Our first full day in Edinburgh was awesome! The hostel that we were staying at gives free walking tours everyday at eleven, so we decided to go on it. After traveling a while, you realize you should do all of the things that are free because a) they are fun and b) they’re FREE! This tour was not a normal tour, at least for us anyways. This tour was very laid back. We weren’t struggling to keep up with the tour guide and we had all the time in the world to do things (kinda). On this tour we went to the same cemetery that my friends and I had gone to the night before when we went on that grave tour. We learned some of the same stuff, but we also learned a little bit about J.K. Rowling.

J.K. Rowling is known for having sat at a cafe near the cemetery while writing her first Harry Potter book. From some gravestones in the cemetery, she got the names McGonagall and Tom Riddle (he who must not be named!). Also, there’s a school named Harriet’s next to the cemetery where she got the idea of Hogwart’s from. It even looks castle like!

There were also so many pubs in Edinburgh, all named after people that had done something in the town. I don’t remember the name of one, but I do remember the story behind it. Apparently, this woman’s husband died and she started having a thing for another guy in the town. After she got pregnant, she was hung for adultery. On the way to the cemetery, the people traveling with the casket heard a knocking come from inside. The woman didn’t die! Because you could not be tried for the same thing she was allowed to walk. She got her own pub and gave the other prisoners who were to be hung their last whiskey (it’s a big deal in Edinburgh).

We went to the castle after the tour. This castle was HUGE! I’ve been to many castles—you, know studying in Germany and all—but this one was different. It was like one of the castles that we had learned about in social studies (yeah, like sixth grade). The castle was actually a building in the middle of this massive structure. The rest of it was like a church and land. When the castle was built, they were self sufficient because of the land they had. They grew their own crops and had farm animals, so starving them out would have been a no-go. It was basically a tiny community inside of the castle.

At the castle I got to see the crown jewels! Sadly, I could not take any pictures of them. I also got to see the sandstone. This may not sound exciting, but apparently this is the sandstone that the English kings and queens get coronated on. In the past the stone was taken from Scotland by the English. As an affront to the Scottish, the stone was put in the coronation chair in England so that the kings would be sitting on it. Queen Elizabeth II gave it back to Scotland, but if there’s a coronation the stone needs to travel back to England for the coronation.