Edinburgh is amongst the beautiful cities that I have seen so far. Prague for its own reasons remains my favourite. You might have booked your flights to Edinburgh, but you will land at Edinbraah! That’s how Scotts call the city!
Edinburgh is like an enchanting fairy-tale land weaving its own legacy of sumptuous fantasy. Originally the home to 3 volcanoes, today Edinburgh decorates and celebrates stories of horror, imagination, fiction and ofcourse irony.
Stories are an integral part of Edinburgh that provides a tangent of interest and curiosity to this beautiful place. These stories build an archetype of love for the city amidst the old stone buildings that surround the old town. Horror definitely forms the major ingredient of all such anecdotes, but irony plays its own pivotal role.
Few such ironical stories of Edinburgh that I witnessed and loved myself are right here.
- The Golden Tip-toed:
David Hume was a famous philosopher who favoured rationality all his life and condemned superstition and unnecessary societal norms. Landed up getting his own famous 9 feet sculpture on the Royal Mile where people touch a golden part of his feet for good luck and attaining a share of his wisdom. Irony! The philosopher who supported logic and reasoning became a victim of his own hated myths.
- The dead living, harmless whitewalker:
Maggie Dickson was sentenced to death and legally hanged for her treason to have illegitimate relationship with her innkeeper’s son, hiding her pregnancy and then letting the body of her pre matured born (died) baby into the waters. When she was taken to the mortuary, she knocked at her coffin, proving she is still alive. The driver brought her back to be hanged again, when the law announced that she could only be hanged once for her crime. Ironically, this dead lady lived 40 years more thereafter, not being entitled to pay any taxes. There is also a famous restaurant by her name on the Grass Street where she was hanged.
- Rowling writes, not for her book:
Artisan Roast restaurant in the main city used to be one of the many restaurants where J. K. Rowling never wrote any of her books. The restaurant proudly used it as a marketing gimmick and wrote on their entrance: “J. K. Rowling never wrote here”. Rowling came to this very cafe and added on the display sign, “and I never will.” Perhaps, with these 4 words she actually wrote there!! Irony magnified!
- Better be bad, if not any good:
William McGonagall tried his luck with theater, drama and poetry but failed miserably at every stance. He wrote to many kings and emperors of his time to be their royal poet but his work could never amaze them. One day his friends cracked a joke and told him that he is being invited by the royalty of New York. Proud soul headed to the kingdom without even considering his constant failed attempts in impressing any other royalty. Obviously he was thrown out and later his friends published his work and his poems to subside their guilt. Well, there are still stories inscribed on his life, which definitely means one does not need to be an expert in their field to become famous. Irony lies when even a defamed persona could stand amongst the recognized known.
- The ‘spit’ and not the ‘split’ heart:
On the royal mile there is a heart shaped brick mosaic structure where tourists would get their pictures clicked holding hands in hands or kissing or hugging. On the other hand, locals would never step on it instead would spit on it. The reason was, it was actually the location of an old tollbooth in 14th century where people were forced to pay the taxes. The spot was used to vent out the anger where people would spit to express disapproval of the practise. Later it turned into the worst of prisons where prisoners were kept in dark and dingy conditions and released prisoners would spit on the spot celebrating their liberty from four merciless walls. It was also used as a spot for public execution where again the locals would spit in order to doom the convict. It is such an irony where the whole world celebrates love and affection with a heart shape symbol, the Scottish locals use it for disparage and resentment.
Edinburgh has more such tales that would engage and involve the tourists in its periphery of splendid architecture and magnificent narratives. The old town specifically with all its castles, monuments, cathedrals and churches definitely sways the heart to long for more.