July 20, 2011


Ok people, we are back! (Allison’s Note:  I didn’t realize we were gone.) If you didn’t catch the Fund for Teachers part of our trip (what we’ve been doing the last 2 ½ weeks), go to www.earlymusictravels.blogspot.com .  
This starts the vacation part of the trip the FFT no longer pays for :-) 
I told Allison that if we were going to be so close to Scotland and not go, I would jump off a bridge into a fire covered in ants (Our first plan was to go to Istanbul, Turkey… Really!  And that would have been super cool, but the airline tickets shot through the roof 2 days before we could buy them.  I think Andrew somehow had a hand in that convenient coincidence… cough.)   Thus….Edinburgh, Scotland!    I’ve been interested/mildly obsessed/borderline insane for all things Scottish for at least 15 years.  Probably longer if I’m honest with myself. 

 (By the way, we have one dresser in our bedroom.  It has 4 drawers.  I get only 1 of the 4 drawers.  Andrew and his Scottish obsession get the rest.)  As a preemptive answer, yes we do have Scottish relatives, but I’m not full blooded Scot by any means.  There’s probably more English than anything, and quite a bit of Irish, too (thus the end of our trip in Ireland).  Visiting Scotland is a bucket list thing for me, even if it’s just a quick 3 days.  I’ll come back for longer later. 

We flew into Edinburgh from London this afternoon, and promptly found our hotel a cannonball’s throw from Edinburgh Castle!!
The view from our hotel's front door...that's Edinburgh Castle!
Thanks again to Christina West for the recommendation on ‘EZ Hotel’.  Yes, it’s called that.  The concept is quite simple:  You’re in a European country… sightseeing, why would you pay for an expensive hotel room you’re not going to be in that much?  Brilliant, right?  But EZ Hotel takes their philosophy quite seriously. 
Believe me when you read the next few sentences, I’m not exaggerating anything.  (Also we have no idea what's wrong with the numbers here...chalk it up to European wireless?  I don't know.)
1.       1) The room is the size of the bed. 
2.       2) There is space underneath the bed to store your carry on size suitcase.
3.       3) Ours don’t fit. 
4.       3) They are carry on sized.
5.       4) This is problematic.
6.       5) There is a TV mounted on the wall.
7.       6) You pay for the remote.
8.       7) There is a bathroom.
9.       8) Not kidding here… it is the size of our shower in Houston.  Our shower.  Not the bathroom, the shower.
a.       When Andrew was in the bathroom, I heard them exclaim excitedly, “I could go pee and take a shower simultaneously!!”  (Seriously – bathroom, shower, brush teeth…all without moving more than 6 inches in any direction)
b.      Eww.
109)   There are a few hooks on the wall.
1110)  All our crap is hanging from a hook above our heads.
1211)   They don’t clean the rooms while you’re in them unless you pay for the cleaning, but, the rooms are very clean and very new.
1312)  There are more power outlets in the room then there is floor space.
1413)  We are very very happy because it is only costing us about $70 per night to say.  For a European hotel, that is cheap!!
a.       We paid extra to have a room with a window. 
                                                               i.      Said window is very small, but takes away the claustrophobic feeling.

All in all, a great find considering the location.  We are about 2 blocks from the Royal Mile.  So yes, totally worth it.  EZ Hotel and EZ Jet have hotels and airlines all over Europe, so if you’re on a budget but aren’t keen on hostels with the late night crowd, I’d recommend them!

You're also looking at the shower here...the curtain is on the left side
After we got our stuff put in the room, we hightailed it to the Royal Mile.   If you could imagine a Scottish DisneyWorld for me, this is it.  Very touristy, but store after store of tartan goodness!!  Kilts everywhere, bagpipe music spilling into the streets, and more shortbread than you could eat in a lifetime. 

I'm a little excited to be here...
I actually found (to our budget’s delight) that I have most everything I would buy here for my various Scottish uniforms and such…but it doesn’t make it any less fun to look at all the stuff!  I even had a very nerdy and technical conversation about the difference between MacRae tartan and MacRae of Conchra tartan!  (Hizzle!!!)  (Hope!!!)  The workers in the store were continuing the conversation in hushed tones as I left (”Nobody’s ever asked for MacRae of Conchra before!”  “I know, it’s so rare!”  “Have you seen it in the online……” etc etc etc.)

After popping in and out of about 20 stores, we settled on a pub about halfway down the Royal Mile called World’s End, and I got……Haggis with Neeps and Tatties!!!  Haggis is Scotland’s national dish, and if you’ve never had it, skip my description and try it in a restaurant first.  It’s basically different sheep innards ground up with grain, oatmeal, and spices and boiled in the stomach of the sheep.  As horrifying as this sounds, it was really good here.  The last time I had it was when I was in a pipe band (yes, he was in a bagpipe band) in Lexington, KY and they had it at a (Robert) Burns Night Supper we were playing for.  It was pretty awful because it was canned – it tasted like liver and old shoelaces soaked in whiskey and left in the sun for a week.  The one tonight was fresh made and, mercifully, it was not wrapped in a stomach.  Neeps and tatties are mashed potatoes with cabbage.  It was a good combination and was definitely a great chilly night meal! 

Haggis in the middle....actually that's where its anatomically located as well.
After that, we returned to our cubicle to figure out how to both occupy the room at the same time!  I think when I wake up tomorrow morning all I have to do is roll over and turn the shower on and I’m good to go!     

 P.S. - As we're posting this, here's the view out of the Starbucks window the next morning!


  1. Woohoo, welcome to the EZ Hotel club! We splurged for a window as well, which is a wise choice given the size of the room. Everything else we passed on.

  2. So glad you guys got the EZ Hotel experience. You are my only friends that are low maintenance enough to recommend staying there:) Happy continued journey!