August 31- 6 Feet Under the Streets of Edinburgh

Aaaaand, we made it.  Jet lag= over.  Let the adventures begin!

Today was our first full day in Scotland that wasn't plagued by jet-lag and so we set out to see the city in all its glory.

We began by sleeping in, as we should, because we can.  Then after much debate (seriously, only in the Williams family does our discussion of what we can do in a day become a lengthy discussion) we decided that we would do a Hop-On-Hop-Off bus tour of Edinburgh city center.  This would be followed by a tour of Mary King's Close.

So off we went.  Beginning just down the street from our accommodations, we hopped on a double decker bus missing its top roof and set off to see the city.  We passed over Waverley station: the train station that is where the North Loch used to be way back in the day, many houses that used to be home to many famous people (I don't remember any of their names), private gardens, beautiful architecture and the Royal Mile.  After going around the route once we stopped at Waverly station which was located right near a spire that was the tallest monument erected to any author and was in honour of Sir Walter Scott.  This particular monument has been the center of my attention since I have arrived in Edinburgh city center and have been itching to get a closer look.  Architecturally beautiful, tall, made of dark material and ornamented with various creatures from Sir Scott's books, it draws attention from anyone and everyone within miles around.

Obviously I climbed it... from the inside.  278 stairs of pure hell.  The stairs were all in spiral staircase so there is a challenge in itself.  I felt like I was in a blender.  Better yet, the stairs only got narrower as you climbed, beginning about 3 foot wide and then narrowing to be the distance apart that my shoulders were.  So as you can imagine, this made it difficult to pass people and you only pass those that are going in the opposite direction.

After hugging the walls, my brother, dad and I finally made it to the top where we enjoyed a stunning view of the city where were could see the inlet and castle and lucky for us, we had a beautiful day without rain.  Brandon and I captured some very flattering "selfies" from various levels and then eventually made our way down to where mom waited patiently (being scared of heights, this did not really appeal to her).

We then hopped back on the bus and went to one of the other locations we had passed earlier on the bus which was called the Grass Market.  The market had various street shops selling food products and numerous bars, of course.  One of the local pubs was the White Hart Inn which is the oldest pub in Edinburgh.  So it would only make sense that a location like this would sell haggis.

If you remember before I left, the one thing I said over and over was that I WOULD NOT EAT HAGGIS.  I would be a vegetarian before I had haggis.  Well, I didn't make it very far into my trip before I was coerced to try it.  And let me tell you, it wasn't purge-worthy but I will not be eating it again.  I had enough to try it and realized that yes, haggis does in fact have the texture of sheep stomach and other miscellaneous items and yes, sheep stomach was all I could think about while eating it.

After having my interesting meal, it was back on the bus and to Mary King Close which is a location right off the Royal Mile.  Mary King's Close is named after Mary King and is 6 feet (actually more) under the streets of Edinburgh.  The story starts way back in the day, and I am talking 1550-1650's, when Edinburgh streets were lower than they are now.  They had basements and buildings up to 8 stories high.  The lower income people were lower in the buildings and high income people were higher.  As time passed, Edinburgh was more and more populated and this city center was prime real estate for larger buildings and eventually it was decided to knock all these buildings down.. However, they did not knock them down completely because Edinburgh was built on hillsides and to make it easier, they knocked down buildings anywhere between the basement or 2nd floor.  This allowed them to make the streets more level and allow for us to explore this underground piece of history.

Once returning to the light of day, we made our way back to the hotel, caught a cat nap and went for dinner...

Forgive me, I'm a very large glass of wine deep into this post and if you know me well enough to know what my alcohol tolerance is, then it will explain why I am rambling and probably making a fool of myself in this post.  But you get the gist.

After dinner, it was back to the comfort of our Aparthotel where I am currently accompanied by 3 sleepy family members and 2 large cameras while I type furiously on my computer.

Good night to you all, and fun fact to leave you with: I did not bring enough sweaters.  This is know already 2 days in.  So when you come visit, bring a suitcase of sweaters for you and I to share!

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