Thursday! With the wedding on Saturday, tonight was really the only relatively sane night to have any sort of bachelor party, but the Icelandic and Scottish contingents were having a bit of difficulty synchronising. It all came together though, so with clear plans for a picnic on the hill for all, followed by splitting into a girls night and a boys night, we could get on with our day. Cultural team, consisting of myself, Eva, Tóta and Steph, headed for Edinburgh Castle, the last major attraction yet to be seen. It was yet another nice sunny day. I was wearing a dark t-shirt and pants, and was dripping with sweat. I guess I've been in Iceland too long?
We were unfortunately still in line to get in when the 1pm gun went off. Like many places around the world, Edinburgh has a still active time gun, and a time ball. (The time ball is on top of a tower at Calton Hill, and was originally connected via a long piece of wire, strung directly overhead across the entire city) There was a small museum dedicated to the gun inside the castle, which had a map of all the known time guns/time balls worldwide, along with those still active. Apparently Fremantle, Australia, still has both active!
The castle was quite nice, I liked how it was built in and around the native rock of the hill, with bits of raw rock sticking through battlements here and there. It's also old, with the oldest building dating back to 1250 or so.
The prisons of war was a section talked up a bit in the descriptions and flyers, but they really seemed quite spacious. They had a board up showing the official rations per day for the prisoners, and that too, really seemed quite lavish. 3/4 of a pound of meat per person, every day except fridays, when they got fish or something. They had peas, and potatos and cheese and things. It really didn't seem very harsh. These were prisoners of war though, not civilian criminals. Somewhere else I think I read that local criminals were simply beaten/tortured in some correlation to the crime (or outright hung) and then let go. No prisons for any sort of long term storage like we do today.
Some lovely architecture, in the great hall, with it's excellent vaulted wooden beams, and the war memorial, but none of it very easy to take photos of. A good time though, and excellent views over town.
We came down with the weather turning rather grey and ominous, and the pub we stopped for lunch at, The Beehive on Grassmarket, even suggested we sit out on the back deck, rather than the front, as the back deck had umbrellas for the rain that was, "just about to come down"
It never did though, so we recharged on a (very) late lunch and rested our feet a while. We got the gang back together, and went on a grocery shopping expedition, to find roast chicken, rolls, bubbly and juice, and all things nice for a large group picnic on the hill. The grey weather slowly turned back into clear skies and golden evenings as we sat and chatted. Great food and great company. Viðar arrived, straight off the plane from Norway, and the Scots started to turn up after their dreary dull work lives.
The rest of the night was a bunch of fun, touring Edinburgh with a dozen men and having many refreshing beverages. I also managed to go down Jacob's Ladder, so I've now done that in two cities :)
Eventually, we rejoined the ladies at the jazz bar, for some more excellent music.