Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Edinburgh Castle, National Museum of Scotland, Royal Mile Day 3 #VisitScotland #goaheadtours #Edinburgh

Woke up in Edinburgh; am I really here. The Holiday Inn Express Edinburgh City Centre in Picardy Place offered a very nice cafeteria breakfast. So we were ready to go.

Our group hopped on the bus for a brief tour Georgian New Town, the Royal Mile, the Princes Mall, Holyrood  Palace/Park, and the Parliament. Our local guide Bill Renny was both knowledgeable and entertaining.

He pointed out various types of architecture and places for good photo ops later in the day.
Our first stop was a briefing about Holyrood Palace, in case folks wanted to return for a tour during their free afternoon. Bill pointed out Arthur's Seat, The Parliament Building and this cute building that no one really knows what it is or what its purpose was in the past.

We had a few minutes before departing for Edinburgh Castle and rather than hit the gift shop we ran across the street to this cemetery we spotted behind the Parliament Building.

In addition to some very interesting grave markers, the cemetery offered some great views.

Back on the bus, we made our way up the Royal Mile to Edinburgh Castle. We paused for a group photo then made our way into the Castle.

We had time to explore all the buildings, except a few that are still used by the Military today. The views of Edinburgh were breathtaking!

We walked through the Great Hall, visited the Crown Jewels and The Stone of Destiny, checked out St. Margaret's Chapel and walked along the battery.
Leaving the Castle we looked a back at the statues of Robert The Bruce and William Wallace. But I was more interested in The Witches Well.

From their website: "This site, situated at the entrance to the Castle esplanade on the west wall of The Tartan Weaving Mill, is easy to miss. A cast iron wall fountain commemorates the place where over three hundred women were burned at the stake accused of being witches.

In the 16th Century more witch burnings were carried out at Castlehill than anywhere else in the country. The victims often suffered brutal torture before being put to death at the stake.

They were often nearly drowned by being 'douked' in the Nor' Loch. One of these victims, was Dame Euphane MacCalzean, accused of witchcraft for using a spell to sink a vessel out of Leith, and attempting to destroy the ship of King James VI as it entered North Berwick.

Scotland killed more "witches" than any other European country; not something they are proud of now; over 17,000 women died between 1479-1722.

Our afternoon was spent walking some of the Royal Mile. We stopped again at  Holyrood 9A for lunch. I had the Dirty Bird Sandwich, Jay had their Mushroom Burger. He tried their 6 Degree North Chopper Stout-I tasted it too and it was excellent!

After refueling we made our way to the National Museum of Scotland. Their collection is extensive and ranges from statutes of Buddha to a Formula 1 racing car. The Millennium Clock drew quite a crowd.
Before making our way back to the hotel I had to stop at the Sir Walter Scott Monument at Princes Street Gardens.
After walking most of the day neither of us had the energy to climb the 287 steps to the top of spire so we just observed from ground level.

We had a lovely walk back and could hear the cheers of the rugby match between Scotland and Ireland. Lots of fans from Ireland were roaming the streets and cheering well into the night.

More images from Day 3 in Scotland: http://photosbynanci.smugmug.com/Scotland-2015/Edinburgh/Holyrood-Park-Edinburgh-Castle

Edinburgh and the Castles of Scotland
Day 3 March 21 Georgian New Town, Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle,
National Museum of Scotland
March 19-30, 2015
Copyright ©2015 Nancy Nutile-McMenemy