Busy Time in Edinburgh

Obelisk_CastleWe have had an excellent stay in Edinburgh. The weather has been very nice (for Scotland). Several of the local folk have  remarked on how we must have brought it with us from Arizona, although Miss Cyd and I are bundled up pretty tightly anyway. Layering is the key to staying comfortable as we had everything from bright sunshine to cloudy skies to rain, and even a bit of sleet thrown in for good measure on Monday as we wandered around all day, checking out the local sites. We also did some shopping and I found the family tartan in quite a few places. I got a 100% lambswool scarf and a kilt pin (not that I am planning to get a kilt, but it looks very nice on my jacket lapel) with the family words on it “Invictus Maneo” or “I Remain Unvanquished!” Very Game of Throne-ish, if I do say so myself. Joe_Tartan  Due to tight packing tolerances, I will have to order some ties for Uncles John and Jimmy and will have them shipped home. They should arrive in plenty of time for Cousin Roger’s Annual Crawfish Boil in Soso Mississippi on Memorial Day weekend.

Yesterday we spent quite a bit of time in the Edinburgh Castle. We did the audio tour, which was very informative and helped the history of the place come alive. Cyd took some great photos, but I’ll just put a few of them in this report.

EdinburghCastle_1 EdinburghCastle_2 EdinburghCastle_3
Walking up the Esplanade to the Castle Aiming for the Sir Walter Scott Memorial Outside the Scottish War Memorial at the top of the castle

However, the highlight of the evening was the Ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee) dancing at Malones Irish Bar (see this link for a much more refined and sedate version of Ceilidh Dancing). We stopped by on our way back to the hotel after dinner for a nice glass of Irish Ale and while there, the manager asked us to move from our table to a booth. We obliged him and he told us the dancing would start in about half an hour. There was a five pound cover charge, but he was going to waive that for us since we were from Arizona. (Personally, I just think he liked my Armstrong scarf and Miss Cyd’s smile 😉 ). We watched the band arrive and get set up. Ceilidh_BandThe band featured a highlander girl on the violin, a rock bagpipe guy, who also played a mean flute, and an acoustic guitar player with a foot pedal organ. Dancers were lined up out the door to pay their five pounds to get in.  Cyd talked with several of them. They were mostly students from the University of Edinburgh and came from all over Europe and the U.S., including a couple from Minnesota, who were just passing through Edinburgh after three months in school in Spain. The students may not have known all the steps, but the violin and the bagpipe players took turns instructing the dancers on all the steps so we learned quite a bit, just from watching that process. The dancers and the band were very energetic and totally got into the moment. All-in-all, it was a pretty incredible evening and we stayed until midnight watching the show. Cyd wanted to dance, but it was far too active for me. I could just see the headlines now: “Arizona Man Down on Malones Dance Floor!” I told the manager that when we were leaving and he said, it should have been “Arizona Man Gets Down on Malones Dance Floor!” We had a good laugh about that.

Joe and Cyd

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