May 29, 2000
This touristy city is actually a manageable size, despite it's rich 1000 year history and being the capital of Scotland. I'd say that a day and half would be the perfect amount of time to cover the best of town.
The majestic Edinburgh Castle looks down upon the streets below and the exit leads you down the Royal Mile leading to Holyrood Palace, where the queen spends about a week a year - this is her official residence and office (she must be quite a traveler!). It was no surprise that she wasn't home when I arrived, but it a pleasant walk.
The castle was a great tour, but the historical contexts are scattered and a good part of them focus on the days when it was used for soldier's quarters and a prison in the past century (the soldier's, BTW didn't have it much better off than the prisoners).
Friendly Scots will agree to the finer points of the day with a long "aye." By the way, Scotland is the first country I've been in where you can look at your guide book in a confused way and people approach to ask if you are lost and point you in the right direction (with out scams). This later happened one day in London too, but I've also had people try to hustle me in London.
Anyway, they say that Edinburgh may be the least Scottish city of Scotland due to the heavy tourism and the proximity/ease of travel from England.
Yet Scotland is celebrating pulling away from England and Scottish parlement is meeting for the fist time since 1707. The new location is being erected behind the construction walls near Holyrood Palace.
It's a city well worth a visit, but far from the greatest place to be. In many ways, this is all a part of the Scottish character: mid-evil splendor and the capital city, yet humble at the core.
Bonnie Scotland, I'll be comin' home to you again, but not for your cities. Well aware of this MacBackpacker, Stray Dog, Haggis Tours and the other hip tour companies meet in Edinburgh to take you right up to the highlands.