Breakfast of croissants today followed by a trip to Stirling. It was very foggy and although Stirling Castle is high on a hill, it was difficult to see the foot of the walls let alone the enemy!

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Very interesting place to visit as it has been refurbished how it would have been when originally built or as its last use.

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Tiles with Reliefs

Colours were really vibrant which interested me as I have always thought castle were just stone or brick with some wall hangings to ward off the cold a bit.

One room had its ceiling covered in tiles I suppose they could be called. 2 foot square reliefs of famous people of characters all painted brightly. Others were painted in trompe d’oreille style very effectively. Unicorns figured quite prominently and at the time unicorn horns were thought to be a sign of wealth and some entrepreneur sold them at exorbitant prices to rich people making him a small fortune. This is what our guide told us anyway.

The kitchens were also well displayed with life size figures of the men who worked in them and displays of the food which would have been eaten.

It seemed expensive to go in but it was well worth it. In one room the queen’s bedroom was decked out and one of her maid was there telling everyone where the colors were sourced and how rare the purple was.

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Queen’s Room

I cannot remember the figures but I know it took hundreds of the special snail to make a small amount of die. Also the source of the carpets and because they were so expensive they generally were not put on the floor but used to cover chests or tables.

I just loved the Kelpies, sculptures of two horses heads which can be seen from the motorway. They are mythical sea creatures.

We were there late afternoon so saw them as they began to light up as well as in daylight.

We had dinner at Hanam’s Middle eastern restaurant

TP and F went off to get a bottle of wine as we hadn’t realised it was byo and C went and parked the car. C was having a dry month so he had nonalcoholic beer. We had a selection of entrees including dips and some tomato dish with sausage. Also what I call cigars. Pastry wrapped like a cigar with cheese inside. For mains it was mainly kebab meat although there were chicken wings on the platter which TP enjoyed. Otherwise, chicken breast, lamb and minced lamb all presented in bite sized pieces and very tasty. There was a little salad as a garnish and we also had a vegetarian dish for some veg which was quite spicy!. Fatoush was also ordered as TP and C really liked it and that was nice too with deep fried flat bread providing the crunch I think.

We went home and had a cuppa and everyone retired to bed.

The next day we had brunch at Hectors. It was ok but I thought that nothing came out hot, including the tea. Maybe they knew I was a sassenach!

TP and I had separate breakfast today so we had 2 different things. TP had Eggs Benedict and I had pancakes.

The eggs were OK but the pancakes didn’t make the butter melt. F asked for butter for me as they only had maple syrup with them. TP and I still shared so we had a bit of both but I didn’t have to share the butter.

We walked down by a stream which runs behind F’s unit. There is so much history in Edinburgh and I really like the place. It is all made of stone, very little brick. C, my nephew, knows heaps about the place as he went to uni there and married F who is Scottish and has lived there for about 20 years in total. There are no skyscrapers at all and it seemed to me, very little traffic but F disagreed.

They live in a heritage listed place and one of the reasons it is listed is because it is made of red brick rather than stone. It is a block of flats. They have a ground floor flat with a floor beneath ground. They put TP in what they called “The Cupboard” but it was more like the box room.

We walked back through a food market, just after having had brunch! We still bought some cake for our journey home. Berry Bakewell and oatcakes which are a bit like Anzacs. They were very yummy and with our bottle of wine and French bread sandwich we had a very pleasant journey back.

We walked back to the flat along the most expensive street in Edinburgh. C told us it was “old Money”. We also used a footpath which council had blocked off due to a rock fall and subsidence. It seemed that we were not the only ones using it. C said he hadn’t gone that way because he thought I wouldn’t be able to negotiate the barrier… cheeky boy, trouble is, I think he was serious! At one end someone had removed some of the bars to enable everyone to climb through. It was a lovely walk along the water again.

We had a game with my nephew’s daughter and wife which was fun. You had to guess what your partner was describing to you. Could be a person, place, adjective, verb or thing. You had 30 secs to answer as many as you could. I thought I would be useless at it but I wasn’t too bad and it was fun.

The family dropped us at the railway station and the train arrived around 4:20pm. We had reserved seats so we didn’t have to rush to find seats.

We sat at a table in the train and there was another lady there with us and she managed to avoid eye contact with us for the total 4.5 hr train journey. Quite a feat I think. She moved out to let TP in but didn’t look at us.

Last leg by bus which the sign said would be 4 mins for about 10 mins. Finally one arrived and it dropped us very close to where TP lives.

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