Monday, July 24, 2017

Singin' in the Rain (Scotland #3)

Scotland was very rainy. Not the sort of rain that drenches you in five seconds, but the gloomy kind where you have to blink a lot and you'd rather be inside with a cup of something warm and a good book. It was chilly and windy and honestly not my favorite. 
However, it was beautiful.

Because it was so gloomy, our day got a late start. When we'd gotten up and ready, we walked down Princes Street and came to this cemetery, where David Hume is memorialized.

We also picked up an umbrella at Primark because we'd accidentally left ours behind in Germany. Carson chose this one and it was a cheery contrast to the day.

We had lunch at a burrito place (not exactly authentic Scottish food but Haggis was an option for filling).

After we'd fueled ourselves, we walked up Calton Hill, which gave us a good view of the city and surrounding area.

Carson manning the battle stations.

Here I am with the unfinished National Monument of Scotland. Apparently the builders ran out of funds and so this monument was never completed. It seems that it was called names like "the disgrace of Scotland" and things in that vein, and although funds probably could be raised at this point, there isn't much enthusiasm behind the idea.

This is the Nelson Monument, dedicated in the 19th century to Admiral Horatio Nelson.

This is Arthur's Seat. It's apparently an easy (but steep) hike, but we didn't really bring clothes worthy of a muddy hike in the rain, so we just saw it from the other hill. In a lot of ways, this Scotland trip wasn't as ambitious as we can sometimes get on trips, and I'm okay with that.

We made our way over to High Street to visit the Royal Mile (the area between Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace), but first we had tea. Well, I did, and Carson had a flat white.

I'm not a beer drinker, but there were lots of pubs full of all kinds of ales, and even whiskey places in Edinburgh.

A new friend of Carson's in Austria told him about this place called Oink that roasts an entire pig every day, and all they serve each day is food made from the meat of that pig. Once it's gone, they close for the day. We'd intended to eat there, but forgot about it so we just took pictures when we passed by.

We came to Holyrood Palace, which is the Queen's official residence in Scotland. We didn't go in, so here it is from a distance.

This picture was taken through a gate.

 For context, that's Calton Hill behind us. And you can see here that despite a generally grey day, we had some blue sky as well. The weather definitely kept us on our toes. 

I know almost nothing about Game of Thrones, but I guess these horn things were used in the show.

You can thank the rain for this lion's mane hair I have going on. Thankfully I didn't look in a mirror until the end of the day or I'd have been horrified.

St. Giles Cathedral. Smaller than I'd imagined.

I'd heard good things about Camera Obscura, an optical illusion place. It's a very highly rated place to visit, but it seemed a little tourist-trappy to us, and for the admission price, we decided to skip it. It may very well have been a gem, but sometimes we're not all about the admission fees.

Edinburgh Castle. Maybe it's amazing, but we've seen several castles here and weren't so interested at going inside (it costs 17 pounds also, which is more of the reason we didn't visit).

We went down a bunch of stairs from the castle, and found our way to Greyfriars Cemetery. This is where JK Rowling found inspiration for the names of Minerva McGonagall and Tom Riddle (Voldemort). We found the latter name after quite a lot of searching.  

Here's Tom Riddle's grave:

Somehow I didn't get a picture of the statue, since there were so many people crowded around it, but there was a pub and a famous statue dedicated to a faithful dog who sat by his master's grave at Greyfriars cemetery for years after he died.

We also passed by The Elephant House, where it is said that JK Rowling began writing the Harry Potter series in a back room. 

Here's the area where the conference went on for Carson. It was a neat courtyard!

John Knox

We went and sat in front of the Scottish National Gallery for a bit and watched some bagpipers while resting.

While sitting there, we saw this car with my name on it.

I'm aware that this is a garbage can, but I did find the labels to be rather cute.

That evening, we were tired and knew we had a really long day in the Highlands ahead of us, so we called it a night pretty early. I looked up "cheap places near me" from the hotel and found a really highly rated Mediterranean place a block or two away, so Carson headed over there and brought back some delicious gyros.
 I was so chilled to the bone that I just huddled there under the covers and ate in bed. The gyros were amazing, but so greasy that the packaging left huge grease stains on my shirt. I cobbled together a mixture of baking soda (which I keep with me to wash my face) and hotel shampoo. It somehow worked, and Carson thoroughly rinsed it out even more in his shower that evening. The shirt is just fine, so if you're ever in dire need of degreaser and not near dish soap, I guess that will do it!

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