I can’t believe it’s only our second day in the beautiful city of Edinburgh. We packed so much into only one day!
This morning, my jet lagged self rolled out of bed at 7:30 (which is 2:30 AM EST), very tired, but very excited to start our day.
We met our tour guide for the rest of our Edinburgh experience, Andrea, and were on our way to explore. Andrea was amazing and full of stories and love for this old and story filled city.
Our tour started with a walk down and up the royal mile, which ended with the main event, Edinburgh Castle!
We finally experienced the rain that Scotland is famous for. We bundled up in our rain coats and followed Andrea through the city. We learned about the buildings and history, but the best part of the tour were her stories.
We heard many different stories about the plague, punishment, and most importantly, the death (or the almost death).
My favorite story she told was about a woman named Maggie Dickinson who was later called, “Half Hangit Maggie.”
Maggie was a woman who got pregnant out of wedlock in the early 1800s. She was so afraid of people finding out, that she hid her pregnancy. She tightened her corset so tight that her stomach would look flat. This caused her to have a still born baby. When she tried to dispose of the child, people saw her with the dead baby and thought she had killed the child. They sentenced her to death by hanging.
Once she was hanged, she was sent to be buried. Luckily for her, the man transporting her stopped at a pub for a few drinks and she woke up! They didn’t realize that she was unconscious, not dead.
Since her death certificate was already signed and she was officially dead, she legally could not be hanged again. She was given the name “Half Hangit Maggie,” because she was hanged, but also lived to tell the tale. She now has a pub named after her feet away from the place she was once hanged.
The Royal Mile is completely uphill as well as the first part of the castle itself. It was designed to fend off attackers. Once at the top part of the Castle, you can look back and see the whole of Edinburgh. The view is magnificent.
The architecture of Edinburgh Castle is as beautiful as the view and what they house is even better. The Crown Jewels are housed inside the castle and they are spectacular to say the least. Unfortunately we couldn’t take pictures, but they would be very hard to forget. We also got to see some history of royal family of Scotland which was very cool.
After going on our tour, we were allowed to wander around the city. Which for our group it meant: Harry Potter extravaganza!
Earlier that day we got to visit a cemetery where JK Rowling got some of her inspiration for not only characters, but the actual cemetery that Harry’s parents are buried in the books. We saw graves of names such as McGonagall and Moody. There was also a beautiful high school right next to the cemetery that could have been an inspiration for Hogwarts. It even has the four school houses.
But what was really great in the cemetery, was that there was a grave for a man named Thomas Riddle. For you non- Harry Potter fans out there, Tom Riddle was the real name of Lord Voldemort.
We then traveled to a coffee shop called “Elephant House,” which is known as the Birth Place of Harry Potter. This is because JK Rowling spent a lot of time there writing the first book of the series.
One thing the shop is most famous for is the writing in their bathrooms. People will go into the bathroom to write notes to JK Rowling in hopes that she might see it. Some write quotes, others thank yous, but the whole bathroom is converted top to bottom in honor of the Harry Potter series.
It was a nerdsplosion of quotes, thoughts, and just overall love. It was just a simple thing in a bathroom, but it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. Seeing that much love for a book series, warms my heart.
This street is filled with many quirky, specialty shops. There was a Harry Potter and nerd novelty item shop, some clothing and jewelry stores, a tea pot shop, a joke store, and a small bakery with the best macaroons we had ever tasted. It was a great street to just walk around and enjoy the atmosphere. It was a great place to end our day.
Some other pictures from our day: