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Strange Stories from Edinburgh

May 9, 2023

From small country towns to the capital city of Scotland - Edinburgh! What a difference a day makes. We tendered in from the ship to the dock, where we were warmly welcomed.

It seems that the ship had to stay anchored in the harbor because the area around the dock was shallow and strongly affected by the tide. As an example, the boats in the picture below were all floating in the water when the tender first dropped us off, but by the time we were ready to return to the ship three hours later they were sitting on the sand!

The city of Edinburgh sits on seven hills formed by extinct volcanoes, and has castles, palaces, and churches (as you can see in the picture), but what they seem most proud of is, their schools (Over 140 of them). On the tour they pointed out primary schools, secondary/academies, colleges, medical schools, private schools, and more. 25% of parents send their children to private schools.

Some more interesting facts -

  • The city of Edinburgh has two parts. The old city and the new city. The new city was founded in 1850 so the more well-to-do families could move out of the crowded and smelly (no internal plumbing) older area of town.

  • Edinburgh has 210 churches, 359 pubs, and 550,000 people.

  • It is the third richest city in Europe.

  • Dolly the Sheep was cloned, and lived, here. And now she is in a display case in a museum.

  • Many old homes have boarded up windows, or very few windows, because the Scottish government imposed a window tax at some time.

And now to the strange stories:

  • Sir James Simpson was a doctor in the mid 1800s who wanted to ease the pain of patients during surgery. So he held dinner parties where he would try different possible anesthetics out on his party guests. These became known as chloroform parties because that is the one that was discovered to be useful in surgery. Two weeks after the party, chloroform began being used on patients in the hospital.

  • Maggie Dickson lived near Edinburgh in the mid 1700's. After being arrested and tried in Edinburgh (possibly for having a baby out of wedlock) she was sentenced to be hanged. She was hanged in a public execution and placed in a coffin to be transported for burial. On the trip to the cemetary noises were heard coming from the coffin, and Maggie was discovered to be alive and well. The court believed that since she had already been hung, they couldn't try again. So she went on to live for another 40 years. And the court then changed the language of sentencing to add "to death" to be sure it didn't happen again.

Other well known people (or pets) with connections to Edinburgh were

  • Greyfriars Bobby - the famous story of the dog who wouldn't leave his master's grave site.

  • Joseph Lister (Listerine)

  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes author)

  • Richard Branson (Virgin Airlines)

  • Robert Lewis Stephenson (Treasure Island author)

  • J.K. Rowlings (Harry Potter author)

Our final picture is the top of the royal mile on the way to Edinburgh Castle accompanied by a bagpiper a la Scotland. Tomorrow we'll be looking for Nessie....

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Amazing facts regarding Edinburgh and those tides! As always, loved the pix and everything is Soooo Green--very different from So Cal. Looks like you continue to have fun and adventures.

Can't wait to see what's next.

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