Europe Trip Day 3 @ 25-9

25-09 Sun

Woke up early, but only realised that breakfast was served a little late on Sundays. So we waited in the dining room of the rest house, admiring the fireplace, the ornaments, and everything "English" in the house. The lady of the house briefly chatted with us while she set the table.

After a hearty breakfast, we walked up to the main street and took a bus to Princes Street. The morning weather was colder that day, I had to wear gloves and a hat to keep warm. The breeze was chilling to the skin. Our first stop was the Scot Monument. We took some nice photos of the Princes Garden where the monument was, with the Royal Mile as the backdrop. The Scot Monument is a big landmark in Edinburgh, it can be seen from almost anywhere in the city as it is quite tall and prominent with its unique architecture. Visitors are allowed to go up the monument, unfortunately we were too early for the opening hours. I guess it would be a breathtaking view up there, with the whole Edinburgh city under your feet, as far as your eyes can see.

From there, we took a different route to the Royal Mile. Stopping to take photo of the bright red
double decker bus - the City Sightseeing Tour Bus. These buses are common here, where they are quite popular with tourists wishing to take a more relax way of seeing the city.

Our second stop was the Mary King's Close. This is a very interesting attraction. We were guided to the underground city of the past, which sits directly below the Royal Mile road, beneath the City Chambers building. The present city was built on top of the old buildings. We got to see for ourselves how the houses of the old days were, the narrow closes (alleys), and how the life of the poor and rich lived. Photos weren't allowed in there, so we took photos of the town building model, which showed how the structure of the underground and on the ground city are like. It was stuffy and smelled underground, but it was an eye opener experience for me.

There's this tradition that was told by the guide...In the olden days where there were no toilets, the waste were often kept in a bucket in a corner of the house. When it was full, the people will just shout "Gardyloo!!!" and threw the waste out of the window. Yup, just like that. Gardyloo was a warning to the people on the streets to watch out for these foul waste over their heads. These waste would often flow down the streets, and seeped into the ground floor houses. Therefore, the streets were fouled smell, and the ground floor were always occupied by poor people, as they couldn't afford higher level buildings.

Next stop on our list was the Tron Kirk. This is another unique building at the corner of the street. The stained glass panels in the building were magnificent. And we could see the foundation of the building inside the building. Inside were mainly exhibitions on the building history, the histories and ghost stories of Edinburgh, and gifts corner. And here we found out about the faithful dog, Greyfriar's Bobby. This is the story of a dog who visited its owner's grave everyday since the owner death until its own death. The town people were touched, and so they build a statue of the dog in a street corner.
So our next stop was to search for the statue. With some directions from the guy at Tron Kirk, we managed to find the statue. Took a few shots of the cute statue and then we headed for the Museum of Scotland, which were just opposite the road.

The Museum of Scotland is actually side by side the Royal Museum. So we spent quite a long time there, looking at artefacts and history of Scotland. There was this group of narrators wearing the Highlanders attire, and they were acting out some battle scenes. I took the chance to pose with them after the show session ended. It was a tiring tour for me in the museums, and my tooth was giving me endless pain throughout the visit. It was most torturing for me, and perhaps the most irrritating part of the trip for Nix, hearing me grumbling throughout the day :P

After the museum visit, we managed to catch a street performer spitting fire somewhere along Royal Mile. It was an amusing act. We wanted to visit Museum of Childhood after that, but it was closed by 5pm. Most of the places were closed around that time too. Anyway, we had something lined up for the night. We had bought tickets for City of the Dead Tour at 8:30pm. So we took our time walking round the rest of the Royal Mile, found a place for dinner, and took a bus ride back to the rest house for a short rest before the tour starts.

After a good rest, we were eager to go to for the night tour. The tour had seemed eery and scary on the billboards, which were placed along the streets at Royal Mile. We were early, but the people started to pour in, and by the time the tour started, the group had swelled to almost 50 people. Great! I guess the more the merrier! Haha...

The guide in trench coat started off with stories of the old Edinburgh town, bringing us through the narrow closes, winding through the backlanes of the city, and headed to the graveyard! All of us were without any torchlights, only the guide had one. We stayed close to each other, and marched towards the graveyard in all darkness. I was taking all precautions not to slip or fall down, or even fall behind the group. It was surely a thrilling tour I would say. We had few stops along the way, and the guide would switch off his torchlight and started to tell ghost stories of the past. We even went into a mausoleum, which was a stone building, with four walls and only an entrance. Middle of his speech, a person dressed up as a ghost suddenly appeared at the entrance and gave some of us a big scare. Lucky for me, I was standing behind the group, so I was spared the sight of the scary "ghost". Anyway, the tour ended with no mishappenings, and all of us, I should say, were safe and sound. I couldn't dare to think how it would felt if the group was smaller in numbers.

After the thrilling adventure, we then had a quick bite at Burger's King and headed back for a good night's rest.

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