MTK standing before a famous coffee shop
Just as we were ready to turn in for the night, Mark looked at his e-mail and found an urgent request from a daughter who’s a Potter fan for him to search out the Elephant House and get a picture of it. So we ran out, I with my big camera and he with his trusty iPhone (for finding it with GPS), and it turned out to be just around the corner from our hotel. I stood across the street and grabbed a bunch of shots, all essentially the same, and this is one of them. (You can also see it in original size.)

Saturday, 11 May: our last full day in Scotland

crowds going to the Castle

Crowds converge; Mark in distance (big image, small).

On the was to the Castle

Photo op (big image, small).

Our last day! We would have to make the most of it. Our plan was to make sure to get to the Castle. But first, breakfast. This we took downstairs in the lower level of the hotel, in a space that seemed to be used for nothing but this one meal. I had all I needed for breakfast: what seemed to be an unlimited supply of lox. And of course Scottish lox is the best.

Open area within the Castle

Within the Castle close
(big image, small).

Another open area within the Castle

It’s somewhere in the book (big image, small).

Mark among the cannons

The broad view (big image, small).

Mark among the cannons

Mark among the cannons (big image, small).

Mark among the cannons

Big image, small.

When we stepped out the door of our hotel, it was plain that the weather was not favoring us. A dark gray day, with intermittent rain. But we were prepared, for after all we had traveled to Scotland.

We joined the crowds walking toward the Castle; it seemed to me that most were young and most were British, even Scottish. When we waited on line for tickets, however, I found the international makeup of the crowd more noticeable.

We paid our entrance fees (less for the old guy, of course), and wandered around the Castle grounds, spending a lot of time on the parapets—or were they battlements? Those so inclined could imagine them­selves using those monster cannons to defend Bonnie Scotland from the Sassenach.

Church, I suppose

Big image, small.

Big cannon seen up close

Big image, small.

Stairway leading down

Going down and out
(big image, small).

We went inside one of the buildings, and my journal says: “They make a big deal of the Scottish Honours, namely the Crown, Scepter, and Sword. You have to wend a winding way past historical ex­pla­na­tions without end before coming to the room with the treasures, and I felt a bit of letdown when we finally got to them.”
Yet, you can’t deny the impressiveness of the jewels and of their presentation.

Lunch we decided to have at Outsiders, a highly recommended restaurant. We got there before their noon opening, so killed some time back in the National Museum. At lunch, we both had Kir Royale, which we declared inferior to that to be gotten at any big party given by I got “crispy gnocchi”, and my journal does not rave. But the dessert was a spiced plum tarte tatin, and its excellence made up for all.

After lunch, I insisted that we go to a bookstore, because I was under the mistaken impression that there was a new thriller by Quentin Bates. But I did get the latest by Ken MacLeod, so the trip was more than worthwhile.

In the afternoon, we read and slept, and went out at 6:00 in hopes of getting a table at Monteith’s, around the corner, but the earliest they had anything available was ten o’clock, and that was completely out of the question for us, since we had a cab coming for us at 6:30 a.m. Instead, we found a noisy pub, where I had bangers and mash with a pint of dark beer, and Mark had a lamb-burger with tzatziki and a bottle of Swedish pear cider. My sausages were really good, but the potatoes seemed never to have made acquaintance with any kind of dairy product. I liked the totality nonetheless.

Back to the hotel room for repacking in preparation for our departure, and then to bed. It was a superb holiday.

A 38-second iPhone video taken on the battlements. As usual
with these clips when the wind is strong, I set the sound to mute.