Edinburgh Truly Madly Deeply


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Citytravelreview Curso eG Travel Writing: Book Edinburgh September 2011

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dowload full book http www.lulu.com/product/ebook/edinburgh-truly-madly-deeply/17280853 step on the right side of life if you think scotland is all about wearing kilts and tartans and having a funny accent come to edinburgh and be enlightened with its deep history and lots of contrasts edinburgh has many places to see and lots of stories to tell not only will you discover main attractions like edinburgh`s castle or the national museum that captures the past you will also hear about the dark history of edinburgh and visit its cemetries with the creepy stories that are waiting to be told are you keen on food come to maggy dickson`s pub in edinburgh`s grassmarket one of the best places to try haggis it`s also a good place to hang around and get to know the scots folk you will learn scottish sayings discover the elephant house where j.k.rowling wrote pieces of the world famous harry potter and find out about various writers that came to be part of scotland`s history if you don`t want to miss the nature side of edinburgh come and climb arthur´s seat and find yourself looking down on the beautiful shape of the city while you´re in edinburgh you`ll always find something new our team has created a guide that leads you through edinburgh and offers stories nobody else ever experienced the way we did come and join us on our journey truly captivating madly behaving deeply loving din eidyn a symbol of scotland give it a hearty spit a spark of hope touch a philosopher skin to skin a place where scotland meets the world creating new stories 7 9 10 12 14 16 the spirit of scotland festival city info boxes more than words between the lines ready to start a night out in edinburgh what s cooking rock the kilt 20 23 24 28 32 40 42 46 sunny side up the sound of scott a dirty little story blows you away getting a real student experience at the university of edinburgh are you a witty jock do s and don ts a perfect weekend 50 52 53 54 56 58 60 62


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scotland s capital city has a very rich and colourful history this section looks at the important buildings the museums and some of the stories found at a first glance of edinburgh from a castle dating back to the 12th century a controversial parliament building and some pretty gruesome vaults under the cobbled surface of the city there is a lot to explore let the following articles take you through some of the best attractions that show you the true edinburgh


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din eidyn a symbol of scotland -vicky langley `so grounded bounded and founded that by force of man it can never be confounded from john taylor s travels around scotland 1618 today nearly 400 years on as you stand in the fortress looking out over the city it is easy to agree with the poet as you walk along the royal mile s cobbled streets the castle doesn t look so hard to invade it s not until you reach the inside of the castle and look down over the walls to the city below that you realise the lengths invaders would have to go to to storm the castle despite the treacherous rock face potential invaders were literally taking on a volcano many did attempt to seize the castle from the 13th century it was the target of many invasions and sieges starting in 1296 when king edward i of england invaded what followed was around 50 years of a tug of war with the castle between the scots and the english the relationship between the bordering countries has been a long and often bloody one however in 1566 mary queen of scots gave birth to her only child james he would go on to become king james vi of scotland and james i of england simultaneously a rare peaceful moment in the two countries historical relationship however it s not all bloodthirsty fighting in the castle s history making your way up to the upper ward you pass a canon that is still in use today if you happen to be walking within earshot of the castle around one o clock you may hear a single gun shot the now daily one o clock gun was first fired in 1861 originally as a time signal for sailors an older signal on calton hill was the time ball this was where a canon ball was hoisted up to the top of the nelson monument and released at one o clock however this came up against difficulties due to the atmospheric conditions if you hadn t noticed it s not quite a caribbean climate in edinburgh sailors couldn t always see the ball so needed a more aural aide this saw the introduction of the one o clock gun which takes place in unison with the time ball creating possibly the world s first audio visual show the gun was only ever fired once in an act of violence this was during the first world war when its target was a german airship that was dropping bombs on edinburgh the gun is also still in use by the british army in the 21st century as are the governor s house and new barracks the current use of these buildings show the castle s history as an important building continues this is the reason the highest flag on the castle is a british one and not a scottish one as you reach the upper ward you come to the site of st margaret s chapel this is the oldest building in the castle and also in edinburgh it commemorates margaret the mother of king david i who died in the castle in 1093 the inside of the chapel is very small light and intimate accommodating only 24 people making it a favourite for weddings and christenings the very highest point of the castle is where the scottish national war memorial rests honouring all those who have died fighting for scotland it was opened in 1927 after the first world war where 148,000 military were killed to commemorate and remember the dead the people of edinburgh donated money to rebuild the interior of the building which was previously a barrack lock in the 1700s the first donation was £500 whilst the second was two shillings and sixpence in old money from a travelling person you can still see the highest part of the volcanic rock in the building protruding under a casket which contains scrolls naming those who lost their lives fighting for scotland 7


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in world war one above them hangs an effigy of st michael the patron saint of warriors killing a dragon across from the war memorial is the resting place of the honours of scotland the crown sceptre and sword of state lie on display in the royal palace at various points in history the honours have been moved and hidden in a variety of places including under a medieval toilet at one point to protect them from invaders the honours now rest safe alongside the stone of scone or the stone of destiny this was a coronation stone used since the 9th century and was moved to westminster in 1296 by king edward i of england it wasn t until 1996 that it was finally returned to edinburgh the stone will be used at the next coronation of a british monarch in london but will be returned to edinburgh much sooner than 700 years give it a hearty spit -kerstin haselmann what links the seven years war the war of american independence the french revolution and the napoleonic wars prisoners from all these wars were held in the vaults of the castle carvings on the wooden doors of the vaults are still on display today throughout its 3000 years the castle has been the site of many historical events in every nook and cranny of the fortress history can be found from the very highest point where the scottish national war memorial lies to the lowest point in the vaults it s important role in history can be discovered in modern times it also symbolises how do you distinguish a tourist from a local ­ a something more up-to-date local wouldn t walk over the heart of midlothian football but instead walk around it and give it a hearty spit you might now think uuuuuhhhh how the two local clubs arch-rivalry is disgusting but it is tradition even if everyone the trigger for hundreds of fans to has another reason for doing it leave their mark on the mosaic if you are a supporter of the heart the stony heart we are talking about is located of midlothian football club you close to the west entrance of st giles cathedral obviously spit on it for luck if you on edinburgh s royal mile high street named are a fan of the rivalling hibernian after sir walter scott s novel the heart of edinburgh you give all your saliva midlothian refers to the old tolbooth the city s for the enemy s defeat former administrative centre and prison which once stood in that place so basically if you can find a reason spitting on the heart shaped mosaic is supposed for yourself to do it ­ go for it there to prevent you from ever getting arrested is nothing wrong with it no one furthermore since the heart marks the old will give you a funny look except doorway of the prison where the executions took for the tourists and you will all of a place you can thus show your sympathy for the sudden feel a bit more personally convicted or your disagreement with the death connected to edinburgh penalty but these are not the only reasons for people to spit on it 9


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a spark of hope kerstin haselmann a burning sensation of pain after weeks of entire darkness the tiny spark in the distance is a blazing inferno to alan s eyes sudden groans of agony like his own are reverberating from the stony walls of the cave a new one has arrived another damned soul adding to the sum of thousands of fugitives populating the filthy vaults beneath the beautiful city of edinburgh once designed to keep the rich merchants goods safe they are now a depository for the city s lost and hopeless alan is crouching further into the shadows to escape the dazzling brightness he knows exactly what it is like to arrive in the vaults when you think you are not here to stay when the disgusting stench of excrement sweat and decomposing flesh is filling your nose and mouth for the first time the way your nostrils are flaring in response how you re trying to suppress the urge to throw up alan is chuckling to himself oh how they are all convinced that they won t stay long ­ like himself just a few weeks ago ­ but only very rarely one or two will leave for good for alan all hope is lost by now he is suffering from tuberculosis he will die and he knows it soon he will be gone as if he never existed following his wife and son who have already passed away this story may sound like the beginning of a tale to you but it s not this is what it was like to live in the 18th century vaults when you walk through the catacombs of edinburgh today you can feel a cold hand gripping your heart when you hear the story of thousands of people dwelling down here all literally condemned to rot alive an icy chill runs down your spine at the thought of the conditions under which so many people were enduring their fate in those caves in the 18th and 19th century just imagine the given number of occupants per chamber ranges from 30 to 50 usually averaging about 35 diseases were flourishing like roses in spring and the average life span was about 3 to 18 months once you had settled there death was the omnipresent shadow making the darkness even deeper mothers died giving birth to children who were either still born or died being this feeling will solely be caused by what you will learn about those poor souls who took their last breath in the obscurity of nothingness down there before south bridge was erected in the 1780s the area outside edinburgh s southern wall was home to the city s poorest out there the slums were located people living there had to wade through human waste all day long since edinburgh s citizens simply emptied their chamber pots out the window leaving all the grime to run down the hill and accumulate in the valley to form a huge cesspit when it all became too dirty and inconvenient for the townsfolk to cope with and since the town within the walls was growing too small to house all residents and businesses they decided to build a bridge to span the dirt this bridge ­ south bridge ­ was constructed as an extension to high street and was supposed to host various fancy shops the bridge arches being used as storage rooms unfortunately those vaults were leaking and as such useless for the tradesmen the empty chambers providing shelter from the inconveniences of the law illegal businesses soon found a new home in the obscurity of the caves gambling prostitution and the like were thriving when the irish potato famine and the agricultural revolution displaced thousands of people and they tried their luck in the big cities the south bridge vaults turned into a collection point for the desperate and hopeless of the time misery and crime were growing as more and more people arrived in edinburgh bringing with them the problems of hunger and disease in the overcrowded bridge arches the damp air malnutrition and lack of water were only contributing to the spread of maladies the entire darkness and constant fear was wearing people out mentally conditions we nowadays can t imagine living under people never saw the sun they were permanently looking in the cold empty eyes of death and the worst no one forced them to stay at the time there were laws banning beggars and vagabonds from the streets but they all stayed in the vaults voluntarily they were free to leave town at any time but no one would they were all hoping for a better life dying rather than leaving clinging to a tiny spark of hope that was bound to cease shortly after taking their first breath young and old all had the same chance none even today you can still almost feel the smell of despair decay and death burning in your nose almost hear the sighs and groans of the moribund men and women when all lights die down and you are alone in the black emptiness taking a tour through the vaults of edinburgh is surely different from what you might expect of course there is the token phantom making you jump at a certain point of course you will learn about the poltergeist allegedly haunting the place and of course you will almost be a bit disappointed when the entity won t leave its mark on you because you half-way expected it to happen however the most important thing you will experience is about people like you and i ­ people who were looking for a better life in edinburgh after fleeing from famine or after having lost everything only to arrive here and be damned to die or be killed in the anonymity of the vaults in the end you will leave the city of the dead beneath south bridge with a dull feeling in your stomach that is not at all due to any supernatural if you are now interested in ta king a tour through the vaults to experience it yourself visit www blackhart.uk.com >tours watch out for special offers like 2 for 1 on certain days the underground city of the dead tour is especially recommended e.g with tour guide jamie to whom i d like to give a special thanks 11


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