I’m sitting in an Internet Cafe in Edinburgh, which is pronounced “Edinburrah” and seems to have a lot of ghosts running around. Everything is haunted in this city and there are a lot of tours devoted to the underbelly of its history. Trivia: The term “shit-faced” was coined in Edinburgh because drunks used to look up at the moment when the 10 o’clock signal was given to dump the day’s waste and refuse from the windows of living quarters sitting above the city streets.
A lot of the trip thus far has seemed to involve standing in rooms where things happened hundreds of years ago, such as the birth of James VI in a room in Edinburgh Castle and early performances of Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus in the Rose Theatre in London. It’s been good exercise for my imagination. The view of Edinburgh from the castle is phenomenal. We were given a brief tour by an old Scot and then left to roam the prisons, which were extraordinarily presented for tourists, with audio recordings simulating the atmosphere and shadowplay on the walls.
Afterwards, we walked around with her cousin and ended up going on a haunted tour of one of the scariest place on Earth, the Edinburgh vaults. Andrea couldn’t take the last part of it and had to leave. I can’t say I blame her. I’m not usually one who buys into the authenticity of ghostly places and the TV shows that cover them are always less than convincing, but it was undoubtedly unsettling to be down there, especially after a day of finding out how violent a city Edinburgh used to be.
I have been subsisting largely on bangers and mash since we arrived on the continent. By the way – football is a religion here. I say that almost literally, as certain rivalries were borne out of Catholic/Protestant conflict. The UK still seems divided staunchly along certain religious lines, a tendancy that stretches far, far back into its history.
Scotland is a place I’ve wanted to visit ever since I started thinking about going to Europe. The train ride in didn’t disappoint. Edinburgh is surrounded by lush green hills that are populated by a vast number of sheep. Today, we’re going into a more rural area of the country for a very special reason that I’ll reveal in my next update. I hear it’s coconut season there…