One great thing about having visitors is the chance to check important Edinburgh visitor destinations off the list. Robin's brother and his friend are up from London this weekend so we spent yesterday exploring the Royal Mile, enjoying a yummy champagne lunch, and venturing up to Edinburgh's gem, the Castle.
We jumped on the 3pm tour but our guide was pretty flat, so we ditched her at St. Margaret's Chapel. Funny story: before leaving for Scotland, my parents played me the home videos from our UK trip in 1994, which included a day at Edinburgh Castle. My dad filmed our guide telling a story about how thrifty (stingy?) Scots fire cannons at 1 pm instead of 12 noon, as to save 11 shots. The guide yesterday told us the SAME EXACT STORY. 15 years hasn't changed much here at the Castle.
The reddish building with grid windows is Edinburgh College of Art! I recognized it first because of the yellowy green tree, which sits in the middle of campus. Notice the canon facing in that direction. If ECA existed 500 years ago, the kings would have easily attacked and destroyed the studios! Ah!!
After seeing the outside grounds, we went in this long hallway that led to the Crown Jewels. The crown, scepter, ruby ring, and so on, were thought missing for some 111 years, only to be found at the bottom of a chest, exactly where the last king had left them (duh). There were beautiful portraits on the walls the gradually turned into 3-D fake people. Kinda weird, Disney-esque, but all interesting and good fun. And the jewels were quite beautiful, as you can imagine (no photos were allowed).
Castles are kind of exhausting. After the tour, we walked down to the University area known as Cowgate, and settled happily into a cafe called Under The Stairs, drinking tea and coffee and unwinding. From there, our walk home included an amazing sunset.
We spent a nice evening home at the flat, eating bread and figs and prosciutto and manchego cheese purchased from the Cheesemonger on Victoria Street. We watched Antichrist, the newest film from Danish director Lars Von Trier (Breaking the Waves, Dancer in the Dark) which was... wow. Provocative and profound and often hard to watch, though with absolutely stunning cinematography throughout.
We went to bed full and happy. Sigh ... another wonderful day in Edinburgh.