Monday, March 13, 2017

UK - Edinburgh

Three summers ago, Chris and I went on a trip to Scotland. We'd been wanting to this for a long time, and finally it happened.

We stayed in Edinburgh (at the Grosvenor Hilton) and the first day we discovered the town. As you probably know, Edinburgh is a medieval town and has two parts, the old town and the new town. The old town is the part with the steep street and the castle on the rock, while the 'new' town was built in the 18th century and is mainly classic in design. Our hotel was situated in the new part of town.

In this picture, you can see the mighty Edinburgh Castle high up on its volcanic rock. In the Middle Ages, this must have been a fortress nobody could conquer. Around the castle was Nor Loch (the north lake), which was the open sewer of the town. You know, in these old days, the inhabitants threw their 'wee-wee's' and 'jobbies' (don't the Scots have nice words for excrements?) out of the window at set times (7am and 9 pm). When it rained, these excrements were carried along the winding streets down to the loch. This is why Edinburgh was nicknamed Old Reeky in those times...

And Nor Loch did not only contain excrements. When the lake was drained in the 18th century, when construction of the newer part of town began, they found at least 600 skeletons, mainly of women who were supposed to be witches.

Here is a picture of the newer part of town. See the difference? This is Georgian style, and the house you see can be visited. It once belonged to the Marques of Bute.

As we were staying long enough in Edingburgh, we had the time to do some excursions. We made some day trips to the middle of Scotland and also one to the Highlands. It was very tiring, but oh so worth it! We attended Highland Games (fun!) and tasted some whisky. I finally got to taste the Laphroaig which DCI Banks always drinks in the books of Peter Robinson. A rather smoky taste, but not bad. My sister probably wouldn't like it, though. And I always drink my whisky straight, not on the rocks.

Here's a pic of the Highland Games. We saw them in Luss (near Loch Lomond). It was nice to see all the different disciplines of pole throwing, dancing, pipers, etc.

The drive to the Highlands was wonderful. We came through the most beautiful scenery you can imagine. Especially Glencoe has its charm. Has anyone seen Monarch of the Glen? We passed the house where the series was filmed, too.

And of course a visit to Loch Ness could not be missed. We did not meet Nessie, but I suppose that was because the place was too crowded. I imagine, if we could be there on our own, we might catch a glimpse of the monster...

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