Wrought Iron Shadows

1 January 2008

Starting the new year in Edinburgh! Brilliant!

Today’s official Hogmanay events didn’t happen until evening. So, we had the whole day to walk and shop and just kick back a bit. The number of businesses that close for these holidays is a bit jarring from an American perspective. Restaurants, pubs, stores . . . unless they were specifically very tourist oriented, they were not open today. But, we decided to make it a day of exploration, and set out to walk the entire length of “The Royal Mile.” Interestingly, we’ve been doing so much walking for so many days, now, that that mile didn’t seem long at all!

In actuality, The Royal Mile is actually 1.1 miles long. It connects Edinburgh Castle at the top of the hill (where the street is referred to as “the High Street” by the locals) with Holyrood Palace (and Abbey) at the bottom of the hill. The Royal Mile was the standard for the scottish mile until English miles were imposed in 1824 by an act of Parliament.

We purposely took a different path to the Royal Mile this morning, that would put us right at the castle, so we could honestly say we had walked the entire street. We stopped a few times on the way down, to pop into the few open shoppes and to take some photos. We briefly visited the gift shoppe at Holyrood, and marvelled at the Parliament Building at the bottom of the hill. (That building was nothing but a shell with scaffolding around it when we last walked the Mile on our honeymoon in 1995!)

Once at the bottom, we started the return trip. We did make a lengthy stop on the way back up to have a bite to eat at TheTass—a nice little pub located farther down the hill than we normally choose to go, so it was a nice diversion. After eating, we finished our walk and then spent some time on the Castle Esplanade taking photos and enjoying the feel of the city below us. It was dark, and the upper High Street was pretty much deserted since the shops and pubs were all closed by then. It was quiet and lovely. Not too cold, and not windy—with the slightest mist in the air. Perfect Scottish weather!

Kyle shot some amazing stuff while we were there at the top of the hill.  I was beginning to feel tired, and was having trouble getting the light to work with me, until I noticed the wonderful shadows being  cast by the lights shining through the lovely wrought iron fencing all around the esplanade.  I really rather like this shot above—Kyle rightfully calls it “moody.” 

From the castle, we walked back down to where the street was blocked to all but foot traffic and the event was taking place.  Just beginning, it was already crowded enough for us.  We were entertained by sights and sounds and all manner of bizarre performance art—some fabulous, and some just plain odd.  But, one thing for sure, the event was well-attended and should be considered a success!

We actually left a bit before the official end to the event, grabbed  a cheeseburger on the fly (Scottish beef is sooo good!) and headed back to our last night at our wonderful little B & B.    With packing to do, and KRuMB posts to catch up on, and a few more postcards to write, we knew the rest of the evening would pass all too quickly and our time in Edinburgh would be drawing to a close.  <sigh>