I arrived in Edinburgh on a very cold day of October, at the same time with Storm Ophelia. It was 6:30 in the morning, my phone just died, I had no idea how to get to my hotel and no coffee shops or bistros opened. I was walking around the coach station for half an hour than up and down on Princes Street, dreaming of a warm place and a hot cup of coffee in my hands, with no idea of where I was or where I was going. Even if I was wearing a windproof coat, Ophelia`s arms were holding me in a tight embrace, making my body shiver.
Was nearly 9:00 o'clock when from Princes Street I turned left on Lothian Road and while looking around for a place where I could grab a coffee and something to eat I noticed the Red Squirrel. And no, I`m not talking about the Eurasian red squirrel, the arboreal herbivorous rodent but the chic, modern bistro pub. I entered the pub when the smell of fresh coffee reached my nostrils and the smell of bacon made my tummy rumble.
I was told that they are not opened yet but I`m more than welcome to take a seat and they`ll soon take my order. I set myself in a corner and when one of the waiters came to take my order I asked him if he has a charger that I can use as my phone just died. The next minute he returns with my English Breakfast, a cup of coffee, a glass of Orange juice and the charger. He tells me that I can use the charger and I`m welcomed to stay until my phone is fully charged and that the Orange juice it`s on the house as I looked like i need it. I put my phone to charge and start gobbling the food trying for the first time the famous Haggis.
What is Haggis? Haggis is a traditional Scottish dish that has as ingredients: sheep's heart, liver and lungs, and onion, oatmeal, suet, spices. All these encased in a sheep`s stomach. Sometimes there`s also beef thrown into the mix. Now, I know for some of you it might not sound very appealing but trust me. If you ever come to Scotland you should definitely give it a try.
Taste wise it would be described as "a crumbly sausage, with a coarse oaty texture and a warming peppery flavor". To me, the taste was very similar to the Romanian sausage called Cartabos, made with pig`s heart, liver and lungs but we replace the oatmeal with rice, encased in the pig`s small intestine. As I said it wouldn`t be everybody's cup of tea but definitely works for me. Enough about food, lets get back to our story.
With the phone charged and my tummy full i get ready to leave when i realize my GPS doesn`t work. I go to the bar and ask the guy there if he knows how I could get to my hotel. He Google`s the hotel and draws a map for me on a tissue. I thank them for their kindness and hospitality and leave the Red Squirrel behind.
I followed the Map i had on my tissue and everything was fine until somehow I ended up at the Common Wealth War Graves instead of Gorgie Road. After walking for nearly 2 hours as i don`t like to use public transport, unless it`s a long distance or i have no other option, i decided to take a brake and sat on a bench. I must`ve looked quite distressed as a Police Officer approached me to ask me if I`m ok. I told him what happened and he offered to help me. He walked with me all the way to Gorgie Road and showed me how to get to my hotel. I finally arrived at the hotel at nearly 4 o'clock in the afternoon, had a shower and fell asleep. I woke up the following day at 8 in the morning.
DAY 2 :
After a good night sleep and an OK breakfast provided by the hotel ( toast, cereals with cold milk and coffee ) I decided to explore Edinburgh with a first stop at Edinburgh Castle. While I was enjoying the views over Edinburgh from the Castle`s terrace, someone popped in for a short visit.
A crow landed on the wall next
to me, watching me with inquisitive eyes. I moved closer thinking it`s going to fly away but the crow didn`t move. I just founded odd that the crow was showing no fear of me. In Celtic Mythology the Crow was sacred for the Celts. It represents the Goddess Morrigan and it`s the messanger between the world of the dead and the world of the living. For me it was a sign from the Universe that I`m in the right place and the Goddess is welcoming Home my Spirit.
As it was nearly 1 pm, I said I`ll watch the One o`clock Salute cannon. In 1861, a business man called John Hewitt brought this idea from Paris, of firing the gun at 1 o`clock. Ships in the Firth of Forth once set their maritime clocks by the One o’Clock Gun. The people start gathering, there were some officials present but didn` t recognized anyone. Everyone was getting ready, I was getting my camera ready,with my heart pounding hoping I won`t miss the moment. As I wasn`t expecting such a loud BOOOMMMM and I was concentrating more on taking photos, the moment they fired the Gun because of the shock, I hit myself in the head with the camera. Funny enough I was still alright to take an Ok photo.
Was actually quite funny as everyone around was asking me if I was alright when I couldn`t stop laughing of my silliness.
As the crowds dispersed I took my camera bag and continued my journey through the castle. From the whole experience were a few things that really got my attention:
The Great Hall - Was build in 1511, just before the death of King James IV and it was the meeting point for the Scottish Parliament and for holding state ceremonies. The Hall has a tall dark wood beams ceiling with stunning woodwork covering the walls. The Hall also has an impressive display of weaponry . If you`re lucky you might also see Mary Queen of Scots welcoming the tourists within the Hall.
The National War Museum of Scotland - Here you`ll have the opportunity to explore over 400 years of conflict through art work, stories and military objects.
If you are a big fan Outlander you should definitely take a look at the Highland Soldier Gallery. In this Gallery you`ll find objects that will tell you the story of the dramatic change from Highland rebel to military example through paintings, Highland uniforms, bagpipe music and more.
The Vault - The crew of a French privateer was brought to the castle in April 1757, and many other captured Frenchmen (mainly sailors) followed, so that by the end of the war there were over 500 incarcerated in prisons beneath the Great Hall. More prisoners of several nationalities, including men from Holland, Germany, Spain, Italy, America and of course France were brought here during the American War of Independence and the wars with Napoleonic France.
They say that one of the most Haunted places in Bonnie Scotland is Edinburgh Castle. That explains why while passing through one of the cells in the Vault suddenly the temperature dropped and a cold shiver went down my spine. I tried to ignore it but something was telling me it`s not right when all of a sudden i start feeling the presence of a man but I was alone in the cell. Someone was watching me, which made me feel very uncomfortable. I start hyperventilating and ran outside.
After walking around the castle for a few hours and taking hundreds of photos it was time for a very late lunch and a short stop at Deacon`s House Cafe.
Deacon`s House Cafe is situated just on Lawnmarket, 2 minutes walk from Edinburgh Castle. Their Menu includes the mouth watering Home Made and freshly baked Scones, their tasty bagel with smoked Salmon which i ordered for myself along with the soup of the day, which at the moment I can`t remember what it was. As a big fan of good quality herbal tea I can tell you that their hand filled tea bags with loose leaf tea it`s a winner, no matter the type of tea you want to order.
To find out more about the rest of my first visit in Edinburgh, Scotland please keep an eye on my page for future updates. I tried my best to fit everything here but unfortunately couldn`t make it happen. Love and Light to everyone that took their time to read my blog and to the ones that visited my website just out of pure curiosity.....