Edinburgh Castle and Camera Obscura
According to the lady at the Camera Obscura centre, today is the shortest day of the year in good old Edinburgh. The sun starts setting around 230PM or so and it’s dark by 4PM. In spite of that fact, I managed to sneak a lot of sightseeing into my relatively short day: a trip to Edinburgh Castle, a visit to Camera Obscura and tonight I’m catching a performance of Peter Pan at 7P.
Despite scheduling my wake-up call for 8:30AM, I was up and getting ready by 8AM. I headed to the Castle first thing in the morning at 9:30A (when it opens) to beat the crowds. Unfortunately, Scotland’s cold knows no bounds at 9:30 in the morning… the sun doesn’t show it’s face until at least an hour after that so I faced some serious snow. Although my ears were fighting frostbite, I got some of the prettiest pictures of the landscape and surroundings. Being that the castle is quite the fortress on a hill top (an extinct volcano, actually), the views are absolutely breathtaking.
I didn’t spend that much time at the Castle because it was bitterly cold but what I did see was truly incredible. I’m definitely planning on heading back when my dad makes a trip over to this side of the pond; it’s something any history buff would love.
I was a bit upset that they didn’t offer student discounts, but the views from the top of the Castle definitely made the 11 pound entry fee worth it. I also stopped in this cool store right outside of the castle that’s separated into three sections: tour bookings, a cafe and a weaver that creates tartans, kilts, etc. There was also a section dedicated to this medieval gear (below).
There’s an actual blacksmith that makes these swords (he lives about 10 miles from the Castle). There were loads of locally-made pieces, plus rapiers, chain mail (which, for the record, is insanely heavy), maces and axes.
After exploring the castle, I stopped at Camera Obscura, a place full of optical illusions with incredible panoramic views of Edinburgh. The 15 minute Camera Obscura on the 5th floor made the £7ticket worth every penny (pence?). It really is so cool seeing the whole of the city in a warm little room. Check out some of snaps from the Camera Obscura.
There were a number of cool optical illusions and holograms. If you’re traveling with kids in tow, this is a great place to keep them entertained.
After all that exploring and sightseeing, I found a bunch of little Scottish stores to hit up to grab a few gifts for family and friends back in California! Now I’m sitting in a warm pub down the way from my hotel that has offered me free Wi-fi and delicious pear-flavored Magner’s cider. I booked a tour of the Highlands/Loch Ness tomorrow with Timberbush Tours and I’m so excited to see a different side of the country! Getting ready to head out and see a live version of Peter Pan at the theatre.
Hope everyone’s holiday is wonderful!
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