This morning we set about, in the rain, to see Edinburgh Castle. Sally was going to busy herself with other tasks since she’s seen it/done it. It took about 20 minutes to hike up the Royal Mile to claim our tickets for the castle self-tour. Much of what we experienced was the exterior of the enormous castle grounds. We had paid to download a cellphone tour at the time we purchased our tickets. Before I wander any farther into the grounds, let me recommend that you purchase a guidebook for 5 pounds rather than pay for the audio tour. We wanted to know where we were and did not need the music, production, and narration that accompanied the audio tour.
As we entered the castle gates we were met by Robert the Bruce to our right. He reclaimed the castle from the English in 1314. The fortress itself was in place in 1100s as King David’s Castle. It was provided additional protection 1457 with the additional of the enormous canon Mons Meg. The castle has a commanding view of all the surrounding area – including the steps up which we had traveled for our “castle shot” the day before. I particularly enjoy the shields with Scotland’s national animal – the unicorn. The unicorn was adopted as the national animal back in the 15th century. It appeared in the Royal Coat of Arms back in the 12th Century for the King of Scotland.
It was a rainy day to visit the castle. I’m pretty sure we missed some of the indoor exhibits (like the room where Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to James VI); but we did see the crown jewels exhibit. Some areas were closed due to COVID and access was limited in others. We also visited St. Margaret’s Chapel, a tiny space built in 1130. Gargoyles above angels. Umbrellas on the ramparts. Lots of great visual treats were there. We explored for about an hour and a half. We met up with Sally upon our exit, who kindly snapped our picture.
We grabbed a bite to eat and then Sally and I headed out for some shopping while I pointed Bill in the direction of some classic taverns. I think he may have had more fun as I bought nothing. After wandering the Royal Mile for an afternoon, one recognizes the same items in nearly every store, or else items that far exceed the budget. Bill, on the other hand, made it to Deacon Brodies, and the Piper’s Rest. It’s kind of funny, Sally and I saw items earlier in the trip that we thought we could purchase later in Edinburgh. We haven’t seen them since!
We headed back to our apartment, through the archway in the Old Tolbooth Wynd and took rest before dinner.
We visited Deacon Brodie’s where I enjoyed a dish called “Stovies”; a traditional dish of slow cooked beef rib, root vegetables, and potatoes served with a gravy and vegetables. Yum. A sign in the pub relates that the namesake of the tavern, “Deaoon Brodie” was considered to be a pious, respectable citizen and was even elected Deacon Councillor of the city in 1781. But by night he was a gambler, thief, “dissipated and licentious”. He was hanged from the city’s gallows in October of 1788. Robert Louis Stevenson fashioned his story “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” after Deacon Brodie.
The weather was comfortable for our walk home. Bill and I popped into The World’s End Tavern for pints to go. I’m loving the Crabbie’s ginger beer. It soothes my stomach and I take it purely for medicinal purposes … right.