Thistle do Nicely

MVIMG_20191107_080026.jpg

I love the rain conditionally. As in, I absolutely adore it when it rains, the sound of it hitting the window and the pavement outside my walls, the way the sky darkens and the whole day feels like the never-waking early dawn or perpetual twilight, a mere suspension of the darkness of night, just a breath in between. I do not enjoy, however, having to walk in it, and often curse my luck when it rains precisely in the hours that I need to be without the shelter of a roof to keep me from getting soaked. Fortunately for me, it rarely rains in Madrid; unfortunately for the me that went on this trip, this is not the case with Edinburgh.

IMG_0105.jpg

IMG_0149-3.jpg

The Milkman

Fortunately for my past self, however, Edinburgh is full of cute coffee shops into which to scurry when the weather drops the ball on you, which is how I began my morning on my second day there. The Milkman is a tiny coffee shop located on Cockburn Street, serving what has to have been my favorite coffee of the whole trip.

MVIMG_20191107_080911.jpg

Its interior is potted-cactus rustic, with seats facing out the window, making it easy to people watch while caffeinating yourself.

MVIMG_20191107_080431.jpg

IMG_0205.jpg

IMG_0119.jpg

IMG_0175.jpg

Victoria Street

By the time I arrived to Victoria Street, the rain had subsided, which allowed me to stop and do some exploring. And it is every bit as pretty as everybody had claimed it to be.

IMG_0104.jpg

IMG_0174.jpg

IMG_0167.jpg

IMG_0196.jpg

IMG_0181.jpg

IMG_0194.jpg

IMG_0116.jpg

IMG_0159.jpg

IMG_0187.jpg

Edinburgh Castle

I will go ahead and point out what will momentarily become supremely obvious – Edinburgh Castle is important to make a visit for due to its historical significance, but a huge draw to it is its perch atop Castle Rock (GoT vibes, yep) and the stunningly gorgeous views that you get from there as a result, even on a gloomy day such as this.

IMG_0278.jpg

IMG_0138.jpg

IMG_0151.jpg

IMG_0237.jpg

IMG_0354.jpg

The plug of an extinct volcano, Castle Rock has been occupied since the Iron Age (2nd century CE), and a royal castle has sat upon it since the reign of David I in the 12th. The castle continued to be used as an occasional royal residence until the 1500s, when it began to descend into disrepair and was only used as a military barracks. It was from the 19th century on that its importance to Scottish history was truly valued, and a number of restoration programs have since been launched in order to preserve this historical monument.

IMG_0319-2.jpg

IMG_0341.jpg

Throughout its 1100-year-long history, historians have been able to identify a total of 26 sieges on Edinburgh Castle, so that its claim to being the most besieged place in Great Britain certainly rings true. The castle has played a part in the Wars of Scottish Independence, served as the birthplace of James VI and I, son of Mary, Queen of Scots, and was later turned into a prison before becoming a museum in the 19th century.

IMG_0272-2_1.jpg

IMG_0293.jpg

IMG_0279-2_1.jpg

IMG_0244.jpg

IMG_0348-2_1.jpg

While nowadays the site mostly falls under the jurisdiction of Historic Environment Scotland, the Army remains responsible for some sections of it, including the New Barracks block and the National War Museum.

IMG_0286.jpg

National War Museum

The National War Museum explores 400 years of war history, including war within Scotland’s own bounds, through its skirmishes and subsequent alliance with its English neighbor, as well as its participation in conflicts abroad.

IMG_0217.jpg

IMG_0363.jpg

IMG_0273.jpg

IMG_0349.jpg

IMG_0307.jpg

IMG_0328.jpg

IMG_0314.jpg

IMG_0266.jpg

IMG_0335.jpg

IMG_0218.jpg

IMG_0253.jpg

IMG_0356.jpg

IMG_0343.jpg

IMG_0364.jpg

This prison was constructed during Victorian times in order to hold offending soldiers from the castle garrison and those of visiting regiments. It was closed in 1921.

IMG_0247.jpg

IMG_0315.jpg

IMG_0365.jpg

The castle is also home to what is considered to be the oldest building in all of Edinburgh: St Margaret’s Chapel.

IMG_0372.jpg

St Margaret’s Chapel

Margaret was born to the House of Wessex, which fled to Scotland after the Norman conquest of England of 1066. There, she married Malcolm III, becoming Queen of Scots. A pious woman, she was involved in various charitable pursuits, among them establishing a pilgrimage ferry route across the Firth of Forth for those traveling to St Andrews in Fife.

IMG_0337.jpg

IMG_0220.jpg

Originally constructed in the 12th century, the chapel fell into disuse after the Reformation — it was even used as a storage space at one point — and it wasn’t until the 19th century that it was restored.

IMG_0316.jpg

IMG_0351.jpg

IMG_0234.jpg

IMG_0323.jpg

MVIMG_20191107_111417.jpg

IMG_0263.jpg

IMG_0317

MVIMG_20191107_112815.jpg

IMG_0304.jpg

IMG_0221.jpg

IMG_0290.jpg

It continued to rain the whole time I was at the castle, and being as open air as it is, this meant I was pretty much soaked by the end of my visit. But as uncomfortable as I was, this was precisely as I was hoping to see Edinburgh – gloomy, gray, maybe even a little foggy. And it’s a look that definitely suits it.

IMG_0346.jpg

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s