111 - Day 7 - The return to Edinburgh

Happy Friday the 13th!

It really creeps me out when my cats head snaps up and she stares out the window... what is she looking at???

We passed through Glasgow on our way back to Edinburgh. You can barely make it out, but that white bendy thing is called the Squishy Bridge.

This is what I have... a standard life...

Arthur's Seat in the mid-day sun. Gorgeous eh?

We climbed up Calton Hill, which is a mish-mash of monuments. This is the Nelson Monument, commemorating Admiral Lord Nelson who died at the battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

Nelson Monument, a tree, a monument that looks like the Acropolis, and a bench.

The Nelson Monument looks like a giant... tribute.

Please don't sit on the window ledges... and keep your damn pigeons off 'em, too!

I estimate that I climbed about 1,000 stair steps on our last day in Edinburgh. These are about 56 of them (28 up, 28 down). Yes, they are that steep.

Another war memorial. The city is peppered with them. Kind of makes me feel at home... like we're on the same team, because they're typically a tribute to Scottish-American soldiers.

A crypt in the Calton Cemetery

Remember Robert Burns?

I thought this was pretty

Remember this guy? The Scott Monument? Well today... it accounted for 574 of the stair steps I climbed... 287 up... 287 down. All in a spiral. A somewhat claustrophobia-inducing spiral... that sometimes had handrails, sometimes had rope, and sometimes... nothing. And passing on the right? Did they seriously suggest that? Don't make me laugh!

Oh it looks menacing...

Remember when it looked inviting?

Looks like a little puppy dog (who's been defaced by disrespectful brats)

Steep spiral stairs. Very small steps. Very few windows. It becomes disorienting after a while. You don't know where you are. Are you approaching a viewing platform or did you find your way into some form of purgatory, lost forever on stairs that never end?
There are four viewing platforms.

Up we go!

Platform 1. Pretty high up. Very windy.

Platform 2. Even higher up. More windy. Those 28 steps up to Calton Hill seem paltry in comparison, and thanks to the hilly nature of Edinburgh, I'm higher than the Balmoral Hotel's clock tower. (I used my zoom)

Platform 3. At this point I'm on my own. My cousin is slightly claustrophobic, and when the handrail ran out, she decided to turn back. I admit that as I got further up, I began to have to consciously will myself to keep climbing. My legs were a little shaky. I have nightmares about climbing stairs sometimes. But I was determined.
This is the view from Platform 3. Where it's even more windy. This is Waverley Station and the North Bridge.

Still one more platform to go...

The stairway became more narrow... I'm not typically claustrophobic, but...
Ah... fresh air...

So this is the doorway at the top, leading down... it has a few battle scars from others who have conquered this beast. Have I mentioned the nightmares I have sometimes? Well they are primarily about going down the stairs. It took a minute or two to convince myself to go through that doorway. Once I did though, I was fine.
There was a couple coming up to the third platform as I came down from the fourth. Luckily we met up at the platform and didn't have to squeeze past each other...

St. Giles Cathedral during the day.

Pretty doorway

Calton Hill from afar

Another war memorial

On the way back to our B&B... Calton Hill!

Arthur's Seat in the afternoon

It's hard to sleep with the light monster hovering over your bed... watching you... it never blinks...

Our hotel had no lift, so we had to walk up the stairs. Jamie and I were on the third floor. That's 52 steps up. I went up and down four times (total stair count: 838).
Nighttime! On the way to a yummy dinner and lots of fun.

If anyone tells you that the food in Scotland is dull... they haven't eaten from this plate.

No one can refuse The Godfather... oh lordy... I climbed 1,000 stairs. I deserve it!
Trip to bathroom: 20 stairs (times two)

I was going to buy some Glenrothes whisky... I like it... it has a honeyed raisin taste... just ignore that blast of sulfur at the end. Anyway, this whisky shop had a gift set of three smallish bottles, but I decided not to buy it... until it was the end of the day and I still had a lot of money in my wallet. So I went back and they were closed... *pout*

We had a little time to kill... I'd had a lot of sugar... and the whisky picture started an avalanche of silliness... This is Jamie, the babushka.

This is Laura, the reindeer

She's a witch! Burn her! (This would have been so much more convincing if the fire guy had been performing in the background)

Jamie's squishing the moon! Look at those tiny people, she's a glamazon!

We ran into a little more trouble... at least they didn't pus us in the stocks this time.

Remember the old saying that sh*t rolls down hill? Well it did... People used to put anything they wanted to get rid of (bodily wastes, food scraps, dead rats, etc) into a bucket, and at the end of the day, they tossed the contents out the window where it rolled down hill. If you were lucky, you weren't walking by as they did it, because they would yell something akin to 'watch your head' and if you didn't realize that, and you looked up... you probably never felt clean again.
Stairs to get down to this street: 35

Laura, Jamie and I went on the Haunted Graveyard tour to face off with the MacKenzie Poltergeist. There's nothing special about this picture except that guy's face at the bottom right... he must have seen something horrifying!
Stairs up to the cemetery: 25

The moon... I finally got a good moon picture!

The tour guide unlocked (yes, unlocked) the gate leading to the Covenanter's Graveyard. I'm going to try to condense this story, but it's not going to be easy... The Covenanters were a group of men who signed a petition for religious freedom, proclaiming loyalty to God, rather than the King (Charles I). For their trouble, Charles I had them hunted down. His lead dog was George MacKenzie, who imprisoned, tortured and killed hundreds of these men.
These men are buried here, in the Covenanter's Graveyard.
So is George MacKenzie.
Supposedly it is his ghost that scratches, pokes, pushes and bruises people. Supposedly it is his ghost who causes them to faint or feel an intense sense of panic.
At one point they actually exorcised this graveyard (actually I think they did it twice), and shortly thereafter, the priest who performed the exorcism died. The city locked the graveyard. This tour company has the key (money talks).
The guide led us through the gates and into the graveyard. There are two trees standing just inside the gate. The guide explained that for whatever reason, the entity can't seem to get past the trees, and it didn't matter whether we believed in it or not, if we were an 'inductor' it would find us. It would take its time, but it would find us. And then it would torment us.
He said that it is an accepted belief that if you walk around the trees to enter the graveyard, and through them when you leave, the ghost won't follow you home. Done and done. Then he led us inside this crypt. I went first, and since Jamie was glued to my side, so did she. Muahahaha!
This meant that we were in the very back of the crypt when everyone else piled in. Got a little dark in there.

Then he told us that we had nothing to worry about while we were in the crypt. The poltergeist didn't really start to toy with you until you left the crypt. He said it doesn't matter how big you are, it's not afraid of you. He said there was a six-foot-four Norwegian body builder in one tour group who learned that he was an inductor after he fainted. Twice. After the second time he fainted, the group began to panic, and they ran in all directions, screaming and trying to get out of the (locked) gate. Then they remembered the bodybuilder who was still inside the crypt, passed out. Some of them went back and began to drag him from the crypt, toward the safety of the trees. He woke up. Last thing he knew, he was in a graveyard getting creeped out by a poltergeist story, now he's being drug along on the ground... The guide said it's funny now, but when it was happening, it was a horrible experience.
We didn't experience anything.
We got nothing except the experience of going into a graveyard where the bodies are stacked so high that it created a hill where there was no hill in the natural landscape, where when it rains enough, bones begin to make their way to the surface of the soil. He said that some people (me) try to respect the graves and walk around the edge as opposed to tromping on the top of them, he said it was futile.
Oh. I got this orb. It's dust. Or a bug. Not a poltergeist. Poltergeists, by the way, typically occur when there is limestone in the ground, and also when there are pubescent children around, because they are emotional.

Nope... no poltergeist here...

George MacKenzie's tomb. And zombies. Look at them, they're all staring straight ahead, even Laura!

This tree ate somebody

I don't know about this... as I heard it JK Rowling actually gave 'birth' to Harry Potter on a train trip... and it was Nicholson's Cafe where she used to go to write... but it said Harry Potter... so I took a photo...

The trees looked really cool with the light shining through them... almost to the hotel to turn in for the night...

...and my mind was still working... I looked up again... to see what the light monster was up to... he was still up there... watching... and I realized that this light resembled something else...

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