Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Edinburgh: Edinburgh Castle

I have made you read a lot lately. Here, have some pictures with restrained commentary.

This is Edinburgh Castle.

It's neat because you can see bits of rock poking out of it. It was built on what was left of the rock inside a volcano after the volcano itself was eroded by glaciers. Or something like that.

As I've mentioned before, we had spectacularly good weather on this trip. The low-lying part between the castle and the street contains the Princes Street Gardens, and, farther toward the water, the train station. You can also see the Walter Scott Monument, which really does look like a Gothic rocket ship, as Bill Bryson once said.

This is the one o'clock gun. It goes off every day at a quarter to four. Just kidding, it goes off at one.

This isn't a bullseye. It's a map of the sort used to help people set their clocks to the gun. As the caption said, "Sound travels a long way, but it travels quite slowly. So to set their clocks accurately, listeners at a distance had to take this delay into account." For some reason I think that's terribly interesting.

The varying levels on which the castle is built makes it very well-suited to be the setting of a steeplechase in someone's book. Whose book, do you think? One of Dorothy Dunnett's, of course. I WILL WORK HER INTO EVERY POST THIS WEEK.

For some reason I have a lot of trouble wrapping my head around this castle. I just cannot get a handle on it, and my pictures are therefore of random things that don't really give a very good idea of what it's like. It's immense and intricate and extremely solid-feeling (that part probably goes without saying). It also contains the most moving and impressive war memorial I've ever seen, the crown jewels, and the National War Museum, among other things I've forgotten. Unfortunately...

...they don't let you climb on the gun.


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