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Day 11: Welcome to All Things Scottish...

Edinburgh

Edinburgh was quite spectacular, and we were given a tour by a bearded Scotsman with an accent so thick you could cut it with a knife.  He was quite a character!   Flirted a lot with the women on the trip, although I don't think any of them found out what he wears under his kilt.  He pointed out some of the details of the traditional Scottish costume, including the knife worn in one of the socks and the purpose of  the small bag that is carried around the waist.

He first gave us a tour around Edinburgh, where he explained the history behind the city and told some anecdotes about the town.  One of the more interesting ones was about Greyfriar Bobby, the name of a small scottish terrier that stayed by his masters grave when he died in 1858, until the dog itself died in 1872, some 14 years later.   There is actually a statue of the dog in the town outside of a pub with the same name.

Another story he told was about Deacon Brodies Tavern.  Deacon Brodie was a man who was famous for putting up a respectable front during much of the time, but became a gambling, womanizing wild man in the evenings.  He was apparently the inspiration for the story of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", written by Robert Lewis Stevenson (another Scott..)

A few other anecdotes:

bulletThe British slang term for "Bathroom" is "Loo".  This apparently derives from the French phraze "Gardez-Loo", which is what women in Edinburgh (and many other cities in Great Britain) yelled out the window as they threw out their bathwater!
bulletThe term "scot-free" derives from Scottish Law.  To get off "Scott's Law Free" was a sort of loophole that allowed a person to be let off certain charges (I didn't write it down, but I'll find it somewhere) without a scratch.
bulletEdinburgh Castle was built on the eroded remains of an old volcano: only the core rock now remains after millions of years of erosion.  The last ice age carved out a "crag and tail" a roughly teardrop-shaped formation with the "crag" at the larger end (where the Castle is located) and the "tail" of rock behind it.   The "tail" is used a road leading up to the castle called the "Royal Mile".

We just missed being able to see the Scottish Military Tattoo (shown above) performed in front of Edinburgh Castle. It's apparently quite a show, with bagpipes and marching and music. Bummer!

Evening Wanderings

That evening I went wandering in Edinburgh with another member of the tour (he was there with his mom).  We wandered around the local pubs a bit and stopped for a drink at one.  The nightlife was pretty slow, actually: probably because it was a weekday.

The view of the city was spectacular, however.  The castle is left lit up all night, and it dominates the skyline in Edinburgh.  I was unfortunately paying more attention to the castle than to my surroundings: there were a couple of girls around who might have shared a cab with us when we returned to the hotel.  Ooops!

 

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1995-2002 William Geoffrey Shotts. Last update: Tuesday, March 09, 2004