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We are just back from a few days in Edinburgh. This was my third trip in three years. One was an autumn family trip as part celebration of 18th and 21st birthdays, with C~M, S~E and Aussie “soon to be” son-in law. One was a mini break in spring with my mother, ladies who lunched and enjoyed some civilised sightseeing. This has been a couple’s break. So I’ll write about this trip to the city, Falkirk and Stirling but with additions from the previous visits when we ventured to Pitlochry and Roslin Chapel, toured the Royal Yacht Britannia.

Edinburgh is a beautiful rugged city, built on several volcanic hills. It has lots of history, grand buildings, alleyways, steep stairways and open spaces. It is a busy cosmopolitan city with various foreign accents mixing with the lilting local Scottish accent.

It is exciting to go to a new place but it also nice to return, to know the landmarks and your way around. We still browsed and found new routes to new points of interest but we did not need to get out the tourist map as we walked along.

The castle looked striking in the dusk and evening floodlights. We went back in daylight to get the views of the city, estuary, surrounding countryside. We didn’t go inside the castle this time, but have good memories of wandering around the grounds, the apartments, seeing the Scottish crown jewels, the memorial, the prisoner exhibition and cells. The Great Hall exhibits old weapons, swords, guns, spears. St Margaret’s Chapel is a tiny little chapel but pretty with colourful stained glass windows. We had joined the crowds outside, to see the one o’clock cannon that is fired each day.

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Heading north, roads and stepped alley ways lead from the castle via gardens or The Mound to galleries and museums, to Princes Street, the shopping area, the tram network and further towards the Georgian area of the city.

The Royal Mile leads east from the castle down hill to the Palace of Holyrood House and the Scottish Parliament. The view opens out to the surrounding hills and crags. The Royal Mile is one of the oldest streets in the Old Town, now populated with tourist shops, tartans and whiskey, amongst the historic houses and churches.

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Edinburgh is famous for it’s Fringe Arts Festival that takes place every August. There are comedy clubs open all year and a variety of art, music and theatre worth enjoying, along with the varied pubs and restaurants.

The Royal Yacht Britannia is moored at Leith, north of the city, on the Firth of Forth. The tour around he royal yacht is fascinating, with lots to see, history, photos. We had sight of the royal bedrooms but actually walked through the royal decks, sun room as well as crew quarters, the state dining room and lounge, reception room. There is a Tea Room so we stopped and had refreshments. My Mum and I had a pot of tea and a scone on the royal yacht.

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Musselburgh is also on the Forth estuary, a town a few miles east of the city, with a pretty little harbour and a lot of fishing history. Roslyn Chapel, the Knight’s Templar chapel mentioned in “the Da Vinci Code” is to the south of the city. It is a little place, tucked away in a village but only a few miles from the Edinburgh ring road. It is a very ornate chapel with unique individual carvings and stories.

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