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Edinburgh – Tourists’ Delight

Abhishek Kar

Edinburgh came as a real big surprise! I thought that I had seen it all on the British Isles, after my stay in London and visits to places in England and Wales. What could a rocky Scotland offer? How wrong I was!

Photo credits:Edinburgh Castle:Paul Martin Remfry                                                                 Photo credits:Sir Willima Wallace:Flickr

Located on the southern shores of the Firth of Forth, Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland, is a traveler’s delight. A trip to the Edinburgh castle is a must for all visitors. This huge structure, located on the top of Castle Rock, watches over the city as its guardian. One look from the ramparts at the city below will take one’s breath away. Two big statues of Robert the Bruce and Sir William Wallace meet and greet visitors at the castle gates and there are guards in their kilts who keep vigil day and night. Have you ever seen any human being stare unblinkingly for an unbelievably long time? If no, then you must be here.

Photo credits:Mon Meg:The Dunstane Houses                                                           Photo credits:Dreamstime.com

This historic place, one of the “most attacked castles in the world”, houses King James’s room, the “Honors of Scotland” as well as the ‘Mon Meg’, a 13,000-ton cannon capable of firing stones, each weighing 330 pounds. Rumor has it that more people died behind it rather than in front! The one-o-clock gun here acts as a time signal for the city. Isn’t it more economical to inform the city at 1 instead of at 12, as it takes just one simple shot! Haven’t we heard how careful a Scot is with his money!

Edinburgh, like Rome, is a city built on seven hills and one of them is called Arthur’s Seat, clearly visible from certain parts of the city. Legend has it that King Arthur is actually resting here and will rise if his country once again requires his service. That everything in Edinburgh is a fine blend of the old Victorian buildings, cobbled streets and modern structures, is quite evident from the fact that the old and the new town areas together make up an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Photo credits:Royal Mile: TravelDigg.com                                                            Photo credits:Holyrood Palace:Wikipedia Commons

Hence, right after checking into our hotel, I just had to go out again to see the National Museum, the National Gallery, City Chambers, University of Edinburgh and most famously, the Royal Mile or the Scottish Royal Mile, the road that goes downhill right between the Castle and the Holyrood Palace. It was quite fascinating to see the old residences around the city of famous people, notably of R. L. Stevenson as well as the statue of one Deacon Brodie, a city councilor by day and a robber by night, the inspiration for “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde”.

Photo credits:Scotland Now                                                                                     Photo credits:Hard rock cafe:TripAdvisor

Our Scottish guide, Maureen insisted that we all spend some time at a road side café or eatery for without this a trip to Scotland is incomplete. So, I visited both a traditional Scottish pub as well as a Hard Rock Café outlet and, in both the places, the loud guffaws as well as the soft murmurs, the mugs of lager in the hands of the Scots helped me understand the Scottish spirit better.