First item of business…laundry. You’re welcome a day in advance, fellow Ryan Air passengers. Second item of business…work. Which has proved to be quite difficult with the internet situation here. With all that out of the way, I ventured out for my last day of exploration in Edinburgh! I stepped out on the street, and oh, but Edinburgh greeted me in her finest regalia! Her brightest blue dress, adorned with the whitest lace! Yes, brilliant blue skies, puffy, blindingly white clouds, and SUNSHINE! Hands down, most beautiful day since I’ve been here. Well, maybe the sky was celebrating the summer solstice. 🙂
First stop, a free guided tour of the Scottish History portion of the National Museum of Scotland. Our guide was the sweetest little old lady- probably in her mid-70’s. You could tell she enjoyed the museum! She took us around and showed us some of the more important history pieces from the MASSIVE, and I mean MASSIVE collection. I plan on coming back, so didn’t take a lot of pictures. However, here are just a few. If you want to really do this museum justice, I’m thinking 3-4 hours- easy- depending on how thorough you are. I was just here for the Scottish history part, but there is all kinds of stuff to see. I did a fast walk through and snapped a few pics of that stuff as well.
After the tour and wandering around the museum a bit, I went for a stroll through Greyfriar’s Kirkyard (Cemetery). I’ve been here a few times on tours, but wanted to just wander around at my own pace. And this is where I will tell the story of Greyfriar’s Bobby- the short version! So there was this man named John Gray who was a night watchman. His Skye terrier, Bobby, would make the rounds with him every night, never leaving John’s side. Well, John died in 1858 and was buried in Greyfriar’s. And even in death, little Bobby didn’t want to leave John’s side. He sat by his grave until he himself died- 14 years later. There’s a statue of Bobby, that is PERPETUALLY covered in tourists getting pictures. If you enter the cemetery, the first thing you’ll see is a monument to Bobby where people leave sticks. And, as I was wondering around, I just so happened upon John Gray’s burial plot as well.
With that story out of the way, I present, the super creepy (even in the brilliant sunlight!) Grayfriar’s Kirkyard- supposedly the most haunted place in all of Scotland and the most haunted graveyard in the entire world! Oh, and speaking of haunted, I just realized that I completely forgot to mention the free ghost tour I did yesterday evening! Um, let’s just say that if I totally forgot to talk about it, it really wasn’t worth mentioning. 🙄
Came back, made lunch, worked, and then headed out for my last Scottish tour. Remember yesterday when I found the owls? Well, those owls are in front of a place called Gladstone’s Land. Seriously, it’s tucked in between so many other shops and tourist trap places on the Royal Mile, that I never even gave it a first glance, much less a second. When I saw the owls, there was a sign outside that said something about witchcraft tours. What? How was I not aware of this earlier!! I had done extensive research into such offerings! Well, I went inside to inquire and apparently the witchcraft tours are new. And there were none scheduled before I left for Ireland! The only tours they had were something about the wealthy people who had lived there. Blippity, blah, blah, blah. I don’t care about wealthy people (unless you are one and want to put me in your will. Then I VERY much care!! 😇 ). I was about to leave, and the lady said that no one was signed up for the Thursday tour at 5pm, would I like her to just switch that to a witch tour? WOULD I?! Of course!! And she did. I paid about $19. So now it’s Thursday at 5, and I went back for my tour. I met Claire (I think- I’m horrid with names), who said she’d be my guide. We were joined by two older ladies from Germany. I learned that Gladstone’s Land was built in the 1550’s, and is one of the oldest buildings on the Royal Mile. We went upstairs into a room where some of the original paint from the original exterior wall was still visible! Amazing!!!! Claire told us about the man who lived in this room, Mr. Sutherland if I remember correctly. He was a minister at St. Giles, but was also involved in the witch trials and executions that ran rampant here in the 1600s.
Claire gave us some fascinating history on witchcraft in Edinburgh. I was on the edge of my seat!! We then went upstairs to another room. A room that was so beautiful and full of history that it literally moved me to tears. You could just FEEL it before Claire even spoke. The ceilings in this room were….there’s not even a word for them. We learned more stories of witches and witchcraft in old Edinburgh. Again, it was not presented in some dramatic “ooo tourists….let me get your attention!!” kind of way. It was more like an extremely interesting academic lecture. Lord, I was in heaven!!!!!! And she really got me to thinking about things from a new perspective, which I’m going to be excited to research more about before I create my class. At this point though, I also wanted to know about the people who lived here!! Now I wanted the wealthy person tour, too, but I had no time!! 😭 Plus, they have a Scottish Myths and Legends tour that I was DYING to take. UGH!!! I wanted every tour!! If you want a tour inside of a breathtaking building that is loaded with tons of history, go to Gladstone’s Land. It’s a Scottish National Trust building, and the money you pay goes toward upkeep of this treasure. It’s worth the money just to see that 2nd room. I’m telling you, the history in there is palpable.
View of the royal mile from one of the windows.
Original paint- almost 500 years old! You tend to think of the exteriors of these buildings as they are today- stone. But no…very decorative!
Today is Day 13. I spent the morning preparing to leave and working. As I walked from my AirBnB, my little home away from home for the past week, I wondered just how different are Scotland and Ireland from each other- culturally, physically. Caught the Airlink 100 bus at the Waverly Bridge which was just on the other side of the Royal Mile. I couldn’t believe I had never even made it back here!! My days were full, and there was still SO much of Edinburgh to explore!! I snapped this pic of the castle, MY castle (at least yesterday morning!) from the bus window. Goodbye, Edinburgh…until next time.
Got to the airport early and weighed my bag. 13 kg. Ugh. Ryan Air requires 10. I stuffed as much as I could into my little day pack and put on my heavy ski pants over my hiking pants. I was boiling. Got on the plane and they didn’t have the air on while we sat at the gate! I was DYING. We had some kind of technical problem, so we had to sit an extra 20 minutes or so. Finally, I couldn’t take it any longer!! I told the woman next to me to not think I was weird, but I had to take my TROUSERS off. And I did. 🙂 I came into Edinburgh taking my PANTS off on the bus, left by taking my TROUSERS off on the plane. I’m not sure what all of that means, other than I learned to call them by their right names! 😛
I am SO happy that the cheapest flight out of Reykjavik was to Edinburgh, and that’s how I wound up here in the first place! My original goal was to do research and filming for a Scottish Mythistory class I want to create. But I learned that the history is so rich here, that it’s impossible to just come in and figure it out on the fly. It’s going to take a lot of research! I’m going to create the class, THEN come back and fill in the gaps with my filming. Because if I can’t do the history of Scottish proper justice, then I refuse to do it at all. I respect it that much. And with that, I’m off to Ireland for the 3rd leg of this journey and more adventures!
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