Friday, September 20, 2013

The Freezing Castle (Edinburgh)

   On September 6th, we took off to Edinburgh. This was the day that I mentioned earlier, saying it was absolutely freezing, rainy, & miserable. That pretty much sums it up, but we tried to make the best of it & ended up making memories along the way!

   Edinburgh Castle is the focal point of Edinburgh. It's at the top of the Royal Mile, which is a mile long street leading up to castle at the top of the hill. The Royal Mile packed with shops & plenty of Scottish tweeds & tartans to go around. That day we got some royal exercise.

Photo Credit: Dad

   We weren't expecting it to be so cold, so we didn't even bring coats! Just to impress on you how freezing it was, Mum bought us two scarves trying to make us a little bit warmer. I already had a scarf but no gloves, so I just wrapped my new scarf around my cold hands. I did take my hands out of the scarf every now and then to take pictures for you guys. Oh the things I do for you . . .
   I will now mention that my family & I came to Edinburgh on our last England trip, back in 2005. Believe it or not, it was 10x more freezing then than it was this time around. All our Edinburgh memories are rather cold.

   The castle itself was fascinating, so it's a pitty I mostly ducked my head & wanted to go inside a building to get warm.

   Here's a before & after picture! Eight years makes a difference. (And yes, that really was me under all those layers. You'll just have to take my word for it.)

Photo Credit: Dad

Photo Credit: Dad

   One of my favorite parts of Edinburgh Castle was seeing The Honours: The Scottish Crown Jewels. Unfortunately you aren't allowed to take pictures of them, but there is one fascinating story about them that I'd love to recount to you. 
   The crown, scepter, & sword of state were used at the coronations of Scotland's monarchs as far back as 1543. When the Parliament of England & the Parliament of Scotland were dissolved in 1707 & the Parliament of Britain was formed, the Honours of Scotland no longer had a symbolic purpose. Therefore, they were locked in a chest in Edinburgh Castle and almost forgotten for over a hundred years. 
   When a group finally went to regain the Honours in 1818 they were afraid the jewels might have been stolen during their hundred year rest. But when they broke into the chest's lock & lifted the lid the Honours were safely inside. My favorite part of the story is that there was one more item found in the chest besides the crown, scepter, and sword of state. It was a silver-gilt wand. No one knows why or how it got there, it's all a mystery. It would make an excellent historical fiction novel!

Photo Credit: Dad

   After we finished exploring the castle we warmed ourselves up with tea at a nice cafe. Then we went back out to face the elements to do a bit more shopping on the Royal Mile. I bought a cute pink cardigan at my new favorite clothing store, Ness! They have the loveliest things.

   The next day was a mix of more walking around the city, resting in the hotel room, & saying goodbye to Aunt Kim & Uncle David. We had such a great time with them & were so sad to see them go!

   We enjoyed our stay in Scotland very much, even if our last day was so dismal. We found Scotland to be very laid back and friendly. Almost all the people, especially our waiters & waitresses, were so kind & went out of their way to give us great service. Definitely hoping I can go back one day!

P.S. On our train to Edinburgh we sat behind a lively group of women throwing a hen party, which is the British version of a bachelorette party. They were quite a boisterous lot with plenty of champagne for the whole weekend! =) We asked if we could take their picture & they happily agreed. Even though it's kind of blurry, it captures the atmosphere of coach rather well. 

Photo Credit: Dad

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