Mary King's Close
Pic shows height of buildings above street level
Today our plan is to Find the Hop On Hop Off starting point and begin the race around the city.
Made it down the Royal Mile to the one end at Holyrood Palace (The Queen’s residence when in Edinburgh). While having very stately rooms it also has very old artifacts dating back to Mary Queen of Scots. Part of the tour takes you thru the rooms where her son was murdered. Always a worthwhile tour.
Back on the bus to another stop. Found Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurant (Jamie’s Italian) for lunch! Wow! Highly recommend anyone to try it.
One target is the Grassmarket area known for its open air flea market. On these streets are a lot of local curiosity stores. We also wanted to find the most haunted cemetery in Edinburgh, Greyfriar’s Kirk Yard.
Had to grab a taxi back to the hotel in order to get back to do a tour of the Edinburgh underground vaults and then ready for dinner at the Secret Garden in the Witchery. (we were also exhausted from climbing up and down the hills all day.)
First a description of the underground side
Lots of steep stairs down to train station. Once the Nor' Loch
of Edinburgh. The night before, we toured Mary King’s Close and toady we visited the vaults. With the Royal Mile running down the center of the city like the spine on an animal, there were 2 sides to the north and the south that developed distinctive construction styles.
To the north were buildings built up to 4 floors below street level and as many as 8 above. The space between these rows of buildings was as little as 4’, the widest being about 7’. Now the story gets interesting, no sanitation system meant that the bucket in the corner of the room could only be dumped into the street at 7 am and 10 pm by the youngest in the household. A warning shout was given (gardee loo) and then it was dumped into the street. This slurry then ran down the street to the Nor’ Loch. Paints quite the picture doesn’t it??
Fast forward to the 1700’s when the city council decided to take over a certain bock of buildings and this area was sealed up for 250 years until an excavations in the 1970’s found some homes in the same condition as they were when they
On the south side of High Street, the area was not as desirable since it did not slope into a lake (Sloped into a street at the bottom instead (Cows Gait) and they built a bridge to connect the ridge of High Street to another ridge using 19 arches. On either side of the street buildings were created for shops which closed off all but one of the arches. The poor and destitute found their way into the arches (vaults) since it was a death penalty crime to be a vagrant on the streets. The age of majority was 8, If you were caught homeless once you were flogged caught twice you were bound hand to foot and thrown into the Nor’ Loch. The suffering by the multitudes during a 200 year span has left a haunting legacy on this area.
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