Saturday, November 23, 2013

Castles and Cemeteries

My final day in Edinburgh was bitter sweet. I was happy we had an extra day to explore the city but sad we were leaving the hotel room. Now, being abroad is amazing and I wouldn't trade this experience for anything in the world but the accommodations are a little less to be desired. So when you have the opportunity to stay in a hotel while you are an abroad student nine times out of ten the student will say yes. After sleeping in we finally rolled out of bed and went to the Castle. 

The views from the Castle are incredible! 

 This Castle has your usual elements. Breathtaking architecture, cannons, guns, a chapel and so on but I really enjoyed this castle because of the stunning views and it was so well done. 

 I won't give a history lesson on everything we saw because firstly you should go see it for yourself and secondly I cannot remember...but there is a beautiful war memorial, crown jewels, a grand hall, a few exhibits as well many other aspects that paint a picture of Scottish history. 

This is the war memorial. Inside you are not allowed to take pictures which is a shame because it was spectacular. 

Hi Sara!

This is a cemetery where soldiers, other military personal, or aristocrats would bury their sweet right! 

This was one of my favorite parts of our visit. There is a Prisons of War exhibition that brings to life the realities of the prisoners. 

This was really cool. It is an old door to a cell where prisoners had carved many different things on the inside of the door. Anything from pictures, to phrases and the different languages can be identified and sometimes you could even pin point during what war these prisoners were held here. 

They locked me up...

Sara looking sad in the military prison. 

But now she is getting squeaky clean so she is very happy! 

Ok, in some of the exhibits there were mannequins portraying the scene. They are very creepy and most of them I did not like, just sayin. 

Sara got tired. 

See creepy! I understand that they show what would actually have happened here but just, they look so creepy sometimes. 

After the Castle, we still had some time to kill so I dragged Sara with me to a cemetery because that was the most logical thing we could think of to do with our time. Just kidding! I wanted to find the graves of some of the characters from the Harry Potter series. Now J.K. Rowling used to wonder through Greyfriars Kirkyard Cemetery which is right behind the Elephant Cafe where she wrote the first book. So off we went in search of the real people she named some characters for. 

On a creepy note this mausoleum is haunted. While I was doing research on this cemetery there were a lot of articles about this mausoleum. The man buried here is named Sir George Mackenzie. Rumor has it, Sir Mackenzie's ghost haunts the grounds and many people have experienced paranormal activity in this area of the cemetery. Anything from biting, blacking out, fainting etc. It all began after a homeless man broke into the mausoleum in 1999 these strange events have begun to happen. Even a exorcist was brought in to try and help the situation but he refused to enter the site claiming it had such bad energy that he thought it would kill him...a week later he died from a heart attack. So while we are walking past this and I am explaining all of this to Sara, I hear a knocking noise. Now maybe I made it up or maybe it was the wind who knows all I know is Sara heard it to and we high tailed it out of there! 

Hello Professor McGonagall! The real McGonagall is William McGonagall and he was a poet, actor, and a weaver. A man of many trades but I was a little to excited when we found this plaque since that is one of my favorite characters from the series. 

And then we found him. He who shall not be named, the Dark Lord, the greatest wizard of all time some would say, well I do not say that the greatest wizard of all time is Albus Dumbledore, but this is nonetheless Tom Riddle. However the original Thomas Riddle did not spell his name as J.K. Rowling wrote it in the series. The 'proper' spelling is Riddell not Riddle. I believe J.K. Rowling changed this to make the anagram in the second movie fit. 

Although a sort of morbid way to end my weekend in Edinburgh I wouldn't have had it any other way. Harry Potter was and is a a part of my life and it was beyond cool to see where some of the origins for the series came from. I absolutely loved every moment of Edinburgh. I adore this city which I did not expect but every city I have had little expectations has blown me away. Next time I want to come back and visit the Highlands and look for the Lockness Monster! Cheers! 

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