Train through Newcastle by the North Sea and up to Edinburgh
06.10.2012 - 09.10.2012 12 °C
My first real train ride from country to country and I loved it I can see now why Jordan prefers it. Its such a great way to see the country side and all the little towns along the way, it was fast comfortable and empty! I just bounced from booth to booth getting great views the whole way.
We got in around 5ish so we found a hostel and dropped our bags and headed to the Grassmarket an area of town that sits below most of the surrounding area, so everywhere you look theres streets above you with more amazing architechture, and the Edinburgh Castle is always in the background, somehow .
Its filled with pubs restaurants, cafes and shops ,and it seems no matter what direction your heading, your walking up steps, then a hill, than more steps lol. The Grassmarket area used to be the main market area of the city for horse and cattle. It was also where the public executions were held. Theres a pub called The Last Drop, it was where people that were being executed could go for their last drop of whisky before they were hung.
We went straight to the White Hart Inn where Jordan used to work which is the oldest pub in Edinbugh, dating back to 1516, the cellar even older 1152. Robbie Burns himself and the poet William Woodworth were frequent visitors here.
After walking around for the night we headed back to our hostel to have a cheap drink in the bar and went to bed early so we could get up in the morning for another full day. We spent the next two days touring around most of old town. We walked up to Calton hill and got some great views of the city.
Went through some old cemeteries that were really interesting. The headstones and tombs that the rich were buried in were massive. We went on a 3 hour walking tour the next day as well, and learned alot about the old side of town. In some of the cemeteries huge cages that go 6 feet below ground were placed over the graves of loved ones because a common crime was body-snatching. The university encouraged people to donate their bodies for study by offering them around 10£ per body, which would only buy a couple of pints today but was equivalent to a years wages back then. Now because the bodies of the dead were technically no ones property, people were actually allowed to dig up corpses from the cemeteries and take them to the University for money.
The city is stunning, its just history right in your face, everywhere you look. You can see it in London too but things are more refurbished and the stone is cleaned. I'm sure it is here too but everything just feels so much older.
Every little building and pub (there are over 750 pubs in Edinburgh, and a population of 450,000) has a story behind it. Theres a pub called Maggie Dicksons, which is named after a woman known as 'Half-Hangit Maggie", she had a newborn baby that died and when Maggie tried to conceal the body she was accused and convicted of murder, which at the time was a capital pinushment. She was hung in the town square and pronounced dead. She was placed in a coffin and on the way to the cemetery, woke up. It seems she was not killed but had only passed out from the hanging. She was taken back to the town square to be hung again but the Judge had to think about the situation. Due to the law of Double Jeopardy which states a defendant cannot be tried and convicted of the same crime twice, the Judge had to let her go as she was convicted, sentenced to death, hung and pronounced dead. Maggie went on to live another 40 years and had two more children.
We also walked through some beautiful old parks. Always with a view of the castle of course. It seems to always dominate the skyline as it was built on such a massive hill. We stopped one day and had lunch at the Elephant House, a little cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote the Harry Potter novels.
The city has completely blown me away and Jordan was quickly reminded of why he loved it here so much 9 years ago. Sad to leave this city after only 3 days here but we've rented a car to tour around the rest of Scotland, the Highlands and the Isle of Skye one of Scotlands most northernly islands.Not sure how our internet will be for the next week but we will be back in Edinburgh before the 18th of October to fly out to Amsterdam. Will do another update then! Bye for now!