Edinburgh, Scotland: Day 2

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Normally when I travel I'm up and out first thing in the morning but since we had our own apartment we definitely took our time getting moving in the morning.  After a delicious breakfast of fruit and berry pancakes we made our way back to the city center to visit the Edinburgh Dungeons.

The Edinburgh Dungeons are kind of hard to explain.  It reminded me a bit of Medieval Times however it was more of a walking tour.  You would go through these rooms with live actors who acted as if you were living in Edinburgh's past.  We faced the judge, visited a torture chamber, got kidnapped by cannibals, and were hanged in Grassmarket.  There were also a few short rides that, although simple, were terrifying and hilarious at the same time.  I wasn't sure what to expect going into the attraction but we had a great time and I left laughing (and nursing a near broken hand from the vice grip of one unnamed friend of mine!).  I would definitely recommend this to anyone visiting Edinburgh.

After the dungeons we stopped at the Scottish National Gallery.  It was closing shortly after we arrived but we were able to make a quick lap of the place and saw some beautiful art.

A pretty walk on the way to the Gallery.

Small writing on a wall during our ghost tour.
After some drinks and appetizers we headed up to the Royal Mile where we were meeting up with our Auld Reekie walking tour.  This tour took us around the area of Cowgate which, back in the day, was essentially slums.  A bridge was built over the area and under it were built over 120 storage vaults for local shop owners to use.  The bridge, however, was built  from limestone which allowed water to simply seep through it into the vaults.  After the shop owners stopped using them, some of the poorest people of Edinburgh started moving in.  There were no windows and the area was always dark and wet, but most of these people had no where else to go.  After the poor came the criminals.  A lot of dark things happened in the vaults until finally they were all filled with rubble and all entrances closed off.  It wasn't until the late 1980's that someone found their way back inside. Excavations found a lot of old tools, utensils, toys, shoes, etc.  They also found more ghostly things, too.  There have been a lot of stories and sightings down in the vaults even though they've only been open to the public for the past 20 something years.  We heard some of these stories and they were definitely scary.  They are smart and at the end of the tour they give you a free whisky and shortbread to help calm the nerves a bit.

Down a narrow alley

Into the vaults
Celebrating the survival of our ghost tour!

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