Saturday, March 19, 2011

Edinburgh, Scotland–January 2008

Our third city on our United Kingdom tour was Edinburgh, Scotland. I am sure many of your are not surprised that our first stop was The Elephant House (aka the Birthplace of Harry Potter). This where J.K. Rowling sat and wrote Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone with her daughter in a buggy. It was fun to enjoy a nice hot meal here before continuing on our day.


Many of our adventures in Edinburgh were right off the Royal Mile. We ventured into almost every museum, coffee shop, fudge shop and bar. The World’s End, pictured below being one of our favorites, and Deacon Brodie’s Tavern. The first floor is a tavern, while the top floor is a restaurant. This tavern is the former home of Deacon William Brodie, the man who inspired Robert Louis Stevenson' Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Interestingly enough, Stevenson’s father owned furniture made by his son’s inspiration, Deacon William Brodie.

Deacon William Brodie was a Scottish cabinet-maker, deacon of his trades guild and Edinburgh city councilor who also maintained a secret night life. By day, Brodie was a respectable business man and by night a burglar who enjoyed gambling and partying.

As a cabinet-maker, part of his job during the day was to install and repair locks. At night, he would use wax copies of the keys to the locks he installed during the day and rob many of the richest members of Edinburgh society. The money he gained from his night job was used to fund his second life which included gambling, two mistresses and 5 children. After almost 20 successful years of crime he hired three accomplices. During a raid, one of his accomplices was captured and ratted out Brodie. Insult to injury, Brodie was hanged at the Tolbooth using a gallows Brodie designed and helped fund.


After you fill up on lunch, I would definitely recommend spending the better part of the day at the Edinburgh Castle. There is so much to see! I would say this was my second favorite castle behind the Windsor Castle.


One day, we decided to take a bus trip outside the city up to Loch Ness. Our first stop at some tourist trap that provided this classic picture of me and a Highland Cow. At least the scenery was beautiful!


The highlight of the bus tour was the Urquhart Castle on the edge of Loch Ness. This castle holds a special place in my heart. The castle was destroyed in the 17th century by Williamite troops holding the castle against the Jacobite forces. The Jacobite Rebellions were a series of uprisings attempting to restore the Stuart kings to the throne and are coincidently my descendants!!


And a great place to take a lot of pictures!!!


At the Urquhart Castle we also boarded a boat (appropriately named “Jacobite”) to ride across Loch Ness.


No monsters here! Only two cold college kids!!


I hope you enjoyed my brief overview of our time in Edinburgh. Stop back tomorrow evening for our final stop in the United Kingdom, Bath.