Okay, so I’ve sort of been neglecting getting everyone caught up on last years trip to Scotland…blame my life, it’s always busy. Awesome, but busy! I will try to get you caught up on my Scottish adventures as well as my hectic and amazing Summer…no promises though!
Edinburgh, where to even start with this city? I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I love Glasgow. But when I first stepped out of the train station and took my first real look at Edinburgh my heart seemed to swell and I realized that this city, this city was for me! Everywhere my eyes rested they were being treated to gorgeous stonework, beautiful buildings and awe-inspiring spires. There I was standing in a city that I could have easily spent at least a week or two in and I’d only left myself one day, yep, one day. There was so much to do and see that if I hadn’t previously spoken to Matt about his stay in Edinburgh I wouldnt’ have even know where to start. Thankfully he’d told me about this amazing free walking tour service, Sandman’s New Europe Tours. Boy am I glad he told me about this for two reasons. 1) This way I had a starting point, I knew that I needed to be in front of a Starbucks on High Street for 11 am and 2) this tour was AMAZING! Thank-you Matt 🙂
My tour guide for the day was Owen. As soon as he opened his mouth and started to talk, I, and everyone else in the group, realized he was not Scottish and could tell that his base accent was one with which I was very familiar. I just couldn’t place it as he’d started to pick up a bit of a Scottish one on top. Of course I needed to know, turns out he’s a good old Canadian boy – Edmonton to be exact. I knew I recognized the accent! Over the course of 3-4 hours Owen took us along the famous Royal Mile. We saw several points of intrest including, but not limited to, St. Giles Cathedral (upcoming post), several closes, the court-yard by Robert Burn‘s flat, the Council Chambers, Edinburgh Castle, and several Harry Potter related sites (another upcoming post).
For those of you who do not know what a close is here is a very quick lesson. It’s a skinny little pathway between buildings leading to the buildings/courtyards (no garden involved) behind said buildings. Some of them are so narrow that you have to walk single file, and others are wide enough to walk one or two abreast. The names of the closes used to change all the time as each one was named after the most well to do person/family in the courtyard the close lead to. When they stopped doing that all the closes were left with the names of the last person it was named after. Kind of cool.
Of course everyone has heard of Robbie Burns even though it turns out he never went by Robbie, always Robert or Rabbie. Edinburgh is one of the many places he called home and we were lucky enough to be shown the window to his home/flat. I failed to take a picture of the window, but here is a picture of the building beside in the same little courtyard.
For this post I’m going to finish up by a quick little visit to the outside of Edinburgh Castle. Since I only had one day for the whole of Edinburgh there wasn’t the time for me to explore the castle. Hey, it just gives me a really good reason to go back, well, it’s better than “but I want to.” I was able to walk as far up as the gates and I did get to see it up close as well as from several different vantage points around the city. It really is a rather impressive looking place, and I hear the history is fascinating. When I eventually make it back there I’ll tell you all about it 🙂