We went on a trip to Edinburgh recently to pick up a hire car from the airport. While we were there we had a short stop in the centre of the city,recently; that is, in the 'old' city, which is very picturesque, although full of tourist shops and fellow tourists.
It's the middle of summer here in Scotland now. The temperature in Edinburgh was showing as 14°C, but I swear that it was more like ten, with the howling wind. I didn't feel this cold in Iceland; although, I was better dressed for for it there. Remarkably, as always, there are still people wandering around with bare arms and legs (as there were in Iceland, too).
We had lunch at our new favourite café: St Giles Cathederal Café. The café is in the basement at the back of St Giles Cathedral on the Royal Mile. The café has a limited range of very well done and delicious food on offer. Unlike the broadly similar Café in the Crypt under St Michael in the Fields church next to Trafalgar Square in London, the setting of the St Giles Cathedral Café is nothing special, but the food is excellent, and that's what counts! I don't have a picture of the café (there's not much to see), but here's a picture of the Magnificent Saint Giles Cathedral; the café is around the back, to the right of the the carthedral.
The main tourist part of Edinburgh is the Royal Mile running down the hill from Edinburgh Castle, where you can buy an incredible number of items made of tartan-patterned cloth from many shops, and see street performance of all sorts, including Scotsmen in full military dress including kilts, playing bagpipes; Darth Vader with Storm Troopers, and people standing on people who are lying on boards of nails.
The Edinburgh Festival and the Edinburgh Tattoo are on here in a few weeks. The main consequence of this at the moment is that a huge and extremely ugly temporary stadium has been built on the forecourt in front of the Edinburgh Castle, which means that you could hardly see the Castle at all from the Royal Mile.
The Royal Mile runs along a Ridge leading up to Edinburgh Castle. Many of the buildings on the Royal Mile straddle one side of the ridge, so that they have two street entrances, one on the Royal Mile and one on the street below. The two street entrance may be many storeys (maybe even ten storeys) apart.
In between the buildings on either side of the Royal Mile are narrow alleyways called 'Closes' that run down the steep sides of the ridge to the streets below.
Here's one that nicely frames the Walter Scott monument (there was a small crowd of people there trying to photograph this scene without all of the other tourists in the picture!) :
Years ago we stayed for one awful night at a hostel next to the wonderfully named Fleshmarket Close. Fleshmarket close is still there, but thankfully the hostel isn't!