Another day of gorgeous weather! Still having a little trouble adjusting to the time zone, so we slept until almost 10:30 am. We ate breakfast at the hotel, then headed up the Royal Mile again to go tour Edinburgh Castle. The castle is huge, built high up on an ancient volcanic formation, with fantastic views all around the city as well as of the river called the Firth of Forth, which is actually a fjord created during the last glacier period.
We toured the Great Hall which was chock-full of 400 years of armor and weaponry and still had its medieval wooden ceiling — beautiful! — St. Margaret’s Chapel (the oldest building in the castle), the batteries where cannons from the 1500’s stood on the ramparts, the crown jewels of Scotland, and the chamber where James VI was born — who later became James I of the United Kingdom, uniting Scotland and England. He was born in 1566. We also toured the Scottish war memorial, which was impressive.
From the ramparts they shoot off a cannon every day at 1:00 pm. This is so ships in harbor can synchronize their clocks, as well as the people in town. Everyone habitually checks their watches after the gun goes off. Why 1:00, you may ask? Why not noon? It has to do with Scottish thrift — one shot requires way less gunpowder than twelve.
The walk back down the Royal Mile was interesting — we visited St. Giles’s church and saw lots of street artists, including one wizard who seemed to hang in thin air. Did some shopping and ate at a small whiskey pub. Took a photo of some of the Scottish currency, which is a mix of English, Scottish and Irish versions, none of it the same size, and some made of plastic with little transparent windows… and all with grumpy/crazy photos or paintings of famous people.
Ate dinner at the Wedgwood, right around the corner from our hotel. Super meal, we did the “Wee Tour of Scotland” menu. Ate too much, of course.