Edinburgh is a city that deserves more than a couple of days. Unfortunately, I was there for only three days. Two of those days were spent on bus tours of the highlands and lowlands, leaving the rest of my time to squeeze in a trip to the National Museum of Scotland and see some of the city.
The National Museum of Scotland is huge. Six stories of a block-long building huge. I severely underestimated the time needed to cover that kind of ground, and probably saw about a third of the exhibits. The museum is an easy five-minute walk from where I was staying in Grassmarket.
If I had a do-over, I would budget at least a full day for this museum, maybe even two at a slow pace. It’s a top quality experience, and did I mention the price? Free.
My favorite exhibits were a whimsical music stand in the shape of a bird, and a castle’s painted ceiling from the early 1600s.
Things I didn’t see that I wish I had: Dolly the sheep, the 12 meter-long Tyrannusaurus rex skeleton, the bronze Benin Head sculpture, the Meissen porcelain lion, the Inchkeith lighthouse optic, Bonnie Prince Charlie’s silver travelling canteen, and the Lewis chesspieces. All are excellent reasons for a return visit.
I don’t know what I had been expecting from the Royal Mile, maybe more shopping opportunities. Granted, I wasn’t there in August, the height of tourist season, so it seemed much like any other street I saw in Europe. There were some souvenir shops along with stores and restaurants, but I didn’t buy anything.
I think I mentioned in an early post that my Edinburgh hotel was the coolest thing ever. I loved it. It was contemporary and fun, the room was clean, and the bathroom was the bomb. There were fun touches to the decor like a map on the wall with magnets.
There was an iPhone dock built into the wall to charge and play music over the loudspeakers (which were also in the rain shower). As my friend and I said to one another, “it’s possible we’re not cool enough for this hotel.”
Breakfast was included at Biddy Mulligans bar, next door to the lobby. Yummy food in an Irish pub in Scotland. Perfect.
The breakfast I’ll remember most was the last morning, when a cantankerous, drunken foursome of older Irishmen literally swore every other word for the entirety of their breakfast. They had rather noisily arrived at the hotel the previous evening, very drunk, very loud, and full of foul language. I don’t know if it was about golf or just general orneriness. I hope they have sobered up and learned to enjoy life a little more by now.