Happy Hogmanay

Hogmanay is the Scots word for the last day of the year and the celebration that they put on in Edinburgh from December 30 through Jan 1.  When we planned our trip to Edinburgh, we had no idea this was such a big deal.  However, we quickly found out when we started doing our trip research that we would be in for a treat once we arrived.  You can see from our earlier post on Edinburgh that we got to walk in the city's torch light procession on the 30th, which was a highlight for us.  We have never seen or done anything like it before, which always makes for a good memory.  On the 31st, the city became more crowded, sidewalks were packed and so were the tourist attractions.  We ended up leaving for London that night and were able to watch some pretty spectacular midnight fireworks from the window of our flat.

The view looking down from Edinburgh Castle toward the Old City and Royal Mile...this is a mirror image shot. Arthurs Seat is the hill in the background, and you can see the coastline as well.  The Old City is just perfection.

More hot chocolate and the sun even came out for a little bit! Below is part of the Royal Mile, going up towards the castle.

Got a picture with guy playing the bagpipes...because you have to!  Such a cool sound to hear as you're walking the streets.  The girls were in awe at how he could hold his breath for as long as he did.  :)  

We took a tour of the 1100 year old Edinburgh Castle, which claims to be the most besieged place in Great Britain and one of the most attacked in the world.  The inside felt more like a castle village, which was super charming.  I love the cobblestone streets and the architecture they use here.  The next few pictures are all views from inside the gates looking down into the New City.

Waiting in line to see the crown jewels

This little cutie has sass to spare.  She tests our patience all of the time, but we love her to pieces.

After our tour, we decided to catch the next train home before dark (seeing as the sun sets at 3:30, we had to be on the 2:30 train). Because the Old City sits so high above the New, they are connected by these "closes"- narrow alleyways with tall buildings on both sides, giving them a canyon-like atmosphere with lots of stairs.  At night, they were lit up and really cozy.  We took this close to get from our hotel to the train station.

After our tour, we decided to catch the next train home before dark (seeing as the sun sets at 3:30, we had to be on the 2:30 train). Because the Old City sits so high above the New, they are connected by these "closes"- narrow alleyways with tall buildings on both sides, giving them a canyon-like atmosphere with lots of stairs.  At night, they were lit up and really cozy.  We took this close to get from our hotel to the train station.

We got reserved seats on the ride home (learned our lesson the hard way).  We love riding trains because you can get up and walk around and still see so much of the countryside as you go.  We made it into first class, so they would wheel down the alleys with food carts, much to our Harry-Potter-loving girls' delight.  This is a speed train too, so what would normally take you 8 hours to drive in a car, takes 4.5 in a train.   Gorgeous views from the train as we sped toward London.  This was a fantastic getaway for our family and we are already planning on going back in the summer, renting a car and driving even further north through the Scottish Highlands.  Scotland is one beautiful country.

We got reserved seats on the ride home (learned our lesson the hard way).  We love riding trains because you can get up and walk around and still see so much of the countryside as you go.  We made it into first class, so they would wheel down the alleys with food carts, much to our Harry-Potter-loving girls' delight.  This is a speed train too, so what would normally take you 8 hours to drive in a car, takes 4.5 in a train.  

Gorgeous views from the train as we sped toward London.  This was a fantastic getaway for our family and we are already planning on going back in the summer, renting a car and driving even further north through the Scottish Highlands.  Scotland is one beautiful country.