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Published: October 8th 2008
People weren't kidding when they said Scotland would be cold, cloudy and/or rainy. In fact, many tourists came prepared with down jackets and mittens. The Edinburgh castle was my token tourist stop on my two day stopover in Scotland before descending to warmer regions of Europe. I was pleasantly surprised at how the British have embraced tourism and their love of all things historical and turned it into a commercial art form. I was greeted at the Edinburgh castle gates by efficient staff dressed in crested castle attire directing me to the entrance/ticket booth. Inside, well-placed signage directed me about and gift shops were at every corner. If I missed one at one war museum, there was another one selling tartan souvenirs 10 steps ahead. The washrooms even had hygiene monitors alerting you to the next time the washrooms would be cleaned... in case you couldn't wait the 15 minutes in between cleanings. Indeed, according to an authoritative book I discovered back in undergrad for a Historical Resource Management class, properly placed multi-lingual signage, handicap facilities, gift shops and coach bus parking lots were de rigeur for any proper tourist attraction.
As for the actual Castle, it was a lovely location
with a great view of the city. A young woman decided to get married there that Friday morning and was cheered on by a bagpipe player and mobs of tourists acting quite paparazzi-like. Perhaps they'd never seen a wedding before... or at least a Scottish one at that.
With more time to kill before heading back to Glasgow, I decided to stroll down the Royal Mile and take in yet another tourist attraction - the underground city tour. It was touristy at best but the guide made up for it by entertaining us with what life was life back in the day. Random lessons learned: the term "daylight savings tax" may have come from the Scottish parts where if you had windows in your home, you paid tax for it. Many poor people couldn't afford this so they bricked up their windows. If you were part of the well-to-do middle class, you may have opted for plastered walls. Ingredients of this were mainly: water, human ash & horse hair. Mmm.... ashes of dead people.
Lastly, Glasgow Prestwick is a quaint airport Ryanair uses as their Glasgow base located about an hour outside of Glasgow. The slogan to this airport
emblazoned on their walls and even staff uniforms seems to be "Pure Dead Brilliant". Can anyone explain this as it just sounds creepy and currently sounds somewhat like a consumer warning.
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