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Travel tales from Scotland – Unearthing Mysteries

Caught in a time warp
 
Edinburgh, Stunning yet spooky
 
Edinburgh, A wider angle
 
Visiting Scotland over the weekend was rather an impulsive plan. Since my husband had to attend office on Monday, it was decided that we would explore Scotland’s major tourist destinations only, thanks to the time constrain. Edinburgh, then, emerged as an obvious option!
The English country side
Though, there are various means to reach Scotland’s capital city, we were keener on a road trip as that would have been a perfect way to feast our eyes on the elaborated terrain. We boarded a National Express bus, Britain’s official inter-city service, from Victoria Coach Station en-route to Edinburgh.
The 9-hour-long journey was truly a visual treat. London’s crowded roads and bustling bazaars were gradually left behind. And what came forth was pure serenity. Endlessly stretched green fields, grazing flocks of sheep, hills laden with wild flowers and deep blue sea, the landscape would simply take your breath away!

The splendid coastline

 

Usually, Scotland remains cold and wet throughout the year and we went all prepared. However, a clear sunny day in Edinburgh surprised us pleasantly. There was a slight nip in the air still it felt far from being chilly. But our joy was short-lived. The drizzling began in late afternoon and continued till the next 36 hours.

Edinburgh is home to numerous heritage sites
Appearance wise London and Edinburgh are similar
 
With Victorian style manors and cathedrals, the city wears a very Gothic look. Even the quintessential brick pavements, vintage lamp shades on the road corners and kilt clad bagpipers make it a severe medieval set-up. 
 
A bagpiper at Princes Street
The city has preserved its medieval charm. Check out the pavement!
Walking uphill to Edinburgh castle or wandering in lanes would certainly give you a feel of the era gone by.
Being a history enthusiast, I was floored!
 
A bustling street
The Scottish National Gallery
The Princes Street Garden

Be it the splendid ‘Edinburra Castle’ (as it is pronounced locally) or shockingly old National art galleries and museums, I couldn’t have asked for more. 



However, what catches your fancy the most is numerous ‘ghost and witchery tours’ and spooky sites marketed to the tourists. Scotland does hold the title of being the most haunted country in the world with numerous well-known eerie places.

I was amazed how the locals boasted about it being ‘the city of the dead’ and encouraged us to experience the paranormal.
 
The Princes Street Market
The most happening commercial place, Princes Street, bustles with tourists enthusiastic enough to encounter the ‘dead’ and seek guides to lead them through the dark haunted sites.
You will find an array of ghost and witchery tours to opt from
There are many eerie looking chambers on Royal Mile against the wall of St Giles Cathedral that are actually ghost tour agencies. I was amused to find so many of them promising a chilling paranormal experience through visiting the infamous Greyfriars Graveyard and underground vaults for 10-12 pounds.
 
However, there is no dearth of spooky places, notorious for frequent ghost sightings, in Edinburgh. Underground vaults are creepy 17th century tunnels beneath the city where the most obnoxious murderers, criminals and psychopaths operated for 300 years. 
 
A ghost tour agent
There was also a time when the city’s extremely poor population lived in these suffocating dark holes on being unable to afford a house. It holds a terrifying history of gruesome killings and dreaded crimes. No wonder, the underground vaults are known for paranormal activities.
A large group of enthusiasts at the Royal Mile. The tour begins through the dilapidated door (seen here)
 
Greyfriars Graveyard and Convenanters Prison are also extremely infamous ghost sites in this part of the world. We were told about the legend involving noted advocate Sir George Mackenzie who was buried here in 1691.
It is said that his restless spirit cause bruising, bites and cuts on those who come in contact with it. 
 
A graffiti with pictures of those ‘hurt’ by the restless spirits at Greyfriars Cemetery.
The walls of Edinburgh’s St Giles Cathedral display a collage of pictures of tourists’ who got injuries they had no recollection of sustaining during the tour to Greyfriars cemetery. 
Weirdly shaped pens and other stuff at a store. Scotland sure has a flair for everything spooky
We recommend you not to take children and young teens along and ofcourse stay away if you have a medical condition. Most of the tours begin later in the day and continue till midnight. Since, weather is cold and it pours all the time, carry a raincoat.
Another tour agency promising paranormal thrill
‘Extreme ghost tour’ too attracts a lot of tourists

Apart from Greyfriars, there are several other graveyards in Edinburgh, very popular among visitors. One such cemetery is the Old Calton Cemetery. 

Famous people buried in the Old Calton Cemetery.

 

The burial grounds are visited by tourists throughout the day as some famous local celebrities are interred here. There are a few astoundingly old graves dating from 16th century or may be older. 

 

A stunning memorial of former US president Abraham Lincoln catches the eye. It signifies the sacrifice of Scottish soldiers in the American civil war

Edinburgh’s serenity and old world charm lurks. Scotland anyway is impregnated with a thousand of unsolved mysteries with every castle and each corner holding one!

Done with our stints with the ‘ghosts’, we moved towards the Edinburgh Castle, standing majestically over the hill. ..
 

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