Rain (again) this morning but it was no real surprise. We popped round the corner to Ryan’s Bar & Cafe for breakfast, nothing especial, cold cereal & coffee for me and ELPH had a bagel. Still raining when we finished but headed out to the Woolen Mill on the Royal Mile just a few doors down from the Edinburgh Castle. They actually weave Tartans on the premises and you can watch the whole automated process.
The man in the middle surrounded by cones of wool? He is warping a tartan. You can’t see it in this photo but he has dozens of strands of wool coming off some of this cones and running to the machine. We didn’t see how he got the warp from there to the weaving machine…
but what we did see was fun to watch. I learned a bit about Tartans and my families names. My father said his mother used to say they were Scot-Irish and with the names McGraw & McGowen I can believe that. BUT. Being here in Scotland I’ve learned that those names can be either Irish or Scottish. Mine are most likely Irish in origin from the Macrae. We bought a yard of a pretty tartan that Jeff liked so that I can make Sparkie a winter jacket:) And since the ones they had for sale at the Mill were $50 I was all for it:D
We lingered at the Mill because of the rain but by the time we left the rain had let up to a fine mist and we continued down the Mile. Lots of shops with tourist items, cashmere, tartans, plaques, key chains, pens, wool blankets, scarves & tams. All very expensive in our eyes. $80 for a hooded pull-over sweatshirt that reads Edinburgh across the front was a bit steep for us. So in case you were wondering, No, we didn’t buy you anything. LOL!
We popped into The Mitre Bar to warm up a bit with a spot of tea (Earl Grey) and Fish & Chips.
It was a pretty big piece of fish in a light & crispy batter. The fries were very good and the tea really did hit the spot. Continuing down the Mile we stopped into Paisley Close for a wee look round in Celtic Craft Kilt makers. These two gentlemen were a wealth of information not only on kilts & tartans but also gave me all sorts of information on my family names McGraw & McGowen.
Oh and they hand make and finish their kilts. One gentleman was working on one right there all the while chatting with us.
At the end of the Royal Mile is Holyrood Palace which dates back to the 15th century.
The Royal Family all have ‘apartments’ on the third floor here and Queen Elizabeth visits here every summer in July but Princess Anne is the most frequent visitor they say, coming to the Palace more than several times a year. And apparently she does not have them close the residence while she is staying here. They do not allow photos inside. This place is the official residence of the Queen while in Scotland. It is also the setting for state ceremonies and official entertaining. The Queens granddaughter Zara Phillips was married in Edinburgh and some of her wedding photos were taken in the Holyrood Abby ruins.
Just look at the stone work!
This is the fountain in the forecourt with Arthur’s Seat in the background. We’ve been told it’s a relatively easy hike if long and that there are some beautiful views of the city from there.
But with the rainy cold weather we haven’t felt the need to climb up for over an hour and then climb back down. Maybe next time:) You can find lots of more info on the Palace here > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holyrood_Palace
On the way back to the hotel we stopped into Cafe Andaluz. An authentic Spanish tapas restaurant on George Street. We were hungry so by the time I remembered to take a picture we were half way through the meal. It was sliced spicy sausage, chicken, lamb meatballs (gone!) and prawns. Oh! And caramel cheesecake for dessert. That disappeared too fast for photo ops :D
We have managed to go to all the places on our To Do List and we have tomorrow completely free so depending on the weather we may sleep in & watch TV if it rains or find a pretty park to hang out in if it’s sunny. Ta ta for now!