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Published: August 17th 2016
After breakfast, I decided to tour the Edinburgh Castle, so I got there by 9am. The line for tickets is long but it moves quickly. There are lots of things to see at this castle. The ticket comes with a 30 minute tour, right of the bat, the tour guide started with the inaccuracy of movies - namely Mel Gibson's Braveheart. Movies, she said, take poetic license to make the stories more interesting. Among other things, Robert the Bruce was considered "Braveheart" not William Wallace and they did not paint their faces. Despite all the inaccuracies, she did say, that such movies do peak people's interest which is always good for tourism. Among the things to see at the castle:
• Scottish Crown Jewels - not much compared to England's Crown Jewels, but the most important thing is the Stone of Scone or "Stone of Destiny," which was taken by Edward I of England and kept in Westminster Abbey for over 700 years, is now back in Scotland since 1996. On one condition, when a new monarch (Old Charlie) of UK is crowned, it must be sent to Westminister Abbey for that day.
• War Memorial - which honors the dead
in all the wars which UK participated in
• Royal Apartments - these are the apartments that Mary, Queen of Scots, gave birth to James IV (James I of England)
• St Margaret's Chapel - is the only structure original to the castle, all the other buildings were destroyed by the many wars between England and Scotland and rebuilt. By the way, this chapel can be reserved for weddings, but it can only hold about 25 guests.
• Prison & Royal Scottish Regiment Quarters
After touring the castle, I walked down the Royal Mile (from Edinburgh castle to Palace of Holyroodhouse - Queen's residence in Scotland) and saw the sights along the way:
• Gladstone's Land - which is an original tenement house, how the overcrowded people lived in the 1800s (the Royal Mile used to be full of them then), but tenement
• Writers' Museum - small museum that houses few things from the famous writers of Scotland: Robert Burns, Sir William Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson
• Deacon Brodie's Tavern - Deacon Brodie was the inspiration for the book "Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"
• St. Giles' Cathedral - according to my guide book, "a kind of Scottish Westminister Abbey"
People can search for their ancestors
By this time, I was really tired of all the walking, so time for an afternoon tea break. Then on my way back to the B&B for some rest, I stopped at the visitor's center and the Scott Monument. This monument is dedicated to Sir Walter Scott who is credited for having a major influence on the Scotland we know today.
At 7:30pm, I went on the Literary Pub Tour, which was very interesting: again to quote my guide book, "you'll follow the witty dialog of two actors as they debate whether the great literature of Scotland was high art or creative re-creation of fun-loving louts fueled by a passion for whisky" as we go from pub to pub.
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