OG Post: March 18th, 2017
Edinburgh Day 6: (Friday and the Castle) Friday morning came in with a crash. I woke up and was not ready for it. There are times in your life where the perception of time moves slower or faster. Usually always in contrast to what you want. Time was moving too fast in Edinburgh, and I was not ok with it. Instead of taking off immediately to work I went for breakfast with Red to her usual spot at Nero Cafe. After a juice and pressed ham and cheese croissant I headed to work. I was getting some things done but kept getting distracted by thoughts of Friday night, this weekend, and Spain. Still managed to get some good things done and have some good conversations. After talking with my coworkers there I took off a little past 1 PM to go meet up with Red for lunch and see what adventures we could get into.
Red and I went to a shop called “Bread Meats Bread” a cheeky little burger and sandwich shop I had the Lothian Wolf Burger, which is a cheeseburger with crispy bacon, pulled pork in BBQ sauce, crispy fried onions and 'Nduja with Sriracha Mayo. Red being a purist went with a classic cheeseburger. This place is the holy grail of hamburgers. Casino El Camino, Hopdoddy, or anywhere else you can name in Austin for your favorite burger isn’t even in the same league as this place. It was truly a holy mecca for burgers. I will have dreams of Bread Meats Bread until I can return.
Afterward, we decided to go an fully give in to being tourists and on a tour of the Edinburgh Castle. The hike up was brutal as it was an especially windy day but as we walked across the drawbridge it was worth braving it. From the drawbridge, we walked up the row to the Castle gates and up to the Argyle Battery. That is a row of six canon battery together with Mill's Mount Battery (to its west) and the low defenses below it were the main northern defense of the castle. We hung out there for a few minutes until a tour guide came up and we gathered around for a 30 guided tour of the castle. Next, we went to the One o’clock Gun. The firing of the One o’clock Gun dates back to 1861 when it allowed ships in the Firth of Forth to set the maritime clocks they needed to navigate the world’s oceans. We continued on through the Castle seeing the original barracks that are now a cafe, the Scottish National War Museum which is housed in a former storehouse for ordnance. It was built in the 1700s and later used as a military hospital. The to New Barracks, The Dragoon Guards Regimental Museum, the Military Prison where they kept all the American and Irish prisoners, and then up to the Forewall Battery.
When we reached up there we saw St. Margarets Chapel. This is the oldest building in Edinburgh. It was built around 1130 by David I and dedicated to his mother Queen Margaret, and the only building to survive the invasion of the Castle by Robert The Bruce. The decorated chancel arch is original, while other features, such as the stained glass windows, are more recent Victorian restorations. Right outside of that is an absolutely enormous cannon called Mons Meg. It was capable of blasting a 150kg gunstone for 3.2km (two miles) and the cutting edge of military technology in 1460. Afterward, we went to the Royal Palace and view Mary Queen of Scots chambers while she was there. From there we climbed the tower to view the Crown Jewels of Scotland. The Honours of Scotland are the oldest surviving set of crown jewels in the British Isles and consists of a crown from 1540, (the base is even older and made from the original gold crown dating from further back.) the Sceptre of Scotland (which was a gift from Pope Alexander VI to King James IV in 1494), and The Sword of State of Scotland (which was also a papal gift from Pope Julius II to James IV in 1507).
Next to the Honours of Scotland is the Stone of Destiny which is a powerful and ancient symbol of Scottish monarchy, witnessing the coronation of its kings for hundreds of years. In legend, it was used as a pillow by the Patriarch Jacob when he dreamed of Jacob’s Ladder. Seen as a sacred object it was believed to have been brought first to Ireland, then Scotland. In 1296 Edward I of England took the stone from Scone, near Perth, and had it built into his own throne. Since then it has been used in the coronation ceremonies for the monarchs of England and then Great Britain. Afterward, we visited the Scottish National War Memorial, Half Moon Battery, and then began slowly walking back down the hill in perfect timing because they where closing up for the day.
We went back to the hotel and rested up for a little bit. That was quite the exercise walking all around the Castle. That night was St. Patricks and instead of getting too crazy in town at one of the pubs we decided to go to Lebowski’s for a couple of drinks. Turns out Lebowski’s on a Friday night is packed no matter what. There was barely any room so we ordered our first round and went back outside to enjoy them. After that some room opened up inside and we had a few more drinks. The bar was playing such good music. Right before we left they played some Portishead. I turned to Red and said, “This really is your bar isn’t it?” We laughed and then when home before too late as we had more adventure to have the next day.