Edinburgh Ė Itís pronounced ďEd in braĒ
(That Ed, heís a strange guy.† I guess you could also say ďEd in Burrow,Ē but Edís claustrophobic and wouldnít be caught dead in a burrow.)
A quick flight from London and I find myself in Scotland, land of kilts, whisky (with no Ďeí), and Mel Gibson movies.† Oh wait, there was nothing quick about my flight at all.† I scheduled a flight to leave at 6:30 in the morning because it would save me a 50 pounds.† However, I neglected to realize that the earliest I could get to the airport by train was 6:20.† Which means I caught the train that got me to the airport at 1am.† Yay! Sleeping in the airport! Which of course means I got absolutely no sleep at all.† But that didnít stop me doing a full day of touristy things when I got there.
Edinburgh Castle, high on a bluff.† This place looks scary from just about any part of the city.
A view of Arthurís Seat (the tallest peak in the distance) from the walls of the castle.† Itís supposedly the final resting place of King Arthur.† But, of course, no less than 15 places throughout England and France claim that distinction.† The Seat and surrounding hills make up Holyrood park, one of the more rugged urban parks around.† The stadium in the foreground was for an upcoming festival.† Edinburgh has a huge festival scene.
War Memorial within the castle grounds.
A mantle decorated with the royal seal of England.† Which brings me to a note on governments in the United Kingdom.† The pieces of the UK are actually separate countries linked only by the monarchy.† So Scotland, Wales, and England are in the UK but are different countries.† Also Isle of Mann and the Channels Islands have their own independent governments, but no one really notices them.† Ireland used to be part of the UK but gained its independence in 1922.† Well most of it gained independence.† Six counties in the north of Ireland remain under UK control.† Confused yet?† Donít worry, I donít think most British people understand it either.
The cemetery for soldiersí dogs, a vital part of any defensive structure.
A view down the Royal Mile from the castle.† The mile (well, itís actually a mile and an eighth long) runs from Edinburgh Castle down to Holyrood Palace, an official residence of the monarch.† The street is jam packed with old churches, historical markers, tourist traps, and souvenir shops.
Next stop: the top of Arthurís Seat.† Itís only 900 ft high, but it looks imposing doesnít it.
A piece of the view from the Seat.† Thatís Holyrood Palace in the lower right.† Holyrood means ďHoly CrossĒ by the way.
More views from the top.† The river in the bottom picture is called the Firth of Forth. Iím not sure what ďFirthĒ or ďForthĒ means, but one of them is probably ďriverĒ.
Edinburgh Castle dominating this section of the city.
The back side of the Seat.† Not as many tourists make it up here, but there are still plenty.† After leaving the summit I proceeded to traipse all over the park.
Are you sure Iím the middle of a city?
In the center of this picture and across the street from Holyrood Palace is the new Scottish Parliament building (itís the funny looking one).† Finished in 2004, it only ran several hundred million over its budget.
Ruins of a fort above a loch (thatís lake for you non-Scottish people) in the park.† Each of the summits in the park had a fort built on it a few thousands years ago, with only few remnants of each remaining.
Apparently Iíve only posted pictures of Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Park.† But there are lots of other museum/old things/shops/things to do in Edinburgh.† Itís really a neat place to visit.
Next Iím off on a bus to tour around the rest of Scotland.† Well not all of it, but some highlights.