Thursday, September 13, 2012

Casual Day + Stirling Castle

We moseyed around Edinburgh on Tuesday. Checked out some stores, went to Grassmarket and sat at a meh pub in the afternoon. We've done a lot of walking around here, we haven't taken transit once (aside from getting to Stirling). My feet are always killing by the time we get 'home'.

Grassmarket is a lot like Kensington. Cute artsy stores, vintage shops, food boutiques and a few restaurants. I bought myself a sweet fur hat from one of the vintage stores. It was 12 pounds, no regrets. We had lupper at some rando pub, nothing special. I kept staring at these two men who were getting drunk off beersss at 3 in the afternoon on a Tuesday. I imagined their lives at home, their wives.

At night we've been watching Mad Men, we've caught up. And.. holy disturbing!! ugh. You know what I'm talking about if you've seen it up to the end. Frig.

It's tiring walking around all day and eating a big dinner (first world vacation problems). Sometimes at night you just wanna blob out on the couch and do nothing.

Wednesday we went to Stirling, the home of William Wallace and Stirling Castle. Is it the home of him or is there just a monument up for him there because that's where the battle happened? I don't know because those Dutch assholes were talking over the tour guide. Sorry, they were Denmarkian black metal goths. Whatever.

We took the train out to Stirling, it took about an hour. It was a nice ride, taking the train is relaxing and when you go off peak hours it is very peaceful. Stirling is a cute town, narrow streets and everything leads up to this glorious castle that overlooks the land. It's quite the site, and well planned out for a castle. It would hold up well against attacks, being so high up there. (That's what the tour guide said anyway. One of the things I heard).

Town of Stirling.. get ready to walk uphill.

Do you know what Scotland's national animal is? A freakin Unicorn. What's yours? A pigeon?

Bar & Bothy.

 Tell 'em Lidge Midge sent ya.

On the way up to the castle we came across a nice cemetery - War's Mark. Yes, we like visiting graveyards in foreign lands. Not that I have some weird fascination with death, I just find them nice to walk around and take photos. It's so quiet (obv), the headstones are so neat and old, and there are stories behind each and every one of them. And I won't know any of them. Some had skulls and crossbones on them, so cool and so Goonies. Lots of old, old graves too, some that were half sunk in the ground, some you couldn't even make out the words on them. Very very cool. At one point I realized that as I was walking around this cemetery, that there were people buried underneath my feet. I never really thought about it, but about 6 feet below me, are human remains. I don't know what would remain exactly, if anything at all...But there would have to be some coffins or bones somewhere. These headstones represent these people who lived for such a short time on earth (relatively).. they died and were buried right below me. There was a funeral probably, and family left behind to grieve about them. You can't ignore the fact that each person buried here had a life, had feelings, had family-or not, who knows. It's sad, really, and life can be so cruel. Time sucks. Everyone's the same, see?
Entrance to cemetery? It was locked so we had to go in at the side by the church - not shown.

100% fall time over here, I am very much looking forward to September Toronto weather. I prefer the warmth but I appreciate and love the fall. I don't mind cozy fall feelings.. actually I love them - suburban triad - but I do mind the wind.

ANYWAY, stop crying about it. Go visit a cemetery one day, and not because you know someone buried there. The older the cemetery, the better. Just walk around, look at the names, the dates, the messages people have left for them on the stones. Appreciate the art of it all, the grass growing over the plaques, the time that's gone by. Notice the shadows the headstones cast, which people are buried under trees and those that are waiting for their loved ones to join them. Make up stories about who these people were and what happened to them. It's a good brain exercise, makes you feel so mortal and reminds you that you're alive. I remember when I was younger, walking through a really old cemetery in Brampton with my mom. It's a small cemetery, the headstones are all old and weathered. No one cares about that cemetery anymore because it's so old and no one new is buried there. Bring your kids to an old cemetery sometime, just for a look around.

Love it all.

Awesome. I love the super old ones that have large writing.


This person was up on a little hill.. I wonder if they were buried standing up. Look at those guys in the corner, I kept accidentally photobombing all their photos.

Might have to frame this one.

And this. Just wrap me up naked in cloth and bury me under a tree.

Come to think of it, I don't visit people at their graves. I don't see the point, which may sound weird after what I've just written. But they aren't there, their bodies were left there, with a memorial above them. Personally, I don't want to remember their deaths or their funerals, and that's what those graves make me think of. I want to remember their lives. So I don't go back to that place that made me sad. And one day, in a hundred or more years, some random person visiting from another country will be walking around looking at the graves, thinking about the bodies that are buried beneath their feet.. wondering about those people's lives and taking photos with their eye microchips. The circle of life. MAAAAAAA ZE VENYAAAA. But they won't be walking above mine because the only marker will be a tree. Or my hand coming out of the ground grabbing their feet for walking on my grave!

Stirling Castle is nice, it's not as big as Edinburgh Castle and not as busy. The view is absolutely stunning, a perfect spot for a castle. I was thinking I'd be coming to a castle that looks like a castle in the movies, but I always feel a bit disappointed when I actually get there. Things are all reconstructed and made into a show, it's all clean and there are fake candles and furniture. That's not what I want to see. I want to see an old-ass castle, with wrecked and ruined tapestries and walls with scars. I wish things could just be preserved the way they were and not made into a fresh clean spectacle for us modern folk. That's why I don't have many photos of the interior of this castle. It was like visiting the backstage of a medieval play. They should make it an authentic experience. Have period people walking the courtyard, vendors selling what they would have sold back then (but they'd all have to be ignoring you because it's like you're the ghost from christmas past). Horses passing through and the odd thief being caught for stealing. Maybe if you come at the right time you can catch someone being punished for treason! (Just kidding, they did awful, barbaric things to people back then.)

That peachy building is the rebuilt palace, how they think it looked back in the day. You know, we see these old ruin castles, are grey and dark.. but at one time they were painted all nice like that one. With gold accents and the statues were coloured as well. I never really knew that, I always thought they looked like they do now.

Inner 'close'.

Inside of new palace. Meh.

See? all fresh and new.. zzz. But hey there's a unicorn!

Fake fire. I have to give it to them though, the castle people are sweet and accomodate people with mobility issues. There are lifts and cars that will bring you up to certain areas. Remember that old lady who got out of the car at Edinburgh Castle for the wedding and everyone thought she was the Queen of Scotland but really she was just someone's nana? Like that. Free lift.

This guy was in a cell and scared us. He's harmless, though. 

View from castle. High! Cloud shadows!

That's not a crop circle, although there WAS a crop circle in one of the fields in England. I saw it when we were landing when we first came to Europe. Seriously. I swear.

If they are going to make it into a fake museum type show, why not go all the way with it. Make me feel like I'm walking back in time but no one notices me. Have the peasants and servants going about their business like it's the year 1300 something and no one bathes. Seriously, that would be awesome. I want to walk into the palace and see real fires burning, a table full of delicious smelling foods they would have eaten, including a full greasy pig. Make me feel something. It's hard to feel something when you visit a place like this, with all the reconstruction and staging they do. But, it's worth a visit nonetheless.

We had lunch at a bar place in town. It was average. I learned what mashed tatties and neeps are. Not mashed titties and nips.

Apres Stirling we did some browsing on Rose Street back in Edinburgh. Cute fashion-y shops and bars. Nothing spectacular happened after that.

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