile for a late dinner and the Haunted Vault Tour. There are rooms and sealed up closes, or alleyways, beneath Edinburgh. In the 1980’s some of these places were discovered and excavated and explored. Because of the darker history of these subterranean rooms many spooky stories have arisen. We enjoyed a tour and the theatrical storytelling of our guide. As old as this city is I have no problem believing there is still plenty of interesting energy lingering about.

We put in a full day of exploring today! Tomorrow is another opportunity to discover more about Edinburgh and the lovely people of Scotland!

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Day 222: Train to Edinburgh

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Today we traveled across the country of Scotland, from Glasgow to Edinburgh. I enjoyed my time in Glasgow. The people were warm and friendly and helpful. I enjoyed chatting with Colm, our wonderful concierge, the man at the kilt shop who directed us to our first Scottish pub, and Ian, our fun tour guide who introduced me to the Highlands. Glasgow is an interesting city with much to see and do and a very active night life. I only know that from walking back to the hotel after dinner each evening!

We bid the city farewell at the Queens Street Station as we boarded a train bound for Edinburgh. I loved traveling by train. Huge windows on either side of the cars offered splendid views of the countryside. Inside the train car, I enjoyed watching a family, also headed to Edinburgh. Their brogues added so much charm to the conversation between the mother and her wee son, Miles, who I guessed to be about three years old. I’m in a different country, where the people speak with a delightful accent and use different words, and yet family life is family life, everywhere. The mom and dad were taking their two girls and their boy to have a fun couple of days in the capital city before the summer holiday ends and school begins again. I smiled many times over the antics of the children and admired the patience of the parents.

In an hour we were getting our first glimpse of Edinburgh! I spotted the castle as we entered the train station. We will visit Edinburgh Castle tomorrow or possibly Tues. It is raining today. Not a heavy rain but a steady gentle rain. We opted for a cab ride to Halcyon House, where we will be in residence for the next three days.

What a charming place is Halcyon House. It has the feel of a bed & breakfast. The establishment is located in a long row of connected hotels, much like townhouses, on a quaint street not far from the Royal Mile. I was thrilled to get to the room and see a walled garden behind the the house. I will be exploring and enjoying that garden during my stay here.

Mindy and I had our cup of afternoon tea in the beautiful lounge provided by the hotel. By the time we left to walk around the area, it was dinner time. At the recommendation of the gentleman at Halcyon House, we wandered down the hill to Elm Street where there were many small restaurants to choose from. We’ve selected a different type of restaurant each evening. Tonight we dined at a small Chinese restaurant, where our meals were extremely good! We have yet to eat haggis, but we are saving that experience for Lauder, Scotland.

I am sitting in the lounge, typing this blog post on my phone. Out the large window, the rain continues to fall softly and beyond the street there is a park and more streets with ancient buildings lining them. Edinburgh has the feel of antiquity. The buildings in this part of the city, called Old Town, are made of stone. It boggles my mind to think about how many years this town has existed. Tomorrow, we have much to do and see as we explore Edinburgh. In this moment, however, I am so content to sit here by the window and be lulled into daydreams by the rain.

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