Europe 2007 Day 13 – Inverness to Edinburgh

Determined to get to the breakfast buffet, it was up again with the alarm and quick showers to get downstairs. Not too impressed with the buffet at the Palace Hotel, but it was neat that they made toast and delivered it to the table in this neat little holder. The rest of the buffet was the usual assortment of fried and scrambled eggs, back bacon, sausage, and of course haggis. There was also a nice assortment of breads, rolls, and cereal for the taking.

We were of course under the impression that our room came with breakfast, but upon checkout we discovered a nice charge on our bill for breakfast. It made me glad that I we missed it the first day. Not wanting to be lost without a clue, before we checked out we used the free Internet to get directions to Balmoral Castle and then directions from there to our hotel in Edinburgh. Our weakness while driving has been finding hotels in the cities once we arrive, so I was determined not to let it happened again.

It was a pleasant 90-mile drive to Balmoral Castle. We took a direct, but through the countryside, route that took us up by ski resorts, farms (complete with sheep snacking on the side of the road completely oblivious to cars passing by), and wonderful lush landscape. I even let Daniel try driving, but after 10 minutes he gave up because he was tired of me squirming in the passenger seat. We arrived at Balmoral, but were disappointed since they only give tours on Saturdays in the autumn and we missed it by a day. I did manage to take some photos of the gates of the estate and then we made our way back down the road.

Before we knew it we were approaching Edinburgh via the Forth Road Bridge, a nice suspension bridge across the bay. It runs parallel to the famous iron bridge used for the railroads and it was a spectacular site despite the drizzle. Heading into the city center confident with our directions, we again got turned around and hopelessly on the wrong side of the city. I decided to pull into the Holiday Inn Express and ask for directions. The nice lady showed me the fact that it really wasn’t very far and as a matter of fact we had passed it on the way to Holiday Inn.

Our hotel didn’t have a spot for our beloved B150, but we found a spot on the street right across from the hotel. We have to move it before 8am tomorrow which works out because that is when the Europcar agency opens. This Hilton is way above the one in Blackpool and is very nice. They recently renovated the first floor and fortunately our room is on the first floor. Just like the other hotel, the internet is for pay only so access will be limited until we get to Paris.

We set off to walk around Edinburgh to find a place to eat and ended up settling on TGI Fridays since most other places were closed. The service was OK, but our food took forever to get to our table. After almost 90 minutes in the restaurant, we finally got to leave and head back to the hotel. Since I have to get up early in the am to return the car it was a quick night for me. Of course, I have planned to do that for the last couple of night, but have ended up watching TV until late. But tonight, I will make sure I am off early.

Tomorrow, we are going up to Edinburgh Castle and some of the other sights. We would like to do one of the hunted tours. There is even a group that features a “as seen on Most Haunted” picture in their ad, so I think that is the one we will do. Tomorrow is also Guy Fawkes Night so we need to see where the big pyro exhibit will be at tomorrow night. One last thing, we need to make train reservations for our trip to London to meet the Eurostar.