Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Today's soundtrack:
"Supervillan Music" by Chilly Gonzales

The other Saturday, Miguel and I woke up at 6am to catch the early bus down to Edinburgh. The weather was lovely, the city was stunning, and I was sick. Ridiculously sick. I'll spare you the details, but suffice it to say that early mornings + windy bus trips + porridge = roughly a litre and a half. Once we arrived in Edinburgh and I found a toothbrush, things started to look up. Also, I was now looking up rather than the ground between my knees as I sat curled over in embarrassment.

First stop was Princes Street and the Sir Walter Scott Monument. Started in 1832, immediately after his death, and finished in 1840, the monument is impressively Neo-Gothic. It revels in all 61 meters of it's Neo-Gothic design.

We then wandered over to the National Gallery where I spotted some sphinxes. Why travel all the way to sunny Egypt when you can get all the ambiance in Edinburgh?

There's also no need to visit Madrid as every Spaniard is currently walking the Royal Mile.

Miguel, having been to Edinburgh before, planned our route. I asked him why Edinburgh is one of his favourite cities. Apparently, it all comes down to a good park in the middle of the city and a castle on a hill. I suspect Lord of the Rings plays a role as well, as it's all rather epic.

From Princes Street, there's a fantastic view of the Castle.

After Princes Street we walked through the Princes Street Garden, past St. Cuthbert's and it's fantastic graveyard...

... and then onto the incredible cast-iron Ross Fountain.

Crossing over the North Bridge, after a quick visit to David Hume's understated grave, we walked up and down the Royal Mile, dodging tourists and Fringe performers. We spotted John Knox's house (Miguel is rightly concerned)

as well as Moubray House (on the right) where the Act of Union was signed in 1707..

.. and the Mercat Cross where Bonnie Prince Charlie was proclaimed King in 1745..

.. which is right beside the impressive St. Giles Cathedral. The tower is from the 15th century.

In the afternoon, the rain started (predictably) and I was still recovering from the morning's bus ride, so we slowly made our way back to the bus station, stopping to watch the Fringe Festival street performers. On our way, we passed by a bagpiper we'd seen walking up the Royal Mile early that day.

Downtown Edinburgh is filthy with bagpipers this time of year, performing various medleys of Scottish and American folk songs. This fellow, however, was incredible. There was no pandering to tourists and he was clearly one the better pipers I've ever heard. If you're heading to Edinburgh, look for the goat-footed piper of the Royal Mile.


  1. Interesting.. Search on Google for Goat-Footed Piper brings up the Wikipedia entry on the Greek God "Pan".

    Could the Edwardian be softening up towards the pipes?

  2. @ eolan

    No... but I won't object to outside and at a distance from me and my ears.