I didn't hear any snoring last night thank goodness, and aside from waking up abruptly at 6:15am, I had a very welcome good night's sleep. We made it to breakfast here in the hotel by 8:30 or so, which was right before the rush, since as we left there was a long line to get in!
We started our day by walking through Princes Street Park to the Royal Mile, since we had originally planned on starting at the top of the hill at the castle, then heading down the hill of the Royal Mile to Holyrood House, then coming back via level Princes St. However, after finding a very cool graveyard at St Cuthberts (yes, copious photos!), we decided since it was hazy outside, we'd get better photos with the afternoon light on the city view from the castle. The Scotch Whisky Centre tour was first, where I learned plenty about whisky, me the non-whisky-drinker bought a few souvenirs myself, and even bought a tasting dram of Drambuie Black Ribbon (honey whisky liqueur)...yummy! :-9
After cruising down the Royal Mile, hearing a very cool brass quintet from St Petersburg on the street by St Giles Cathedral (I bought their pop/ragtime CD for £10 and tried my best "Spahceba/Cpeceva" - thank you in Russian), we toured Holyrood House and Abbey.
The Abbey and gardens were my favorite part of Holyrood House from my 1997 trip, and it was overcast that day back then, so I jumped at the chance for lots of digital photos this time. :) By then it was around 3pm, and we knew the castle closed at 6pm, so we were headed back through town again. We found Cartlon Hill, with another graveyard with a spectacular view of Holyrood from afar, and one more "Old Carlton Graveyard" on another hill until we got down to Princes Street Park again, then crossed over into the Royal Mile again and up to Edinburgh Castle.
The castle was as impressive as always, perched at the highest point of the city on a natural cliff. We knew the Edinburgh International Festival closing fireworks were tonight at 9pm, since there have been signs everywhere, and we were looking forward to seeing them, but we didn't know they were shooting them from the castle! That meant the spot mrmouse really wanted to take his photo was occupied by all the fireworks staging, cordoned off by "Danger - Live Fireworks!" signs. Not all was lost, though, since at the very top of the hill was still a very nice view, and castle employee Andrew was not only gracious enough to take several photos of us, but was able to tell us a better route from the castle back to our hotel. :)
After dropping off our souvenirs plus a short rest at the hotel, it was back to the Royal Mile yet again for another pub dinner, haggis required! ;) We found it at the Alderach, we both had the haggis main course, and we shared spotted dick with custard for dessert, just making to the edge of the Princes Street Bridge in time for the fireworks. Packed in with the huge crowd, it was fabulous to see fireworks over a real castle - not Disneyland! ;)
Tomorrow we're off to Torridon, which will be a very long drive, probably with a stop in Inverness before we get there...wish us luck driving! ;)