Saturday, June 24, 2017


Stirling Castle is a very beautiful place. There's all sorts of fun castle stuff (the Stirling Heads!), and also amazing views all around. Also, check out Skipper levitating in the last photo.

We dropped off the rental car with a sigh of relief, and headed in to Edinburgh, carrying all our stuff until we could check into the apartment at 3. We went to the Dean's Village area, by the Waters of Leith, and then we went to the Princes Street Gardens to lie in the grass and eat Hobnobs. It turned out that there was a big pipes band competition going on, which was great fun - bagpipes and drums all over the place.

We went to the Canongate Tolbooth to see where one of Cook's ancestors was imprisoned for being a Covenanter before being banished to the colonies. On the way, we got ice cream, and because we were rushing to beat closing time, Cook and Skipper did Ice Cream Parkour on the way up Victoria Street.

There's a lot to see on the Royal Mile between Edinburgh Castle and the Canongate Tolbooth.

For example, the Museum of Childhood, which featured a lot of very disturbing dolls.

The John Knox House!

A lovely little garden behind the John Knox House, featuring a statue of Patrick Geddes. Edinburgh has all these wonderful little streets running into and through the blocks, and some of them have these great surprises.

Mercat Cross (executions...)

Gladstone's Land. I was excited to see this, because Edinburgh has this crazy history of "lands," apartment buildings from the 17th century that were up to twelve stories tall. The city's spread was so constrained by topography that they had to build up, and it must have been just wild to walk around the city. There was an amazing front room with painted ceilings in this building.

Edinburgh Castle! Duchess bonded more with Mary Queen of Scots.

Skipper bonded with a very large, very old gun apparently named Mons Meg.

The St Margaret's Chapel was my favorite place at the castle, and Cook's too. I don't have any photos that do it justice.

National Museum of Scotland! They had some of the Lewis Chessmen! I was happy to see them again. Cook did not think stealing them would be a good idea, so I left them there.

Greyfriars Kirk and Graveyard. This was fun, because Duchess had a lot of strong feelings and opinions, and we had some good and interesting discussion about things like faith, conviction, war, relativism... etc. We learned a lot about the Covenanters on this trip, a topic I had never explored before, and there's a lot to think about there. The Covenant was signed here, and some Covenanters imprisoned here, and there's a memorial, too. And also, the Flodden Wall!

Down time in the apartment.

We finished up our visit to Edinburgh by eating some classic Scottish tourist food at a pub that's been serving for 500 years. I ate haggis. HAGGIS.

Then... we went home. We rode two trains, a bus, two planes, a train, and a bus, and then it was all over.

 It was a great trip. The problem with a trip like this is that we just kept thinking of more places and things we wanted to add. We kept saying "Next time!" So I guess we'll leave it at that. Next time!

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