After our castle themed adventures in Stirling, we made our way to Edinburgh for - you guessed it - another bloody castle! But to our (pleasant) surprise there was so much more to see and do in Scotland's most happening city.
As well as spending a day touring the grounds of Edinburgh Castle, we decided to cram as much adventure as we could into the final city we'd visit before we collected our campervan and made our way through England for 2 weeks. So with that in mind, we booked ourselves in for a pub crawl. I'd love to tell you all about the pub crawl but I'd just be making things up from about 10pm onwards as it all got a little hazy. Here's what I know, the pub crawl was comprised of about 90% Aussies. That made it all the more enjoyable as we all took advantage of Scotland's ridiculously cheap alcohol prices.
GARY RANT ALERT: One thing I've really noticed on this trip is just how much the Nanny Staters back home have taxed the life out of anything that they deem to be unacceptable - namely alcohol and tobacco. Alcohol in Europe is cheaper, more widely available and (in most countries) can be consumed on the streets. And the "alcohol fuelled violence" as a result of this? None that I have seen in two months of going out almost every night. I'm starting to suspect that Australia doesn't have an "alcohol fuelled" violence problem. Instead we appear to have a "violent douchebags who don't get punished for being violent douchebags" fuelled violence problem. But apparently it's much easier to blame a product and tax it, than it is to ask someone to be held accountable for their actions.
But I digress…
After suffering a mild post pub crawl hangover, we decided to fix it with a tried and true Scottish remedy - deep fried haggis, a deep fried mars bar and (for me) a Scottish Whisky tasting tour. It worked a charm. The only downside? The whisky tour brought out my inner pompous**** and made Jess start looking for cheap flights home.
In addition to the pub crawl, we decided to do walking tour of city in the sober light of day to hear a few more stories from Edinburgh's colourful history. I'll share two with you - one to make you vomit and another to warm the cockles of your heart.
First let's start with the gross one. On Edinburgh's prettiest street, known as the Royal Mile, you'll find a pretty love heart mosaic on the pavement right out the front of the St Giles High Kirk (that's Scottish for "massive church"). It's known as the Heart of Midlothian and it's the filthiest spot in all of Edinburgh, possibly all of Scotland. Any Scot walking past the heart takes a moment to spit on it. Why? Well, it used to be the site of a prison. Prisoners would often spit on the site upon their release as a polite way of saying "get stuffed" to the prison. In modern times, football fans have taken it upon themselves to spit on the heart for two reasons. If you're a Hearts of Midlothian fan, you spit on it to wish your team good luck (didn't do them much good this year as they were relegated to the second division). And if you follow Hibernian, the arch enemy of Hearts, you spit on the heart because you hate them (didn't help Hibs either as they were relegated along with their arch rivals). So if you see the heart make sure you step around it and not directly into the spit remains of thousands of Scots. Oh, and it goes without saying, the heart is one spot where the 5 second rule definitely does NOT apply.
Okay enough of the yuck stuff. Here's one to make you go "awwww". Our tour guide took us to a statue of a little black dog known as "Greyfriars Bobby". Bobby the dog belonged to a night watchmen named John Gray. When John Gray died and was buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard, Bobby went and sat by his grave….for 14 years! Right up until his death, Bobby stood guard at his old master's grave, loyal until the very end. And you thought your dog was awesome because he doesn't poop on the carpet anymore!
Next stop: who knows!!! We have a campervan and we're not afraid to use it. Bring on England!