That’s right everyone. Want to know why? It’s because I’m redheaded, left-handed, have birthmarks and wear perfume. If I lived in Scotland about 3-500 years ago all that is fair game for me to be thrown in a lake, put in a spiked barrel and rolled down the Royal Mile, burned at the stake and then have my ashes used for mortar in a city wall.
So that’s what went down in my favorite European city, Edinburgh, Scotland. Now, say it with me: Ed – in – bur – uh. They take offense if you mispronounce it. The train from London took about five hours. I don’t even want to talk about it. I hate trains. Every time they pass another one, it legit sounds and feels like they’re punching each other. But whatever. We made it and stayed in a pretty decent hostel called Edinburgh Backpackers right off the Royal Mile which was fine except for the idiots in other rooms and the disgusting bathrooms.
That’s the second time I’ve mentioned the Royal Mile while assuming you know what it is. It is pretty self-explanatory, the Scotts are not known for their creative names. The Royal Mile is the central road running down the hill on which Edinburgh is built stretching between Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace. How long is it? Take a wild guess. It’s so cute. Still cobblestones, but cars, horses and pedestrians alike utilize it for getting from Point A to Point B. If you want to get your good Scottish tourist crap, that’s the place to be. I bought my brother a kilt, bahaha!
The reason I love Edinburgh so much is because it is the perfect blend of old and new city. The Prince’s Gardens and Prince’s Street, called New Town across the river are a wonderful modern metropolis, but once you cross the bridge in to Old Town, it’s like you’re back a few hundred years. The citizens of Edinburgh used to be so closed off from the rest of the world that their boundaries are still semi-enforced. You can cross relatively easily but the result of their extended isolation has helped the Old Town remain basically old. All the buildings are old and aside from the odd Pizza Hut, some one from the 1800s wouldn’t have a problem recognizing it.
So the first day was basically spent exploring the Royal Mile, ending with us by Holyrood Palace, which is still in use today and is where the Queen and Co. stay when they are in Edinburgh. Near that is Arthur’s Seat, a hill connected with a bunch of different legends, some connected to King Arthur, some to William Burke and William Hare (check out the new movie, it’s all about them. Head’s up, they were psychos). Roomie, Holly and I hiked it and saw several views like this
Then we saw a double rainbow which was unbelievable. This is us checking out our pictures to make sure we got a good one (we didn’t there was no way a camera could capture that beauty).
and this is us shortly afterward, having not been paying attention and or thinking logically and having therefore not been aware of the fact that where there is a rainbow, there is rain.
That night we took a ghost tour I don’t want to talk about because I seriously thought I was being pulled into a séance and wanted nothing more than to go to church after. Don’t. Ask. We’re fine and it got me to confession after a long time so there’s a reason for everything.
The next morning we took a free walking tour with Troy!!! He was a fantastic tour guide (unfortunately from Australia and not Scotland, but on account of his being so cool and giving an awesome tour, we forgave him). He walked us around the whole city showing us the major landmarks, like the jail, the heart in the street near the debtors’ prison, which you are supposed to spit on for good luck and not walk through. It’s how you can always tell a tourist from a local. So now I know how to look like a local :)
But most importantly than that, he took us to the cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter.
Troy also took us to the graveyard with several names from Harry Potter. Meaning J. K. Rowling perused the graveyard and stole some names. Like McGonagall. And Moody. And TOM RIDDLE!!!
We had a ball with that one.
One our way to the graveyard though, we had to pass through the walls/gates of it. It was these walls that were built witch mortar. And unbelievably, I was not the only flaming ginger in the group.
I would just like to point out at this point in time, that excepting Ralph’s sister, I have never met a single other person with the exact same shade of red as mine. So the fact that there were two of us was an amazing thing, we had to draw to the entire group’s attention whenever we got the chance.
Here we are, with our witch brethren.
Pub crawl later that night after a non-demonic ghost tour. Summarized by the phrase, “If you gave me a stick, I would invade England TONIGHT!”
I love the Scotts.
Kicked off the next morning after leaving Troy a surprise in the graveyard so he could it on his next tour (and thanks to free BBM, he let us exactly when he did) with a traditional Scottish meal.
That’s damn straight. Haggis.
Ironically, I of all people love it. I think I like it better than those beans.
The last morning was spent in Edinburgh Castle, which is so cool.
It’s a fortress town really. With a bunch of different levels, it’s built on a hill and it’s blatantly obvious which portions are older than others. Some of my favorite bits are the dog cemetery.
The giant cannon that goes off at one to tell the time (because if it goes off at twelve, you have to use twelve shells. Why waste eleven of them?) We also have a picture with our heads in the giant cannon.
Real Nazi flag and Japanese katana (Dane Cook anyone?) that the Scottish regiment defeated.
Being a tourist.
And how easy it is to be an American. I’m not joking, the Scots LOVE AMERICANS! It’s brilliant!
Leftover things from American prisoners who were imprisoned there during the Revolution.
And this guy.
And of course, the perfect way to end the trip, getting in contact with my witchy self.