We have heard so many great things about Edinburgh and were so excited to come here. Let me tell ya, so far it has not disappointed! When thinking about how to structure these blog posts I realized how much we have already done! We have spent time in the city center, in the Highlands, in the suburbs of the city, and on top of mountains. We have seen more kilts than you could imagine, been in castles and palaces, and heard our fair share of bagpipes. Can’t wait to tell you all about it- Scotland will have lots of blog posts!
Let’s start here: The Edinburgh Castle.
Built on the sight of an old volcano, Edinburgh Castle sits atop jagged cliffs made from volcanic stone. They put it here for the best defense and vantange point of course, but also because it looks terrifying up on the volcanic hill!
When you get inside the castle, you realize it’s not really a proper “castle.” Instead of a large fortified building, Edinburgh Castle is more like a little village. Inside the walls are a series of little buildings in different styles and built in different years. The “castle” was an ongoing project where buildings got added or replaced over many, many years.
We heard all about the history and learned a little bit more about English and Scottish rule. Honestly, we are getting a littttlllllleee burnt out with castles, but this one was really interesting.
Fun Fact: When ships used to be passing by or docked in the area around Edinburgh, their ship clocks kind of sucked. They had to be reset everyday for some reason. To help them out, the chaps at Edinburgh Castle fired a gun from the top of the hill everyday at 1oclock pm. The ships were then able to reset their clocks and be on schedule for the rest of the day. Although that clearly isn’t a problem in modern times, the castle still fires the same gun everyday at 1, out of tradition. They have aptly named it… the One O Clock Gun. Luckily we were there at 1 that day and got to watch it fire!
This castle also has a giant canon. I mean insanely large. They brought it to battle with them when the Scots were out to seige another castle. When they rolled up with “Mons Meg” most of the opposing forces would automatically surrender. It has a barrel diameter of 20″ making it one of the largest in the world! So naturally, Brad stuck his head inside it 🙂
Like the other castles we have visited, we got to see some of the weapons and armory used as well as the Great Hall and the original chapel that’s still standing. We even saw a wedding take place at the chapel! It’s teeny tiny but our tour guide said they still have about one wedding a week there. It’s a pretty unique wedding venue!
Another day, when we were walking by the castle from street level way below, we happened to catch the sunset. The sun was hitting the castle so beautifully we were so excited to take some pictures of it. Here are a couple below:
If you follow the road right outside the castle, you will find yourself on the Royal Mile. The Royal Mile is basically the “high street” of Edinburgh and leads from the castle on one end to Holyrood Palace on the other. (More about Holyrood in a future post.)
The Royal Mile is thought of by the locals as pretty touristy… but who cares. It is BEAUTIFUL and the architecture is amazing. The alleyways off the main road are adorably windy and fun to explore. The street itself is made up of tons of pubs and other restaurants and alllll the touristy souvenir shops you could ever want. I have seen so many kilts for sale. It seems like every store is either kilt based, whiskey based, or lambswool based.. as if to remind us we are indeed in Scotland 🙂 But I love every second I spend on the Royal Mile. I walk along and it looks as if the street hasn’t changed in hundreds and hundreds of years. And basically.. it hasn’t! There are bagpipes playing in the background, there are Celtic rings being handmade on the street corners, and haggis is readily available. Touristy or not, I love that street.
Well I suppose that’s all for now. Instead of pastry pictures like from France… I leave you with this photo of my daring husband ordering Haggis and Neeps like a local. (It actually wasn’t that bad.. just tasted like a sausage patty.)