Scotland

Day Nine- National Museum and Botanical Gardens

Today was another fun day in Edinburgh. In the morning, we took the bus to the National Museum of Scotland. It was a very nice museum, it had a variety of quality exhibits- we could have spent days in there! However, we just had the morning so we spent it exploring the history of Scotland. It was interesting to learn about Scotland's journey under a monarch in the middle ages through the Industrial era to modern day! We also stopped through one of their short term exhibits about ancient Egypt- it made us really excited to visit Cairo!

IMG_0629.JPG

After the museum, we took the bus back to our Air BnB and grabbed some lunch at the grocery store. We then ate our lunch at home while we did some laundry! In the afternoon, we took a leisurely walk to the Royal Botanical Gardens. I was amazed at how big it was! Eventually we found a cafe and shared some "luxury Scottish ice cream" while we sat on a bench and looked out at the city. That was the most sun we have gotten on our entire trip so far!

IMG_0630.JPG
IMG_0627.JPG

After relaxing there for a bit, we walked back home and got ready for our Ghost and Torture Tour! I have been on a couple of these before and I wanted to do one in Edinburgh because we spend so much time seeing and learning about where the royalty lived and what they did, that I want to learn about what life was like for other people! And of course, the ghost stories are fun :P

On the tour, we learned about life in the tenements and how uncomfortable and dangerous life was for the extremely poor. We, of course, also learned about how common and easy it was for women to be accused of witchcraft and the consequences for those who were. It definitely reminds me how happy I am to be a woman in the 21st century!

We also got to see the vaults that were built underneath the city! They were originally built as workshops and cellars for goods, but they were built out of limestone, so water and sewage seeped in and spoiled the goods. So after all of the shop keepers moved out, criminals, orphans, and homeless people moved in and lived in the complete darkness. Eventually, the vaults were cleared out and sealed shut. It wasn't until 100 years had passed that they were found again, in the 1970s!!

Following our tour, we got dinner in a restaurant on the Royal Mile and then took the bus back to the AirBnB. We are having an early night since our train for London leaves at 6:55AM tomorrow!

Day Eight- Edinburgh Castle and Arthur's Seat

Today was another fun and busy day as we explored Edinburgh! We started bright and early and headed out to the bus stop to get into town so we could hop on the hop on/hop off bus! We stayed on the bus for a full lap so we could hear about Edinburgh's history and see all of the best sights of the city! 

IMG_0593.JPG
IMG_0597.JPG
IMG_0518.JPG

We decided to hop off in the middle of town so we could grab some quick brunch and then we walked up to the Edinburgh Castle. The castle housed the oldest building in Edinburgh AND the Scottish Crown Jewels! It also had wonderful views of the city! 

IMG_0602.JPG
CEA0CFB1-B72F-4A23-8C27-5C4205BA77D7.JPG
IMG_0536.JPG
IMG_0544.JPG

After seeing the different buildings and sights of the castle, we hopped back on the bus and drove over to Arthur's Seat. Arthur's Seat is the highest peak of several large hills that overlook Edinburgh. It is actually an ancient volcano! 

We walked up the path to the top of the hill next to it and I stopped there because I it was steep and I am really afraid of heights! However, I was quite proud of how high I did make it and I did get to see some great views of the city! Alexander then went to the top on his own and apparently the views are amazing!  

 

IMG_0558.JPG
IMG_0561.JPG
IMG_0555.JPG
IMG_0553.JPG

After coming down the Arthur's Seat, we walked down what is called the Royal Mile. It is just the name given to the main streets that make up Old Town. It has the oldest buildings, a bunch of tourist shops, and A LOT of people. Today was especially busy because the Edinburgh International Festival is going on. Because of the festival, there were street performers- artists, comedians, musicians- everywhere which were cool to experience! 

Late in the afternoon, we took the bus back to our Air BNB and then walked to a close pub for dinner. When we got home, we had some tea and biscuits for dessert and are now about to go to bed! 

We look forward to seeing more of Edinburgh tomorrow!