Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Edinburgh Soundbites

I promise to do a real post about Edinburgh and all we have been doing and seeing.  But, for now I am too busy being the tourist. :-)

However, here are some "Soundbites" I have discovered as we tour and get to know the city:

  • Edinburgh is built on 7 hills, as is Rome.  My knees can attest to this fact. :-)

  • Our flat is off Easter street.  The name used to be Eastern but some where along the way the "n" got lost.  Easter used to be the eastern edge of the city.

  • Edinburgh has an old city and a new city.  The terms old and new are relative.  The old city is VERY old and the new city is still old having been built in the 1700's.

  • The old city, due to a lack of space, has buildings up to 15 floors high.  That is a lot of steps to take up and down.  No plumbing, no sanitation facilities.

  • At ten o'clock at night, by law, you could open your window and after yelling out a warning, empty your chamber pots out the window onto the street below.  (Ugh!)

  • As expected, diseases ran rampant.  The last outbreak of plague occurred in Edinburgh.

  • Holyrood House Palace, the official residence of the Queen when in Scotland, translates to Holy Cross House Palace.  A monastery was originally on the site and it's ruins are still there to be seen.  

  • After the joining of Scotland and England, when the Stuart kings of Scotland also became rulers of England, steps were taken to "erase" the differences between the two countries.  The clans were outlawed.  You could no longer wear your clan tartan.  The playing of the bagpipes was outlawed.  Scotland became known officially as Northern England.  These restrictions remained in place until 1820 when George IV visited Edinburgh and had a kilt made for himself that he wore during the visit.

  • The new city was designed in the 1700's during the Age of Reason.  Streets were wide, the height of buildings was restricted to three floors, an attic and a basement.  A park was placed at the beginning and end of each of the originally built streets.  One side of the street was for houses and one side for garden space.  The result being a much more open, airier and healthier environment.

  • The Royal Mile runs between Holyrood House and Edinburgh Castle. On Monday we walked up and back down the Royal Mile.

  • Edinburgh has always been a seat of learning.  It was the first to institute mandatory education of children (in the 1400's) and it had five universities at the time that England had only two.

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