Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Big Day of Walking. Day 3.

June 24th

We woke up and we walked around to find a place for breakfast.  We found a little café called Fresco Café.  It was small and adorable of course.  I had toast with jam and a banana. Mmmm..

Breakfast with Erin and Larissa! :)

 After breakfast, we met up with the rest of the group to walk to Edinburgh Castle.  The walk was beautiful.  The higher up the hill we went the more we could see of the city.

Finally, we arrived to the Castle!

The tour was informative and interesting.  After the tour, we were free to wander around the castle on our own.  There were a lot of museum-type places in the castle.  It was a bit overwhelming how much there was to do, but was saw some incredible things.

After walking around for a while we had coffee at a little café in the castle, however, I forgot the name of it..
After the castle, we went on the long-ass Royal Mile Tour. Seriously, this tour consisted of over  two hours of walking! But it wasn’t all that bad at all.  The tour guide told us tons of historical stories( I made sure to stand in the front so I could hear everything she said) and of course, the scenery surrounding us was incredible.  She took us into various closes, which are kind of like alleys with really cool places at the end of them.  I cannot possibly remember all of the stories she told us, and I failed to write them down because we were constantly walking, but I can probably remember a few.  She told us that back when they didn’t have plumbing, the people of Edinburgh would throw out their “waste” into the street at 7am and 10pm.  Pretty gross.  Also, the buildings in Edinburgh used to be much brighter..
like this ----->

But, I believe they faded and then they became listed which means nobody can touch them to alter them anymore.  I thought that was unfortunate to an extent, but the buildings still manage to be extremely gorgeous.

<--This is how narrow some of the closes were. 
 If I remember correctly, this says "Live while learning" in Latin.. --->
 <--- If you can't read that, it says:
 "This small business card case is made from the left hand of William Burke who was hanged in 1829. The judge decreed that as part of his sentence, Burke's body be used by the School of Anatomy at Edinburgh Surgeons Hall. The skin was removed from Burke's body and used to make several items."
You can read why this happened to Burke below....

 "Burke and Hare, who have a special place in the black history of the City, were probably the first serial killers.
The city's medical schools could not get enough bodies to meet the needs of anatomy classes, spectacles attended by large numbers of observers. But William Burke and William Hare offered a steady supply. They are believed to have killed between 16 and 30 waifs and strays in 1828 and sold them to the Medical School at (over 7 pounds) a time.
Hare turned King's evidence and Burke was convicted of murder and hanged in the High Street before a crowd of 25,000. the judge ordered that his remains should be sent for dissection and 30,000 eager citizens filed past his body. His skeleton is now displayed at the Anatomy Museum in Edinburgh University-while many people claim to have a piecs of his skin as a trophy. Hare was smuggled out of Edinbugh and it is not certain where he ended his days. Dr. Robert Knox, who bought the bodies, was never charged but left Edinburgh in shame under the pressure of public opinion."
 <--The Queen either was there while we were, or would be soon..that's why we weren't allowed to go inside.
The story about this dog is adorable.  I guess the dog's master died and the dog sat by his grave for 14 years. That's loyalty.

After the Royal Mile tour we were free to wander around the area.  Larissa, Erin, and I wanted to find a place to have some coffee. We were pretty determined to find The Elephant House which we saw for like 2.5  seconds while we were on the tour.  The Elephant House is said to be the café where J.K. Rowling began Harry Potter.  We honestly had no idea where we were going and were just walking up the Royal Mile searching for it.  At some point, one of us randomly decided we should turn left.  We walked down our new-found street for a few minutes and just when we were about to give up, it appeared on our right! We did not think we would manage to find it so it was extremely exciting that we did!!  We got some coffee and relaxed.  Sitting was kind of a foreign thing for us then, so that was crazy-nice.  I think the thing I liked most about The Elephant House was that it looked like a regular café.  The only place they even mentioned Harry Potter or J.K. Rowling was on the front of the building. But on the inside, they weren't Harry Potter-obsessed.  The bathroom was a different story-but that was obviously put together by adoring fans.  The bathroom was filled with all kinds of Harry Potter graffiti. It was too funny—we even wrote our names on the wall!

After we were done with our coffee we wanted somebody to take a picture of us in front of The Elephant House.  We asked a nice-looking guy who was holding a camera. 

After taking the picture, he asked if we were Harry Potter fans, and though I am not a giant fan, Larissa and Erin are more-so.  He offered to take us to the graveyard where we had been earlier (on the Royal Mile tour) where J.K. Rowling had apparently gotten the inspiration for some of the character’s names in Harry Potter.  We agreed to go with him.  During the walk we found out that his name was Luke Zac and he was from Minnesota.  He was traveling on his own to go to special Harry Potter places—he was a big fan.  We made it to the graveyard and saw a gravestone with the name Thomas Riddle on it!  It was so cool to see, and all of our friends were jealous that we got to see them!  After the graveyard, we got a picture with him :)

Next we continuted to walk down the Royal Mile some more and walked inside a couple chapels including Saint Mary’s Church (where some form or royalty is getting married soon…can’t remember who..), and Saint Giles Chapel, which was gorgeous but was also closing basically right when we walked in. After that we went to Saint Giles Café which ought to be called The Sunflower Café.  It had sunflowers everywhere and I was extremely excited :)

Next we went on The Real Mary King’s Close tour.  This covered a part of the city that was underground that had been built on top of.  It was said to be haunted.  I was expecting it to be more scary than it was, so as we went though it we were all on edge expecting something terrifying to happen, never did.  The most scary thing that happened was when we were listening to a recorded ghost story (which of course wasn't scary) and when a part of the story talked about fingernails scratching on wood one of the old men on the tour scratched his fingernails on the wood to scare us..  But, it was still interesting and we learned lots ‘o history.  One of the stories I remember is the story about Wee Annie.  Apparently they had a psychic come to Mary King’s Close to see what she felt and when she went inside what is now known as Wee Annie’s room, she had to leave immediately.  She said she had a sudden feeling of overwhelming sadness.  After much convincing, she went back in and said there was a little girl that was left there by her mother and father and that she had lost her doll.  Later, the psychic bought Wee Annie a doll and she said that all of a sudden the room changed.  One day, a group of tourists stole the doll out of the room and as they walked down the street, they began to feel scratching on the backs of their legs, they brought the doll back after that.  Now, the room is completely filled with dolls from all around the world to keep Wee Annie happy.
Once the tour was over, we all walked back to the town house and once again took advantage of the wi-fi.

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