Edinburgh Etc… 

Edinburgh Castle

Today was an absolutely gorgeous day. As you can see, it was sunny and nice and pleasantly sort of warm. It was about 65 degrees Fahrenheit with a perfect breeze, which the locals said was the best weather they’ve had in weeks. We started the day with a guided tour of Edinburgh Castle – one of the perks of going on a group tour like Contiki is having that sort of thing prearranged and included. Our tour guide was named Sabella and she was both informative and highly entertaining.

One of the anecdotes she told us was about how in medieval Edinburgh, there was incredibly poor sanitation and the streets were very narrow, so everyone drank alcohol all the time because the water would kill you, so, often drunk people were walking the streets. Well, there was no indoor plumbing and nowhere to empty your chamber pot except out the window into the street below. People would call a warning before they dumped it, but the drunker you were, the more likely you were to stop and look up instead of dodging… Hence the term… “Shitfaced.”

I have no idea how true that is and I promise she was much better at telling the story, but she did give an amazing tour of the castle.


Edinburgh Castle has some incredible history, and is a great site to visit – my photos really don’t give it justice. We were also able to see the Scottish Crown Jewels, although no photos were allowed.

Next, I went with a small group to eat lunch and do some shopping, but then my solitary tendencies kicked in and I decided to do some exploring on my own. I’m not sure how many of you are Harry Potter fans, but if you are, I’m sure you’re aware that J.K. Rowling wrote all of the books here in Edinburgh, so supposedly many of the local sites were inspiration for the books and I set out to find at least one – in Greyfriars Kirkyard, there are several names familiar to Harry Potter readers including a Tom Riddell (Tom Riddle) and a McGonagall. There is also a school located nearby that was said to have inspired Hogwarts. Plus, the architecture. Look at it. It looks straight out of the movies.


Tom Riddell’s gravestone

Outside Greyfriars Kirkyard, there is a little statue of a dog, called Greyfriars Bobby. If you want to read the story, it’s here, but maybe get some tissues first.

Greyfriars Bobby


Lastly, today they gave us a bus ticket that was good all day and the public transportation here is AMAZING. It’s clean and safe and the buses have wifi! It was great and very easy to get from place to place. I still walked more than five miles, but I also took the bus several times and I wish we had something similar back home.

View from the upper deck of a double decker public bus

I finished up the day with some souvenir shopping and then took the bus back to the hotel for a group dinner. Tomorrow we take the tour bus up to St. Andrews and then we go for a cruise on Loch Ness! Maybe I’ll have some photos of Nessie for you tomorrow night!


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