August 9, 2013

Back to Edinburgh and Up Calton Hill

After our Highland Fling, we returned to Edinburgh for a night before taking the train to London. I decided to try a hotel across town from the George, our choice for our initial Edinburgh stay. I selected the Royal Terrace, a 14-bedroom, family-run hotel by Calton Hill. Notwithstanding
I don't pay much attention to the ratings on I suspect many of the raves are generated by the establishments using pseudonyms, while negative reviews may often come from cranky old folk like me who probably had an out-of-sorts day.

The Royal Terrace’s reviews included several criticisms of its customer service. We found the staff exceptionally helpful, often providing more assistance than we’d requested. We loved our stay at the George, which has long been regarded as one of the city’s best hotels. But if you want a smaller hotel in a quieter part of town, the Royal Terrace is a great choice.

Another Physical Fitness Surprise
In Paris several weeks ago, I was surprised by how much walking I could do after two years of virtual inactivity because of lower back pain from my August 2011 car crash. But those Parisian walks were on flat terrain. Even before the car accident, climbing hills presented a special challenge.

In the morning -- before our train to London -- I decided to climb to the top of Calton Hill, adjacent to our hotel. I never made the ascent on earlier visits, and had heard others rave about the grand views from the top. 

Most reasonably fit people would find the climb short and easy. But for this 84-year old, the hill looked like Mt. Everest. There was only one thing to do: get on the path and head up:

Huffing and puffing, I made it to the top. And the views met the hype. I took these shots standing in one place and turning around:



Tip: When Visiting Any Major City Check the New York Times “36 Hours in . . .” Series
For years, the New York Times has run a weekly feature in its Sunday travel section titled “36 Hours in” a different city. The reports suggest where to stay, what to do, and where to eat if you only have only a brief time there.

When I plan to visit a city, I check to see if it's been featured in a "36-Hours" article. Fortunately -- just as I was finalizing the plans for this adventure -- the NYT ran a piece on Edinburgh. Their recommendations resulted in our having two terrific dinners: at the Vintage restaurant in Leith, and at the Outsider, a trendy new restaurant overlooking Edinburgh castle.

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