Victorian Townhouses Don’t Have Elevators

Trip 42, Day 4

April 29,2023

We switched hotels today, owing to the fact our first two nights were “free” and the succeeding nights here in Edinburgh will be based on (hotel) points. The two aren’t far apart (~15 minute walk), but we know we can’t check into the new one as early as we checked out of the first, so we’ll spend a bit of time having a coffee at Pret A Manger down the street, leaving our bags until we’re ready to move on.

The weather is a bit cooler today and just a light mist, that relents by the time we get back to the first hotel to pickup our bags. The route to the new hotel takes us very close to Dean Village, within a couple of blocks, before we turn down to another square. While on our way, we went down a narrow street with what looked to be like garages/storage units on the ground floor and small flats above. They have to be very small because they’re packed in, one next to the other and the buildings themselves are hardly even two stories tall. Eventually we came to a square with a central garden with three and four story Victorian style townhouses in a semi-circular arrangement around the central square. Still a few minutes to reach our destination, but essentially the same arrangement. Our hotel is similar to others we’ve seen , and stayed in, where one or more parts of a block of unconnected townhouses is converted into a hotel. In our case, there are two parts to the hotel, physically unconnected with each other, separated by another townhouse; check-in is in the main reception, then go down a couple of doors to our building. And, while (certainly this time of year) no A/C isn’t a problem, they also don’t have elevators. We’re on the third floor. 😃. The hotel is in a quiet residential area and only has 23 rooms.

The Mound

We thought we’d visit the Grassmarket today (Saturday), but surprisingly, it doesn’t stay open late (5pm) , so we decided to go to Victoria Street and the area around the Royal Mile. To get to the Victoria Street, you need to go up “The Mound”. To me, the “Mound” is a bit of a misnomer , it is the (artificial ) high elevation on which this section of old Edinburgh is built, using 1.5m cartloads of earth from the “New Town” and then dumped into Nor Loch (now Princes Garden). After taking the winding walkway up the road that overlooks part of Princes Garden, it comes up to a point where you can either follow the road around to left or right, or go up the stairs.

Memorial to officers & men of the Black Watch lost in the Boer War on “The Mound”
Milne’s Court – Up we go!

Once climbing this initial set of steps, ( The last time we were here we exercised better judgement and went up the street instead of the stairs.) there’s another shorter set…until you walk a bit further and emerge on the Royal Mile, cross over the street and down a short street to be on the upper level of Victoria Street. The link provides some nice historical context to the area.

Victoria Street

The upper level of Victoria street has restaurants, while the street level has shops. Even though the Grassmarket was close by, for the time we had, we decided to walk back to the Royal Mile. The Grassmarket’s history is an important part of Edinburgh’s not always so glorious past, including Half-Hingit Maggie.

It’s a relatively short walk from the point we re-entered from Victoria Street to the Royal Mile and down to the Castle. There’s a camera obscura along the way that I visited many (many) years ago. We stopped at the plaza in front of the Edinburgh Castle, but not planning on visiting , as we were here in 2019 (good, because tickets are all sold out for the day) , so we did some shopping and people watching.

Camera Obscura
Edinburgh Castle
The Castle at night

Hardly peak tourist season, but a good many people (tourists like us) in this pedestrian area with LOTS of shops selling Scottish goods (scarves, clanware – tartan, kilts. etc. (everyone is a Scot, right?), whiskey). Even a falconer with an owl and a Golden Eagle.


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