Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Edinburgh's Gothic Noir. A Magical Mystery Tour. Act Four.

                                                ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN.
After our exploits wandering around half blind on a night time Arthur's Seat two posts ago it was still only 5:00pm when we came down to ground level again. Last year during the festive period Anne and Belinda had experienced plenty of night time walking around Edinburgh's main shopping district so this time I had promised them something very different.
Over our two day trip we did take in the Christmas/ New Year lights along Princes Street and George Street of course. George Street dome seen here.
There was also a separate 80 metre high tower drop that thrill seeker Belinda had already been on during daylight hours (try stopping her :o) but I had something different planned for my 4th act... taking my cue, not from a famous LP/film but from a play instead.
I do get through to Edinburgh quite frequently these days ... enough to see the colours and performances changing on the Playhouse.
Tonight was my own version of a play.. with mystery, drama, and unexpected thrills as my audience had no idea where I was taking them... or where they would end up.
The bottom of the Royal Mile was a start. An area full of little alleyways, dead end wynds, steep narrow stairs and closes leading off the main street with centuries old buildings towering above. This particular one reminds me of Hansel and Gretel for some reason, probably because it has as a Low Countries or Germanic feel to it. It does have a slight gingerbread and marzipan appearance, especially at night.
A view of the general district we were exploring at night but this time captured during the day. Suitably Gothic for a wander. The Royal Mile, leading up to the castle, follows a rising ridge-line here and numerous narrow flights of stairs and tight lanes lead down between the buildings to lower street levels. One of the more exciting aspects of old Edinburgh.
Or Jack the Ripper land... take your pick as the lanes are not as well lit as the main highways. But better lighting would completely spoil the magic of this area as tourists flock here for this old time  experience.
Edinburgh at night is composed of two worlds. It can feel very busy and friendly with tourists still walking around... or it can be really quiet, strange and mysterious.. full of hidden nooks and dark crannies.
As usual it was the latter I was drawn to... you canny beat a quiet empty street for a bit of fun and games I always say :o)
Under Edinburgh Castle... just as impressive at night.
As Anne and Belinda had organized our overnight sleeping arrangements with a friend of theirs I had promised to treat them to a proper restaurant meal in return if they went up Arthur's Seat for the night time views.
'You won't be disappointed.' I told them. 'A real find this place is.'
'We're not going into The Witchery?' Anne disbelievingly inquired as we arrived at the door of this well known upmarket establishment. 'Fantastic!' Excitement lit up her face at the thought.
'Sadly not. Fully booked up.' I lied.  'Christmas and all that. Couldn't get a table. I've heard it's very nice inside though.'
'Yes, I'd heard that too.' Anne said wistfully.  'Gorgeous interiors. I've always wanted to go there for a meal.' She sighed.' Maybe someday '
'You,ll need to find a better Prince first Mum.' Belle was also gutted after realizing we were only stopping at it for a photo opportunity. 'Not this cut price sewn up pockets Fagin.'
'That was cruel!' She admonished.
'Don't worry.  My restaurant of choice serves excellent grub as well. Top notch quality fillings in the basement with a barber's shop above .' I reassured them. 'This place is far too posh for the likes of us anyway. We'd only feel out of our depth in there.'
'I don't think I would.' commented Anne, disappointed.
'Me neither, Scrooge McDuck.'  Belinda disappeared briefly after delivering a petulant slap on the head of this bad Santa, her hopeful curiosity prompting a cheeky wander around inside but came out again a short time later... repulsed.
'Sussed out so fast ?' I surmised. 'Must be the outfit your wearing. Shabby chic hill savage. Never mind. You can look at what you missed online when you get home. It's almost the same thing with a virtual tour nowadays so no need to splash the cash in hard reality. Ah, The wonders of technology,'


Two pairs of hostile eyes followed my retreating back as I continued up the hill to the castle. Act Four. False hope then disillusionment. A classic theme.
There was plenty to see for free though in this fine city and the baby bats roosting in my pockets slept on undisturbed. Edinburgh Castle above.
A view across the city. Johnston Terrace, Grassmarket  and George Heriot's School.
A closer view. Edinburgh being stuffed to the gunnels with business and political movers and shakers this is one of the most prestigious young person's detention centres in the entire UK. Future giants of industry, commerce or education may well reside here, training to take their rightful place at the apex of society.
Radisson blu. Edinburgh. A four star hotel on the Royal Mile. You can tell its posh when they leave out letters... or use another easily recognized language. Same in other countries abroad where you have shops like 'Le Cockney Tossers' or Jeune Ecole English Punk Rock. A tried and tested formula for any business. In France stick a few English words into any shop title or restaurant- simply reverse that in the UK... or leave out a letter instead of 'bleu' when folk get more savvy. That's my take on it anyway.
Edinburgh has a real atmosphere at night so I tried to capture it in these photos.
Painting atmosphere and mood with a camera. Or attempting to anyway. Why should it always be a human face looking down from the moon? Our brains are designed to fill in any gaps to see the world that way but any self respecting alien with the same innate portrait recognition traits might see a very different image. Just a thought.
St Giles Cathedral.
Back Stairs. The Mound.
You can't really go wrong in Edinburgh's Old Town... so many great views.Night or day.
Ghost Bus. West End.
West End again.
Old period housing.
I could have explored for ages but Anne and Belinda were running out of stamina... and patience.
'Where's this bloody restaurant then? We're starving.'
'Right. Follow me.'
I led them into a dark alleyway between tall ancient buildings off the Royal Mile then down a sloping ramp to a right angled bend at the bottom...we passed a gate of sorts...
Which led in turn to the start of a long, long tunnel...
No tourists around now................... just us.
'I don't like the look of this place.' Anne remarked.....'are you sure it's safe?'
'This is where the restaurant is situated.' I explained. ' ...at the other end. Trust me... I'm a tour guide.'

Somewhat reluctantly, they followed me down into the bowels of the earth... further and further down...and the tunnels got narrower.. and darker... and deeper. Soon running water started to appear...under our feet.
'No way.. let's turn back. Argh! This is disgusting! My good boots!'
'No chance of that. This is a genuine rite of passage.' I informed them. 'All the best people use it here to get around. This avoids the crowds, the riff raff, the working classes, and the traffic jams above. A fast track to the top. All cities have them installed. '

they were not too keen however..... but after a while we started to rise again from the mire...

And came out right beside the sea.

'How did that happen?' Belle asked.
'I have no idea.' I replied. 'But this is our destination. I'm very lucky when it comes to finding wormholes and time portals.'
Act Four closes.... exit ... The Rabbit Hole.

Belinda's personal choice of video this week and it is stunning. Fantastic artwork, great imagination and short story telling that really deserves a watch full screen from this interesting Icelandic band. A unique four minute vision.


Anabel Marsh said...

He he - I can see why Anne and Belinda are getting a little frustrated! I hope they got their dinner.

Carol said...

I'd wonder what went on in a hotel called Radisson 'Blue'!

Linda W. said...

Love all the nighttime photos!

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Anabel,
Yes they did. All revealed in the next post hopefully. I see rooms at the Witchery are £345 a night. Probably £50++ for a full meal experience so well out of my price range. Greggs Sausage rolls are my idea of fine dinning.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol,
I never thought of that angle at all. Not like me. I was probably too occupied trying to appear semi- intelligent and well travelled to any readers out there :o)
PS The large tunnel with the white lines is the one running under a section of Arthur's Seat/ Holyrood Park.

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Linda,
At this time of year with frequent grey days and 15 hours of freezing darkness to get through it's often the most colour filled alternative available.

Kay G. said...

You can tell it's post when they leave out letters...that makes me chuckle and also think of the chain of hotels that is owned by Marriott but they call them "W" hotels!
Lovely photos, as always!

Kay G. said...

You can tell it's POSH! I didn't mean to type POST! You know I know what POSH means!

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Kay,
I knew what you meant. What tickles me is that I've kept the American keyboard set up on my computer and it's amazing just how many words have a different American spelling to the UK system. The most obvious being the lack of U's in words like colour. I'm learning every day. Huge Marriott Hotel in Glasgow city centre.

Anonymous said...

You tell a good story - looking forward to the nail-biting climax :)

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Andy,
I thought the Alien face on the moon was quite inspired myself. Obviously I would never get my companions into that last water-filled tunnel at night(I explored that one myself in the summer in daylight) and we took a bus down to Leith from the West End at the end of our walk to the restaurant but I wanted to expand the general theme of the post linking the Siege Perilous of Arthurian legend (Arthur's Seat after all) with 'Time Portals' and mythical transportation.
The vacant seat of the round table idea has been used many times in popular fiction with Lewis Carroll and Alice's Rabbit Hole, Andre Norton's brilliant 'Witch World' series from the 1960s (a stone seat that transports anyone who sits on it into another dimension) then updated for a modern audience into the Outlander series (standing stones on that occasion) or J.K Rowling's H.P. platform 9 3/4. The post was a nod to all that and also the multiple worlds idea that is gaining ground in modern quantum physics theory to explain unexpected anomalies in the known universe. (I like to pack a lot into my posts sometimes to show I'm still awake :o)

blueskyscotland said...

P.S. I bet most people didn't get the underlying theme reading the post- hence this explanation. Over the years I've put loads of quirky extras into some of the photos and very few folk ever notice or comment on them either but at least I know they are there.
Even for a modern audience Andre Norton's Witch World series is the 1960s equivalent of Harry Potter for anyone interested in a good intelligent well written fantasy adventure over six books. Well worth a read, even today.