Bodysnatching in Edinburgh

It was so wonderful to finally meet Malcolm after all of the stories Matt has shared about him! He was a fantastic tour guide and Edinburgh was an unexpected delight to visit. Of all the European cities we’ve been to, this is easily the one we’ve felt the most at home at and we could even imagine ourselves living there one day (despite the rain and cold!).

Edinburgh contains an “Old Town” and “New Town”, both of which have been listed as World UNESCO Heritage Sites. The Old Town is particularly cool because it’s maintained its medieval feel due to the narrowness of the streets and buildings. The Old Town lacked space so it is compact and contains some of the first high rises (10-11 stories) ever to be built (from the 16th century). Walking along the narrow streets, we developed an idea for what it must have been like to live in medieval times when citizens threw rubbish and feces out their windows.

I’ve always romanticized about what it was like to live during medieval times. I’d never taken the time to think about what it must have been like to go for a stroll down the street. Imagine, you’re walking down a narrow cobblestone street that’s already littered with a half foot of rubbish when someone calls down from a second story window. You look up, and before you have the chance to shout out, excrement is tumbling down upon you. Absolutely disgusting. It seems inevitable that I would have been drenched numerous times. Perhaps I never would have left my home without a rain jacket of sorts.

Here were some more of our favorite Edinburgh adventures:

– Eating Fish and Chips! I loved them! So unhealthy, but so good! Chippies (places that sold fish and chips) were everywhere! I don’t understand how Scots aren’t suffering from the worst acne ever with the amount of greasy food that’s available. Interestingly enough, Scotland is known as “the sick man of Europe.” According to health reports Scots smoke more, drink more, and have poorer diets compared to the rest of the UK.

– Taking a Vault Tour – The vaults are a series of chambers that were created by the arches of the South Bridge. They were used for various things including housing taverns and serving as a storage space for illegal materials and even dead bodies! Medical students wished to experiment on dead bodies and “bodysnatching” became a good way to make money. These bodysnatchers dug up the bodies from the graveyard, stored them in the vault and then transported them to the medical school. You can only imagine all of the crazy ghost stories that are still alive!

– Enjoying the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the world’s largest performing arts festival. The festival attracts people from everywhere and the streets were alive with performances, theater, and comedy. We caught a free show by some amateurs.

– Passing by the Elephant House, the coffee shop where J.K. Rowling first started writing the Harry Potter series.

– Stumbling upon the 2011 World Press Photo Exhibition at the Edinburgh Parliament. You can view some of the exhibition’s evocative photos here: http://www.worldpressphoto.org.

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