as i mentioned before, my trip to edinburgh was a total whim. the fringe festival was on and it was easy for me to get to, so as jaded traveler as this sounds, i thought it was going to be purely a time filler between london and switzerland.

edinburgh did end up turning into an unexpected highlight of my entire trip.  even more unexpectedly was that my free walking tour at my hostel was primarily responsible for turning my perception of edinburgh on it's head.

free? i'm so in.

another piece in my series - "me holding a ticket stub."

i left the tour not only with a list of about 15 things i didn't know there was to do in edinburgh beforehand (mostly harry potter and cloned sheep related - stay tuned...), but also with some interesting facts about the history of scotland.

dolly, the first clone. also, very unrelated to this post.

one thing i learned was despite wearing skirts, the people of scotland are a rough bunch and took punishment for crime very seriously.  in the old days if someone was caught stealing, it wasn't uncommon for the perpetrator to have his ear nailed to a post in the middle of the town square.  if this wasn't humiliating/painful enough, the people of the town were then encouraged to come by and kick the criminal. as in you steal an apple, your ear gets nailed to a dirty wooden pole, and then random strangers come up and kick you in the shins. what could be worse?  well, if kicking wasn't your thing, the acceptable options for abuse were not limited - people could also "gardiloo" on the criminal.

"gardiloo" was the scottish attempt at saying "watch for the water" in french ("regard de l'eau"). a fancy term for a less than fancy act - as there were no toilets in edinburgh at the time, houses would typically use a communal bucket.  luckily, the main street in town was built on a slope running down to a lake, so at 10 am and 10 pm every day, the town had a regularly scheduled dump (literally), and as the contents of the house bucket were tossed out the window families yelled "gardiloo!"

criminal punishment in old ediburgh sounds to me like the beginning of a game of "would you rather."

No comments:

Post a Comment