We happened to visit Edinburgh during their annual Fringe Festival. During the festival we faced three times the normal rent and twice the crowd size. Even so we are glad we spent a couple of days there.
Our festival started with an improv show where Patrick and Alex provided key ingredients for the stew of ideas that the actors used to spontaneously create a 45 minute show. The Sherry kids awesome ideas: worst lunch ever – slime and toenail sandwich; and worst present ever – underwear. (editors note: this may have been a suggestion about what not to give for Christmas next year) We also attended a 3 man stage show mash-up of Greek myths and legends called Unmythable. The actors were very entertaining and energetic – and we painlessly learned more about some of the popular Greek myths and legends.
Our festival finished with a Torture and Ghost walking tour of the Auld Reekie vaults. Auld Reekie refers to Edinburgh a couple hundred years ago when the city was pungent due to the simplistic sewage approach of tossing the daily bucket of household waste out the window into the street in hopes that a rain storm would wash it into the river. If one’s road happened to slope away from the river … well, lets just say property values declined in those neighborhoods.
In 1788 the city built underground vaults for merchants to store merchandise close to the retail shops. Unfortunately the city fathers didn’t anticipate that the walls would weep water non-stop and spoil all the merchandise. So after a few months of trying to make it work, they abandoned the large underground vaults. When conditions became really bad in Scotland in the 1790’s, huge numbers of Scotsmen left the countryside and came to Edinburgh. The truly desperate moved underground into the abandoned vaults.
Our tour guide painted a picture of the horrific conditions these poor people endured while guiding us through the very vaults where it all happened. The story tells that the fear, terror, pain, and hopelessness created with such intensity in the vaults transferred the evil energy into the stone walls of the vaults.
Today an active witches coven meets in the vaults in an effort to suppress the evil energy of the place. In one of the vaults the guide told a convincing story of recent sightings of a little girl in a filthy gown and wet black hair that appeared in unexpected and spooky ways. The witches created a circle of stones to contain the malignant energy in this especially scary vault, and our guide threw out the challenge for any of us to step into the circle and see if the little girl appeared.
Alex jumped in and I snapped a quick picture. When I looked at the picture later there was a strange dark shadow around Alex’s feet! When I used the heat map filter on the picture it looked really strange.
Alex said she didn’t feel any malignant presence, but none of us can explain the pictures!!!
After Edinburgh we made our way to Inverness to spend a couple of nights in the Scottish highlands. Inverness is a lovely small city with a beautiful trout river running through and several Victorian age suspension foot bridges spanning the river.
Since we had a car we decided to drive around Lock Ness. This was my first encounter with driving on the left side, on very narrow roads, with blind corners, and shifting with my left hand. Suzanne and kids told me the scenery was great; however, I was avoiding collisions and didn’t see much of the countryside.
We stopped for lunch and found an opportunity to take a short walk along the Caledonian Canal which connects several of the locks across the Scottish Highlands.
We also spent some time looking for the famous monster from the South bank of Lock Ness. Although we had no sighting ourselves, this timed picture of the family has some shapes on the lake that are strange – and unexplained!