Over this past week I randomly ended up in a cemetery in downtown Edinburgh and I visited the iconic Edinburgh Castle for a full tour. Last weekend I went out to wander around the city and explore some neighborhoods I hadn’t seen yet and along the way I noticed an old stone entrance that was ajar. As I wandered in a nervous looking woman came out. I shrugged off the suspicious character and explored further. As I meandered through the tombstones and monuments looking for an Elliott, I found myself at a large memorial for David Hume. Yes, the David Hume. Buried in a crumbling old cemetary without much fanfare. Next to his resting place was a memorial for the dozen or so Scottish soldiers who fought in the American Civil War, which I had instantly and incorrectly identified as a cenotaph for Lincoln. At the top was a quote and simple statue of honest Abe (I had to attach a picture for you, Pops).
On Wednesday I got up early to spend a full day touring the Edinburgh Castle with two friends. I wish there were some crazy adventure that came out of it, but frankly it was a castle and there were items you would expect to find in a castle inside. For Scots, this clearly is the crown jewel of the city (and not just because the crown jewels are housed on the site). While checking out the tiny church at the highest point we were approached by a lively guardsman who proceeding to give us a rundown of major events in the castle’s history and then his own family history. He made a point to stress how not all young people were Neds and that some, including his son, were a shining example of success and civility. After wandering around the castle some more we noticed him making the same speech to a new group of visitors. There was plenty to see in the War Museum, but we went through it pretty quickly due to a certain member of our party having an aversion to military history. Based on the artifacts I’ve seen around the city, I think I’ll have many more opportunities to see ridiculous medieval weapons.
Aside from the gas masks and and piles of old weaponry (including assorted “knuckle dusters“), the creepiest sections of the war museum were the life size dioramas. Most scenes were a single figure with a backdrop and a short story. My personal favorite was the tale of Private McBain at Malplaquet. Apparently as he was passing his wife, she handed him their infant son, but as he was on parade he just kept marching with the baby. They marched right into battle and he fought with his child in his knapsack. It took me a while to notice this crazed man had a baby in his knapsack, so hopefully this picture will do it justice.
I’m off to Shap, England for the weekend, so hopefully I’ll get some pictures, meet some new people and return with a few good stories.