Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Edinburgh Trip -- Day 7
Our plan for Wednesday was to visit a nearby castle ruin called Craigmillar Castle, and follow that with a trip to Gorgie City Farm. Steve, however, could not find his wallet as we were preparing to leave. He searched the flat to no avail. He knew he’d last used it the previous evening, just before arriving at Maristela’s house for dinner. I said that we may as well buy our bus day passes and head back to Maristela’s neighborhood to check the shop where he last remembered having the wallet out.
Unfortunately, Steve’s wallet was not at the corner shop, and then we were stuck, wanting both to enjoy our day out but also get the wallet issue resolved. Steve phoned the police who had no record of it but took down his information. We decided that the kids and I would go ahead and see the castle while Steve would go back to the flat to look again and await a call from the police. (It turned out that the wallet was indeed at the flat, so though Steve missed our outings for the day, he was able to do his own fun things without further worries.)
Naomi, Josiah, Ethan and I arrived at Craigmillar Castle after having eaten lunch on the bus. Craigmillar Castle is over 600 years old and 3 miles outside of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. It was never the full-time residence of royalty, but did host Mary Queen of Scots and others when they needed to get away from Edinburgh Castle or Holyrood Palace.
Craigmillar Castle is not on the “must-see” tourist list, but in my mind, it’s the best place to take kids. It is small compared to Edinburgh Castle, but plenty big enough for a few hours of exploration. There are many rooms and staircases, nooks and crannies, all perfect for little people to enjoy. We saw medieval fireplaces, ovens, pantries, dovecot, bedrooms, and even a toilet! (Just a hole leading to the outside of the wall.)
More than one staircase led to the roof, where we could imagine we were medieval soldiers, keeping guard with our bows and arrows. We could see the Firth of Forth in the distance (where the River Forth begins to meet the North Sea – it’s body of water that Edinburgh is built next to), as well as Arthur’s Seat and Edinburgh Castle. I was grateful for such a beautiful day – clear skies and warm weather.
From Craigmillar Castle, we headed to Gorgie City Farm, back in our old neighborhood. We got there only ½ hour before closing time, so it was all a bit rushed, but we had fun nonetheless. A horse managed to grab a bag out of our stroller with its teeth, and we had to wrestle it back from him. The sheep sounded so funny; we thought they were cows at first!
We saw a bunch of piglets that looked very newborn, as well as older ones that were very entertaining. I think they were the favorite of all 4 of us. It was especially funny to see them trying to climb into the feeding trough, and we were tickled by their curly tails. We also saw goats, turkeys, chickens with hairy feet, rabbits, and cows.
In the evening we had our friends Adrian and Kit Herbert over for supper, along with their two teenage kids, Cara and Alexander. The whole family had been in Asia for their summer holiday, and we’d thought we wouldn’t get to see them at all. We were thrilled to find out they’d returned and could come visit us for an evening.
Kit and Adrian had hosted us for many meals when we lived in Edinburgh, sometimes having us for lunch *and* dinner on days when our strategy games took a long time! They loved our kids and we loved them!
It was nice to catch up in person and we reminisced about old times. It was a bit of a hodge-podge dinner as I’d ordered stuff from Tesco in quantities just for us, and had to combine them for guests. We had ravioli, pizza, and fish ‘n’ chips – strange but it worked!
Posted by Lisa Gertz