The cobbled stone pavement of the Royal Mile was filled with street performers and viewers, as the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo Event (annual military performance every August) was celebrated by the city that time. We were a bit exhausted and hungry after visiting some places, so we took a break and decided to eat at Oink. It is a small eatery located at one of the famous streets in Old Town called Victoria Street. They are known for their hog roast rolls which is kinda unique for my taste.
Hog roast rolls -freshly carved hog roast, served in a white or brown roll with a choice of sage & onion, apple sauce, chilli relish or haggis. For more information on this, please click this link.
Victoria Street is known for its colorful shop fronts.
Our energies were back once again and we were ready to explore the rest of the city. Next stop was the Greyfriar Kirkyard which is a graveyard where some significant residents of the city were buried. Tourists often visit this place because of Greyfriars Bobby. He is a small dog who guarded the grave of his owner until he died, just like what Hachiko of Japan did. His statue can be found outside the graveyard, near the bridge. According to some beliefs, rubbing the nose of his statue will bring good luck, although this is already discouraged as it may cause rupture to this historical monument. This place is not something that I would recommend if you’ve only got a short time to visit the city.
We became so curious with all the happenings around us, so we watched some of the shows being performed on the streets. There were magic and comedy shows; musical, theatrical and dance performances; and a whole lot more. Each of these were just a sneak preview or sample of what you can watch on some theaters and stages all around the city. These are different from the Military Tattoo performance, as it is held at the grounds of the Edinburgh Castle.
Afterwards, our foot brought us to The Elephant House. Harry Potter fans might be familiar with this place, as it was believed that J.K. Rowling wrote the early parts of the novel here. Aside from her, there are also other notable writers who frequented here, thus making it a writer/reader friendly cafe. The place is nice, cozy and relaxing. A good spot to rest and eat after a tiring walk all over the city, though the food was just average. You can visit their website here to check out their menu.
The walls, mirror and door of the loo or restroom were covered with graffiti from Harry Potter fans.
The last attraction we went to was the Mary King’s Close. A close is a Scottish term for alley or pathway. During the 17th century, the Mary King’s Close was one of the busiest and most densely populated areas in the city, however at present time it can be found buried beneath the city grounds. This particular close was hit by a plague centuries ago. In order to stop the plague from spreading, they closed this area down, thus leaving the residents to die inside. You can learn more of this by joining the tour that they offer.
The tour lasts for 1 hour wherein a costumed tour guide will take you around the preserved houses and streets of the close. Our guide was witty and knowledgeable, he narrated and described the lives of the people there before efficiently thus making you feel that you travelled back during that time. There were also mannequins and special effects all over the place to complete the experience. I think that people with walking difficulties or those with claustrophobia are not advisable to do this tour as there are narrow stairs to climb and the place is kinda confined. It was also a bit eerie inside, they told us that some people have actually seen ghosts in there. The tour was very interesting and informative, though the phasing was really fast, so there are times that you may not fully absorb what the guide was saying. Still I recommend this tour for everyone visiting the city. For more information on tickets and opening times, kindly visit their website.
Taking photos inside is prohibited. We bought this picture as souvenir for GBP 6.00.
That concluded our two days of exploring the city. Edinburgh has a lot to offer to its tourists. It’s dark, deep and rich history makes it more interesting to visit. I guess allotting 2 or 3 days is already enough to cover most of the places.