As some of you may know, the Vindolanda Field Schoolers just had a free weekend. Void of lectures and work, we decided to go on an adventure. For six of us, that adventure led us to the heart of Edinburgh. On Friday night, we could not believe that the day was finally here! What started as a trip planned between two of us suddenly came to include four other people. Trying to plan a train and hostel for six people is not an easy task but we made it work. Our first stop after leaving Haltwhistle was the Carlisle train station and the reason I mention this is because we found an interesting sign along the way.
I have always dreamed of travelling to Edinburgh and I knew that my first stop was going to be Edinburgh Castle. The castle that I thought was going to be beautiful was indeed breathtaking. The view from the top was absolutely phenomenal. Holly, Victoria, and I saw everything that we could within the few hours that we were there and then our next stop was the National Museum of Scotland. This museum had exhibits on everything from early peoples to industrial machines. The most fascinating exhibit, however, was called the “The Tomb”. This Egyptian exhibit showcased a tomb that originally belonged to the Police Chief of Thebes. While it was subsequently used by others during later periods, the original owners had a tomb that was larger than those of most of the pharaohs.
Our last stop in Edinburgh was a little-known tourist destination. Holly told me about it on our way over to the UK and I knew that we had to do it!! At 3:45 pm on Sunday, we were anxiously awaiting for our tour of “The Real Mary King’s Close” to begin. Going into the tour, we didn’t know what to expect. We were transported back to the way the streets of Edinburgh would have looked in the 17th century when the upper portion of the street was demolished and the lower portion was used as the foundation for the Royal Exchange. During the hour we spent in the Close, we were able to see the way the poorest of the poor lived and the recreated abodes of some of the wealthy. As we were walking through the rooms, we realized that some of them were still in their original condition. The crumbling plaster and wood beams were still in their places! A great respect for the people who maintain this Close was felt throughout the tour group. The tour was amazing, especially our tour guide Pam, and is a must-see for anyone visiting the city. Before we left Edinburgh, Holly and I stopped for some traditional pub food. Let’s just say that some of the best fish and chips can be found in the heart of Edinburgh. The next time I visit Scotland, I hope I will not only be able to do justice in seeing the rest of Edinburgh but the entirety of the beautiful country.