Commentary and pictures from our trip to the UK.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Edinburgh Castle

Today we started touring Scotland in earnest. Edinburgh’s downtown is dominated by Edinburgh Castle. The castle sits above everything else on a strategically important hill of rock. It’s also the home to the throne of Scotland, but since the merging of the royals of Scotland and England, it’s mostly been a military fort.

Edinburgh Castle is not what I expected for a castle. It is basically a fort with palaces and other important buildings set inside the walls. Nevertheless, it is a place filled with the history of political intrigue, violent clan disputes, and aspirations of empire. More than one person has lost their head there for running afoul of someone for something.

We toured the castle taking in the views from inside and over the walls. Looking outward, you have the best views of Edinburgh there are to be had. Looking inward, you get to see a side of Scotland that you have to physically experience.

We saw a fantastic historic interpreter playing the part of Lord Crichton. He relayed the often bloody and always tumultuous history of Scotland in the 1400s. Shireen and I enjoyed the history, and the kids got a kick out of seeing a man dressed in period clothes.

It’s been said that the only thing the Scots do better than fight each other is fight outsiders. The Scot’s war memorial is inside the castle, and it is a truly moving tribute to Scots that fought and died in WWI and WWII. Inside the memorial, there are books divided by service branch that record the names of those who have fallen. I tried to explain to Jonathan the link between Clan Campbell and the Highland Regiment, but he didn’t seem to quite get it. It hit home with me when I saw Campbell after Campbell listed in the book of the dead.

We toured the other exhibits at the castle and headed back down into the city. As it was by now lunchtime, we sought a place to feed the kids. We landed in a restaurant in an old church called Frankensteins. It features, among other Frankenstein elements, a running movie loop of the original Frankenstein movie. When the monster is born in the movie,
A robotic monster is borne from machinery suspended overhead in the eating areas. It was a hit with the kids, and the food was not overpriced either.

We left the restaurant, and headed across the street the National Museum of Scotland. We’ve learned that, at best, we can get an hour from the kids in a museum, and this was no different than any other museum. We learned all about the history of Scotland through pre-human times up to the beginning of Roman influence. Then the kids melted down.

All in all, it was a great day.

You can see pictures from our day here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this thing on?

2:43 PM


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