Sunday, March 29, 2015

Scotland Trip: Edinburgh, Part 1

Oh hey, it's time for Edinburgh. Edinbrurur. Brubururuh.

As it turns out, the bus system between Glasgow and Edinburgh is pretty straightforward and self-explanatory. Pay some money while still jet-lagged. Sit on a bus for an hour. Get off in a daze near a Tesco.

After going into the Tesco to stock up on provisions (which for the purposes of this trip meant ridiculous chocolate bars and variously flavored chips), we headed up to Edinburgh Castle to begin our day.

Here's the thing about historically important sites; they tend to be really inconvenient to get to. We went through this during the trip to Greece, where all of the really interesting pars are located on big steep hills made of marble. Edinburgh Castle is not on a hill made of marble, but it is on a really big hill and I'm convinced we took the steepest route to the top (evidenced later by our relatively easy hike up the Royal Mile).

Steepness aside, I presume the castle warded off invaders with awful weather and a really long, really slow moving line for admission. Admission lines are to be expected, but something about the outdoor nature of this one, followed by the outdoor nature of much of the castle, meant that by the time we got our tickets (and a touristy guidebook, because we've sort of stopped bothering with the pretense that we're not the most touristy tourists), the main goal was "find somewhere in this historical marvel where it's even sort of warm."

Which was good. We found a room with a model of the castle and a bunch of explanations of how historic everything was, but most critically, a small space heater. Happily, at this point we were able to look through the guidebook and found an entry on something called the "One O'Clock Gun", which is apparently a piece of artillery that's fired at 1pm. 

I say happily, because it meant we were slightly less startled. Still pretty startled, but a little less. There was a crowd gathering around, while a man in uniform prepared the gun, then stepped back to look at a clock, then went back up to the gun with a pocket watch, then fired the gun. Which is really loud. Everyone standing around had no form of ear protection, and we took our cue from them without really considering that everyone here is a tourist who has no idea how loud this will be.

The answer is really loud. 

We toured through the rest of the castle, encountering a choir in the Great Hall and walking through an exhibit about the Honours of Scotland (which was full of wax figures that were a little off-putting, but well enough put together as far as exhibits go) and headed off into town to find lunch.

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