Want to see what we got up to on the first day of our weekend in Edinburgh? Then click here!
We’ve still not sussed out the heating in our hotel room so it’s a bit of a chilly night. We pull back the curtains, expecting the worst. Oh, it’s not that bad actually. I expected snow up to our knees, and Eskimos building igloos in the square outside, but the sun is shining. It looks like we’ll be able to continue exploring Edinburgh today.
I assess my wardrobe options. I’ve been in Edinburgh less than 24 hours and already worn every jumper I’ve brought with me. I pull on my winter woollies once more. Packing those heeled boots and ballet pumps now seems to be an error.
We start the morning as we finished last night, on the Royal Mile. Despite being in Scotland, we order the Full English. Not a haggis or neep in sight. With full tummies, we explore the Royal Mile by daylight, poking our heads into little gift shops selling tartan everything.
As we approach the Castle, the crowds increase. “Free entry!” someone trills. “Free entry to the Castle!” Indeed, to celebrate St Andrew’s Day, it’s free entry into the Castle! We like a freebie. Everyone else appears to appreciate a freebie as much as we do. People are queuing for the best photo spots and jostling up and down steps. Listening to their audio guides oblivious to the world around them. Barely 15 minutes after being swept up in the “Free Entry! Free Entry!” crowd, we head back to the slightly less crowded outside world.
Whilst in the vicinity, we decide to check out the Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, right next to the Castle. This is worth every penny of the admission charge. With five minutes after entry until our presentation, we make our way to the top of the building for the 15-minute show. The presentation is entertaining and highly informative, and I could have happily sat there and watched all day. And not only because it was toasty warm in there.
If you’re planning on dining out, visiting a pub or other food and drink establishments, make sure you check online or get in touch before you go as there may be COVID-19 restrictions in place.
We take a few photos from the rooftop terrace, and then make our way down through the maze of corridors which house the World of Illusion exhibits. Loads of interactive stuff, great fun for little kids and big kids alike. Who doesn’t want to experience an Alice in Wonderland style growth spurt? Or take photographs of their shadow? Who doesn’t want to stare at Magic Eye pictures for hours on end? (Well, me actually, I just DON’T get them). Oh, and Mr Fletche would be happy if he never saw the inside of a Vortex Tunnel ever again thank you very much. But this is a fantastic way to spend an hour or so.
Mr Fletche is having a few footwear problems. His sturdy faithful boots that did not leak a jot in snowy Prague are now letting in the Scottish slush. So, we decide to head over to the New Town for a spot of retail therapy. Who ever heard of a husband taking his wife on a romantic break, then HIM dragging HER around the shops while SHE complains? My complaints are diminished slightly by the promise of a hot chocolate and a mince pie on the way.
So one successful shopping trip later and Mr Fletche now has dry feet again. We’ve also sussed out our options for our anniversary meal and we’re enjoying a Saturday afternoon pint in The Abbotsford. We discuss our plans for tomorrow. I suggest that we take a drive out to Firth of Forth, to Portobello Beach and up to Arthur’s Seat. It’ll be a wonderfully romantic way to spend our wedding anniversary.
We return to the hotel to thaw out a little, before heading back out to the Christmas Market to freeze right back up again. We wander among the stalls, the fairground rides and the tottering ice-skaters, before settling on a pork & apple bap, and a nice cold beer. It’s not too long before we start losing all feeling in our extremities, so it’s back to the Royal Mile, and back to the Albernach. Although not before picking up chocolate covered fruit on a stick – the staple foodstuff of any good Christmas Market.
The pub is not much warmer, despite sitting in the furthest possible corner from the draught of the front door. I shiver my way through a drink or two. So it’s back to the hotel, for a final drink in the bar, before retiring to bed. Finally there seems to be some heat being pumped out of the radiator. I can wear one less layer of clothing to bed.
It’s our second wedding anniversary! We exchange cards, realise we’ve bought each other the same gig tickets for next year, and then look out the window. Who tippexed out Edinburgh? It was definitely here when we went to bed, now there’s just a big white space where the city should be. A quick recee outside and our fears are confirmed. There’s a whole bunch of cars not going anywhere. Particularly not up the hill towards our hotel from the car park.
Being hardy – and hungry – souls, we decide not to make any plans until we have some breakfast inside us. We decide to call in on the car park on the way and load up that big bag of shoes that didn’t need to make the trip up North. With a nasty snow-covered slope up from the car park barrier to the exit, we realise quickly that if the snow continues like this, the Mini Fletchemobile ain’t going nowhere.
With heavy hearts – over another Full English on the Royal Mile – we decide there’s only one thing we can sensibly do. Abandon ship. Get going while the going’s good. In fact, get while we can still get going. A quick stop at Tesco on the way back to the hotel for supplies – water and ginger biscuits – and we’re prepared for anything. We throw our remaining clothes in the suitcase, making sure we keep them to hand in case of emergency (like we need to burn them for fuel. Or eat them) and tootle off to check out.
It’s a lot easier wheeling my suitcase downhill than up – even dragging huge piles of snow under the wheels – especially as I’m now unencumbered by the pointless bag of shoes. We load up the Mini Fletchemobile, and attempt to execute part one of today’s challenge. Getting the car out of the car park, and onto the main road. A sharp left turn on a steep hill almost proves our undoing but the Mini Fletchemobile uses every last bit of its power and frees us from our snowy shackles.
It’s sad to leave Edinburgh behind. It looks so magical in the snow but we would have spent all day worrying about getting home. After all, there probably wouldn’t have been much to do, except spend the day in the pub. Once we hit the motorway, the roads are reasonably clear but then we hit a two-hour delay on the M6. If it takes us seven hours to get home to Birmingham on a Sunday afternoon, what would the traffic be like on a Monday morning?
Despite the weather, we loved Edinburgh and it’s hospitality. It’s a beautiful city, and we’ll definitely to return to explore a few more of those local attractions that we missed out on.