A pint for the Scots

The flight to Edinburgh was completely full.  But that did not matter.  I watched a bit of the movie, had my pasta and vino for dinner, and sequestered myself for three good hours of sleep with my iPod playing Bartok all night.

We finally got to Edinburgh town center by 12:00 and we were starving.  So we found a seat at the “World’s End Pub” for a good meal of fish and chips. After lunch, we hit the streets again and saw all the sights there are to see in Edinburgh. We walked along Rose Street and window shopped, hiked-up Calton Hill for a grand city view, watched people, and found a good bench in the park.

Later we made our way up to the Castle. The medieval buildings are impressive and you can imagine yourself walking those very streets as if you were back in the 1400’s. It was a Saturday so the town was busy but the people and weather were nice. However, it was a bit cold, but not too bad. I would say that the high was around 55’F, which is pretty nice in the sun.

Later in the evening we got a call from Lindsey, my friend, who goes to the University of Edinburgh. She wanted to meet us at the Waverly Pub later that night for a couple of pints.  So, we set out to find a good place for dinner. This was around 19:00 and we forgot that it was a Saturday with a Bank Holiday on Monday to follow. We walked around a long time before finding a place that wasn’t full. The name of the restaurant was “The Wee Windaes” up on the Royal Mile. The food was really good and we made it inside before the rain and hail (who woulda thunk) started coming down.  I had lamb chops and Natalie had fresh Scottish Salmon. 

After dinner we walked down the Royal Mile and found the Waverley Pub.  Natalie and I went in, but found the place deserted, save for a bar tender and a couple of odd sorts at one of the tables.  We got a couple of pints of Tennant’s and grabbed a table.  I should have known better, but my mind was telling me “this is gonna be a dud evening”…however my heart knew better.

So…two hours later we were holding court at our table.  Natalie was defending “W” and being “chatted-up” by our newfound friend Andrew who was a “newbie” at the Waverley.  Meanwhile I sat back and took it all in while catching up on the news from Lindsey and her adventures with the University of Edinburgh, her landscaping ideals and the ultimate defense of her dissertation.  This was an original pub with warm “drawn-from-the cellar-drop-by-drop ale” taps and plenty of “Callie80.”   

After a few hours and several more pints we bailed on the Waverley and climbed up the Royal Mile, spat on the Edinburgh heart, hopped-skotched on the corner stones, petted the bronze Greyfrier’s Bobby, and finally ended at my favorite E’Burg pub known as “Sandy Bell’s”. 

The place was packed, but somehow Natalie had a mission in mind and cleared the way.  We ended up right by the musicians and the “Trad” session in the back.  (“Trad” is short for traditional music session).  We all grabbed a seat and the jig began.  Wow, what a night!  The bartender kicked us out at 1:30! 

So, you might be wondering how I managed to fly over from the US, tour a city, and still experience a pub until the wee hours of the morning?  Just pace yourself, don’t take a nap, keep walking, and sing-a-long with the band! 

Cheers from Scotland!





About the Author
David McGuffin established David McGuffin's Exploring Europe, Inc. in 2001 to formally offer European tours. Since then, he has taken several thousand satisfied customers on memorable and educational tours to Europe.
  1. Pam Higginbotham Reply

    Okay!!! Now we’re talking. This sounds right up my brother-in-law’s alley. I guess we’ll find out about “spat on the Edinburgh heart”! Counting down the days.

    • davidmcguffin Reply

      Hi Pam, Yes, that evening was my second best-ever in Edinburgh. To this day, it is one of my best European memories. I’ll be sure to recommend we visit the pubs when in E’Burg later this summer.

  2. Susan Reply

    This blog brought back fond memories of my trip to Scotland and Ireland in 2006. We too enjoyed a “Trad” at Sandy Bell’s. My mom wasn’t much for walking the royal mile, but she did spit on the Edinburgh heart- probably the first time I ever saw my mom spit in my life. The key was David said to do it so she did it. He got her to go to pubs too- never thought I would see that in my lifetime- in fact our first night in Scotland she was quite miffed because David and I didn’t take her with us to a pub!

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