My new favorite city in the whole world.
I boarded the sleeper train to Edinburgh at a little before midnight. Each car of the train has its own attendant, and mine was a super nice gentleman with a gorgeous Scottish accent. I think a Scottish accent is my favorite when it comes to men. (For women, it’s Welsh.)
I loved the sleeper train; I’d love to do it again. The motion of the rails was so relaxing. At about 6:30am, my attendant “knocked me up” and brought me breakfast – porridge with honey. Here’s a tip I have for traveling in the U.K.: carry little packets of salt in your pockets. I don’t know why, but no one pre-salts the food. French fries are unsalted, porridge is unsalted….I learned this pretty quickly, as they don’t include salt packets in Takeway orders, either.
At 7am when they kicked me off the train, the city was pretty much devoid of tourists. It was all mine. I left my bags at my hotel, and went immediately to the Royal Mile. None of the shops were open yet, and I just walked down it, looking in all the windows. I just felt so happy here, like I’d found a place where I really belonged.
If I ever come to the UK again, I’m bypassing London, and flying directly into Edinburgh. Edinburgh was another of my Five Best Experiences.
There were several old churchyards, and of course I wandered through them.
I visited the Elephant House, where JK Rowling wrote much of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
It is justly named the elephant house. There are elephants everywhere inside. Big ones, medium sized ones, and a display case of little ones…and a signed first edition of Rowling’s first book. Plus, a personal thank-you note from her to the cafe.
I visited St. Giles Cathedral, which I liked so much more than Westminster Abbey.
Here, the stained glass was gorgeous and within reach.
It was just much warmer, and more welcoming. But still awe-inspiring.
The St. Giles churchyard was where Rowling used to wander for inspiration. Many of her characters’ names are taken directly from the gravestones. Including Tom Riddle’s.
One of the most haunted places in the world is here, at the Mackenzie mausoleum, home to a violent poltergeist.
All was peaceful when I was there.
Loved the grave art.
The architecture in Edinburgh is so spiky and beautiful. I found myself just repeating “I love it here” over and over inside my head as I walked around.
There are famous dogs,
and pigs I’ve never heard of.
And everywhere, cunning little “closes” or alleys. I took an interactive tour of The Real Mary King’s Close, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Incredibly informative about Edinburgh’s early days.
The other really amazing thing was Holyrood Palace. Besides being still a lived-in palace by the British monarchy, it was Mary Queen of Scot’s palace. I saw the place where her jealous husband and his friends dragged her male secretary out of her breakfasting room and stabbed him 50+ times in front of her. History gets real when you’re actually standing in it!
Let us talk of graves, of worms, and ephitaphs. Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth. Let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings. How some have been deposed, some slain in war, some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed. Some poisoned by their wives, some sleeping killed, all murdered.
Richard II, Shakespeare