My Favorite Destinations…Edinburgh
by Diana Hechler
(September 19, 2003) Bonnie lads and lasses,
there's a beautiful country awaitin' ye in Scotland. And lest
you think it's just a part of England, you'll be makin' a
Head for the capital, Edinburgh, and make your way to the
castle. You can't miss it; look up and you can see it from
just about anywhere. Dominating the city from its perch high
above, Edinburgh Castle was indeed impregnable and throughout
its colorful history was never taken by force – only
by treachery. (It’s a good story, trust me.)
you can, plan your visit during the three weeks in August
that the Military Tattoo takes place. Pipes, drums, dancers,
and military bands from the far reaches of the commonwealth
come to show off, all set against the background of the torch-lit
castle. Just the view of the castle at night is worth the
price of admission. You might even catch the motorcycle drill
You'll want to walk down the Royal Mile from the castle
Palace. The cobble-stoned route is chock-full of every schlocky
tourist store imaginable. If you’ve ever fancied yourself
in a kilt or you feel that you must have an Aran sweater,
you’ve come to the right place. Somehow, in spite of
all the commerce, you will still sense the medieval city here.
In August, the Edinburgh Festival adds street performers of
all caliber, crowds and lots of fun to the mix.
For a respite from Mary Queen of Scots and James I (believe
me, you'll hear a LOT about them), stroll the lovely blocks
of the new city, parallel to Princes Street. Trendy restaurants,
art galleries and shops abound in and around the impressive
Georgian architecture. Don't forget to make a field trip to
Stirling Castle, 30 miles north. Whoever controlled Stirling
Castle controlled Scotland; you'll see why once you're atop
From there, you can't miss the Mel Gibson...Excuse me, I
mean the William Wallace Monument… on an adjacent hilltop.
Make the climb and ask the costumed soldier about the Battle
of Stirling Bridge. He just might throw in the tale of Robert
the Bruce and nearby Bannockburn, too.
is just the beginning of Scotland. The mountains and lakes
(lochs) go on forever, often under gray and forbidding skies,
other times bathed in a brilliant sunshine. This is the land
of Campbells and MacDonalds, the home of Robert Louis Stevenson,
the birthplace of poet Robert Burns. Try to get up to Inverness
and the Highlands as well. Ask me about the Highland Games,
held in July and August every year. Kilts, pipers, dancers,
and more kilts!
Did I mention the sheep? You’ve never seen so many
sheep. Lots and lots of sheep.
For the Kids: The Edinburgh Dungeon, near Waverly train station,
is full of gore, blood, and torture, tinged with humor. The
children will love it.