We took advance of the first three day weekend of the new year but crossing another place off our list. We headed to Edinburgh, Scotland! I am a fan of the Harry Potter series and Edinburgh is the birthplace of it , so I was eager to see the places which help J. K. Rowling create Harry Potter Series.
We left on an evening flight arriving in Edinburgh around 9. We took the tram into town and walked a few blocks to our hotel. Since Mario travels a lot he earns hotel points which come in handy when we travel. So we were able to use his points for a free two night stay in addition to an upgraded room, enhanced internet and free breakfast. Score for the Curtis’!
We started off Saturday morning by enjoying the views of the city from Calton Hill. The hill was right behind our hotel and we reach the top as the sunrise was raising.
After climbing down we started our adventure of seeing a few Harry Potter sites around the city. We headed to the Balmoral Hotel where J K Rowling stayed while finish the last book.
We walked along the Royal Mile taking in the surroundings sites. The Royal Mile runs from Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyrood. It is actually more than a mile. We didn’t explore the Holyrood Palace because a race was taking place there.
As we walked along the Royal Miles we saw the Deacon Brodie’s Tavern. Interesting story behind it. The tavern is named after William Brodie, one of the inspirations for Robert Louis Stevenson's Jekyll and Hyde. Born in 1741 Brodie was a deacon of the Guild of Wrights. By day, he was a respectable citizen, a member of the town council but by night, he consorted with lowlife; gambling and drinking. His dark side meant he had to take to burglary to pay his gambling debts, leading to his hanging in 1788.
We headed towards Victoria Street and Candlemaker Row which inspired Diagon Alley in the movies and books. While exploring we came across this shirt in one of the shop but didn’t make it to the store before it closed so a picture is as close I could get to owning it.
Greyfriars Bobby was a Skye Terrier which became known in 19th-century Edinburgh for spending 14 years guarding the grave of its owner until he died himself on 14 January 1872.
Behind Greyfriars Bobby is the Greyfriars Kirkyard Cemetary. Some of the names from the Harry Potter series can be found on the tombstone. I wasn’t very lucky and only could find the Riddle tombstone. But it was a very interesting cementary.
Next, we walked towards Edinburgh Castle. We didn't go instead the castle but enjoyed the view. Then we headed back to our hotel.
After taking break we went back out to explore more of the city. The only bad part of traveling in the winter is that is gets dark so early. I wanted to explore the area known as Dean Village but wasn’t able to photograph much due to the fact that it was very dark. We were also able to see some of the city at night.
On Sunday morning we embarked on a full day journey to explore more of Scotland. The weather was very cold and rainy and it only got more windy and colder as the day went on. We saw many little towns along the way. From a distance we saw Stirling Castle and Duone Castle. Duone Castle is used in the show Game of Thrones and Outlander. From there we headed towards Scotland’s Highlands. We stopped a few times to capture the beauty of the highlands in the winter.
On our way to Loch Ness, our guide James pulled off and we went on a little hike near the city of Inverness along the River Moriston which means river of waterfalls.
In the late afternoon we arrived at Urquhart Castle which overlooks Lake Loch Ness. I never realize the Loch means lake. We were given time to explore the ruins of Urquhart and then we boarded a boat to travel on Lake Loch Ness. On our journey on the boat, I kept an eye out for Nessie but the water was very choppy so she stayed hidden.
From there we traveled back to Edinburgh. We took a bus to our hotel which was located within walking distance of the airport. Early Monday morning we left Edinburgh. Another great trip in the books!
A teacher who loves traveling the world.