Sometimes getting four children and two adults ready to go in the morning can be a very challenging task. Add two more adults to the mix and it's, unfortunately, not any faster. Mix in having only one bathroom in our flat and being completely exhausted from lack of sleep and you have the perfect recipe for slow-poke-itis. But late Saturday morning we did, finally, manage to leave the flat. We headed out to eat some lunch and wander the city. On the way we stopped at an ATM to try and get some cash. Dadam tried his card, no dice. Huh? GranDude tried his. Also rejected. What the? Remain calm, walk further and try and different variety ATM. Once again, absolutely no luck for either card.
Cash can be very useful, and in England, where many places only take cards with a special "chip" which then allows the user to enter a "pin" in to the card machine, it is necessary. (In America we use "swipe" cards. This means they get swiped and we sign for our purchase. Here it is "chip and pin" which was supposed to be more secure, but is only, in fact, more hassle for international travelers and not one bit better.) All this aside, we needed cash and had none.
Dadam and GranDude decided to head back to the flat to make appropriate calls to stateside banks to try and get the situation sorted out. GranEde and I took the kiddos and hung out at a very nice, but very busy, playground. Situation resolved to the best of everyone's abilities, we had lunch.
When lunch was finished, we all concurred that we would like to see the large hill that Dadam and I remembered seeing from the top of Edinburgh Castle. So, we started walking towards the hill. And we had a potty emergency.
This is another difficult thing about traveling with children: At any given moment, some child will need to use the toilet "badly" and when that child announces their urgent need, every other child will also profess to have the same problem. Combine needing the toilet and not knowing where the closest toilet is located, add in pay toilets (20 pence to get in) and a lack of cash (or coin) issue, then separate members of your party who have no cell phone from the rest and you have a situation that is neither restful nor relaxing (as one might desire vacations to be). Crisis averted, we found ourselves in an underground mall, with masses of people, stressed out and thinking "this is NOT where I wanted to be this trip!!!"
After winding our way out of the mall, we headed up to a beautiful hill in Edinburgh called Calton Hill. It is a public park where there are a large number of monuments to various people and an observatory. It was a beautiful location.
Memorial to Scottish war dead. Modeled after the Parthenon and still unclear whether it was a folly or they just ran out of funding.
The view of Edinburgh from Calton Hill. The castle is at about one o'clock.
The kids had a fabulous time just running wild. They played tig and ran around, with seemingly boundless energy. The grownups did actually read the signs, take some pictures and even found a couple of caches. Could vacation get any better than this?