LIZ HARROD

Castles’ Last Stand

In Photo, Scotland, Travel 2011 on March 3, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Yesterday, I decided to do something I hadn’t really planned on doing, but something that I think needed to be done; something that I tend to avoid but is an activity millions of travelers do every year; something that even my friends at home had suggested I do. . .

I visited a castle.

Now I’ve already explained my particular affinity for art galleries. I also have a love for museums in general. They have a particular mesh of academic and obsessive qualities that appeals to my own neurotic tendencies, but castles have never really turned me on. I simply lump them into the tourist attraction category, right up there with The Scotch Whisky Experience on the Royal Mile and Viking Tours in Dublin. I’m sure they’re great – just not the experience I’m after.

That being said, this is my third time in Edinburgh and I skipped the castle the first two times. Seeing that this city is dominated by the image of the castle high above everything else, I started to second guess my prejudice against it. Friends of mine who have been here before have insisted that it is quite cool and worth a visit. So I looked past the expensive entry fee, bit the bullet, and visited yesterday morning.

Now this visit is not meant to be taken lightly at all. I’ve already skipped two castles on this trip: Kilkenny and Dublin, and if I do decide to expand my castle list, I’m in Europe so I certainly won’t have any problems. So really Edinburgh Castle was really playing a sort of ambassador for all castles I may encounter. This was the castles’ one chance to sway me to the side of regular visitor and join the ranks of art galleries and free museums on my list of places I like to frequent.

I started my day early and walked to the top of the Royal Mile with an open mind to give castles one last chance.

I must admit I was surprised. My love of history, need for random facts and overall appreciation for a well curated exhibit was most certainly satisfied. Edinburgh Castle even went the extra mile and really buttered me up with a Whisky tasting, cute little chapel, and beautiful war memorial (I love memorials and all religious buildings as well).

At the end of the day, though, it is still a castle, and it is still overpriced, and it still just not that interesting to me. I don’t really need to see the vaults, birthing rooms, kitchens, or cannons. So this is me officially letting the castles of Europe down gently. I’ll stop by to see that you’re still there. I may even take a couple pictures to remember you by, but that’s as far as our relationship can go. We just aren’t meant for each other.

A few pics to remember you by:


View from Edinburgh Castle over the western part of the city.


Queen Margaret’s Chapel at Edinburgh Castle


Manning one of the battle stations at Edinburgh Castle.

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