It’s so easy to get from the airport to your fancy hotel when you arrive in Edinburgh. I didn’t even have to look for the bus ticket station. I just happened to walk by one as I was leaving the airport. It was 4 pounds to get the Airlink bus which stops right across the street from the Waldorf Astoria. A real bargain.
The Waldorf Astoria is also known as The Caledonian and began as a Victorian railway station and hotel complex. It’s been totally updated and no longer has any trains at all! Even though you can sense the history in the very high ceilings and old fashioned window and crown molding, it’s very posh.
When I arrived they had a room ready for me and had upgraded me to a deluxe room with a castle view. The view was stunning! There’s both a castle and an old church and in between in the distance you can see the top of the Big Wheel and the Giant Swings from the Christmas Market.
I immediately jumped in the shower to wash my hair and recover my poor curls and afterwards I felt much better.
Amanda, Kyle and Scott arrived just in time for high tea in the Peacock Room. I hadn’t eaten since dinner on the flight the night before so I was really, really ready!
We ordered the festive tea since it was Christmas and it’s not everyday you have tea in Peacock Alley at the Caledonian, amiright? Anyhow, the savory tier included a few finger sandwiches and some duck pate that none of us were cultured enough to care for. The middle tier had plain and fruit scones with clotted cream (clotted cream proves the UK is superior to the US in my opinion). The top tier had all kinds of delicious goodness including some sort of eggnog mousse, macaroons, pumpkin muffins with a filling that was a lot like clotted cream, mincemeat pies, chocolate muffins, and a couple of slices of Christmas cake. Why can’t the US enjoy high tea? Where are our tea shops? Why is life so unfair?
After tea we walked over to the Edinburgh Christmas Market. Kyle and Scott were cold since they hadn’t worn proper coats. Also they had sore feet, since they hadn’t worn proper shoes. And poor Scott hadn’t slept at all on his flight over and was running on some serious jet lag. They decided to go back to Kyle’s flat and change and meet us later for the Ghost Bus Tour. That wasn’t a problem for me at all since Amanda was willing to accompany me to the Christmas Tree Maze.
I’d been excited to participate in that since I’d found out they had one.Amanda warned me it was in Santa Land (kid zone) and that she thought it was primarily for children but was a good sport about coming along with me anyhow. We bought tickets and then had to wait in line to enter the maze. When it was our turn to enter, I complemented the girl taking our tickets on her stunning green hair. Seriously, it was very festive! Amanda thinks that’s why she told us about the hidden clues and gave us cards to participate. Apparently, there were five letters hidden throughout the maze. If we found them all and then unscrambled them to make the Christmas word, we could turn our cards in at the Elf Workshop for a special prize.
My incredible spacial ability, combined with my superior decoding skills resulted in victory! I am still not sure why “Robin” is considered a Christmas word in Scotland, but who cares I won!
To celebrate my stunning victory, we decided to stop for some hot wine. We were in a Christmas market, how could we not? But suddenly we discovered a new treat, hot apply toddys. And just like that Edinburgh became the greatest city I have ever visited.
We walked back to the flat to meet Kyle and Scott and then all of us headed out for the Ghost Bus Tour. The bus was already there when we arrived and the top deck was already full. We got seats on the bottom with a great view of the screen. The bus took off and our creepy conductor AWOL and the driver Angus told us harrowing tales as they drove us around the city on an old Routemaster bus.
At one point, we stopped, got off and tromped over to a graveyard before we climbed back on and the tour continued.
After all the excitement, I caught a taxi back to the hotel. Pro tip: if you come to Edinburgh, and you really should, if you need to catch a taxi to the Waldorf Astoria, be sure to call it the Caledonian or they won’t have any idea where to take you!
Gotta run now, big day tomorrow…