Edinburgh… sans toilets

Welp, Carolyn warned me that not many people would “get it.” And I think she was right. In our last post we put up a whole bunch of pictures of signs that said “toilet.” I thought today’s technology-savvy people would automatically know that nowadays you can’t trust every picture you see. But I guess I’m too good of a Photoshopper- ha ha! The truth is that when both Carolyn and I spotted the first few “To Let” signs, we had the same immediate reaction in that we both thought they spelled “toilet,” until we paused a second and read them a little closer. There were so many of those signs everywhere, I came up with the idea of inserting the “i” and having a bit of fun with it.

As you can see, there’s no such thing as an 8,000 sq. ft. toilet (albeit possibly subdivided). The one on the left is the original, the one on the right had the crap Photoshopped out of it, or into it as it were. Still, Edinburgh sure seemed to have a lot of storefronts available for lease, it was hard to let some of the to let signs go by without having to let in another to let shot.

That said, other than quasi-toilet pictures, we promise all our other photographs are 100% genuine, just like the one below. We spotted Barack across the plaza, and while he was initially a little annoyed to be bothered for a photo, I told him it was for a good cause (I can’t remember what, I just muttered something liberal). After spending a little time with us, he got a little clingy, as celebrities seem to do with us for some reason. This shot captured Carolyn trying to whisper, “How do we get rid of him?”

Other than asking them to name the only black President in American history, there were two main questions we were dying to ask the Scottish upon our arrival. This first was, “What do they really wear under their kilts?” We received a reply from an old gentleman who gently pointed toward a rack of refrigerator magnets for sale to help us find our answer. Indeed, it is a little known fact that if you really want to understand anything, look for the appropriate refrigerator magnet. Just another little factoid they don’t bother teaching you in school! Or maybe they did teach us, but it went in one rear and right out the other.

The second question was what the proper pronunciation of Edinburgh was. The response sounded pretty much like “Ed in burro.” Coincidentally, that happens to be one of several reasons Ed’s wife doesn’t let him go to Tijuana anymore.

Thus armed with a complete lack of desire to flip up any man-wearing kilts (any females in kilts might just have gotten the better of my curiosity) as well as the deep, comprehensive, and utterly important knowledge as to how to pronounce Edinburgh, we confidently traversed the city like two non-Scots in a Scottish city, with this gorgeous architecture constantly looming over us like a bunch of gorgeous looming architecture.

Speaking of looming, this is the Nelson Monument, obviously named after Callum Stewart Campbell of Madeupname.com fame. Believe it or not this is actually a telescope. It’s an upturned telescope (as opposed to the ones that point straight down), and was built between 1807 and 1815. Unfortunately, it’s now closed until further notice for unknown reasons, although I reckon it’s possible it’s because they finally figured out “Nelson” isn’t anywhere in Callum Stewart Campbell’s name, and they have no idea who Nelson was.

WIth its hilly landscape, awesome views can be had for everyone except the blind. Oh stop, that’s not offensive, the blind can’t even read this!

Charming side streets led every which way, reminding us of much of the charm of Lisbon, except they always drive on the left in Scotland, and they only do that half the time in Portugal.

Even a Radisson Hotel looks like something from the 15th century, although as we all know that would be impossible because they hadn’t invented credit cards or room service yet.

There’s so much old stuff around Edinburgh that they even build buildings around tombs. This was in the basement of a restaurant, just outside the toilets, which is handy because the tomb can be blamed for bad smells if they forget to clean the Water Closet for a while. Ooh, look at me talking all European and everything, saying “water closet.” I feel so sopissticated!

As long as we’re on the subject of tombs, we explored a couple of cemeteries and found one of my ancestors. Anderson is such an unusual last name it surely has to be one of my forebears! Or fivewolves!

We often take pictures of hobbit-sized doors, but it’s not often we see hobbit-sized hallways! This was in our hotel; we can only say thank God they made the door open inward. If they hadn’t, whatever crew was in there might find more appropriate accommodations in one of the tombs above. Of course, that actually may be intentional, as an ingenious way to keep your staff in shape. “Just go right through the Skinny Hallway to get your paycheck!”

Nothing screams Scottish more than kilts and bagpipes (other than Scottish McPherson’s mother I suppose, who was always getting after him for peeking up men’s kilts). The twosome on the left combined guitar and the bagpipes for a rather distinctive sound. The guy on the right is playing for cash and photos. A bunch of blowhards, I tell ya.

We were visiting shortly after Queen Elizabeth died. People laid all sorts of flowers in a small park near the the Palace of Holyroodhouse, pictured on the right. One of the most famous streets in Edinburgh is the Royal Mile, with the Edinburgh Castle on one end and the Palace of Holyroodhouse on the other. I assume the palace was named by a Japanese tourist who took a wrong turn on his way to Los Angeles.

The Royal Mile is chockablock with stores selling kilts, tartan clothing & scarves, whiskey, shortbread cookies, bare-butted refrigerator magnets, and as you can see, angels. This restaurant apparently specializes in angels with bagpipes (not sure who eats what), which is surely meant to be a humorous contradiction in terms because everyone knows Jesus hated bagpipes: “And lo! And behold! Verily I say unto you and to all thoust family, refrain thusly from all bagpipiness, as it is certainly an affront to the ears of God, man, and even the lowliest of beasts!” I can’t remember exactly which verse that came from, but I’m pretty sure it’s right after he turned the water into wine and then right after that turned the bagpipes into electric guitars. I understand quite the party resulted, although of course the best parts were edited out.

I also got a kick out of these two businesses. American Candy & Soda was wall-to-wall with every type of American candy you’ve ever heard of, and some you probably haven’t. Some of it appeared to be leftovers from flavors that didn’t quite catch on, like blueberry-flavored Snickers. We also saw some M&M’s that were obviously a bad batch because they were spelled with “W&W.” Still others were candies and candy bars I hadn’t seen since childhood, when my older brother stole them from my Halloween stash. But at least the restaurant on the right was able to tell us where to go for “proper” fish & chips. I was starting to get tired of the improper ones. BTW, I hated getting fish & chips in my Halloween bag. My brother never stole those.

Some more of the beautiful architecture around the city. I mean, if you can’t get charmed by all this charm, you need to go back to charm school!

Speaking of charming, one of the tourist attractions on the Royal Mile included playing with these owls. Owls are one of the most remarkable creatures on the planet, truly.

Back in 2019, Carolyn got to hold an owl in Mafra, Portugal. Here she’s receiving instructions from the trainer as to exactly what she should do if the owl happens to bite her nose off.

After a long day of sightseeing and looking up kilts, it was time to eat. Carolyn’s eating improper fish & chips, and that’s my meat pie in the foreground, washed down with a bit of beer foam.

Edinburgh quickly worked its way up the ranks of our favorite cities. With its beautiful buildings, long history, and of course the absolutely delightful Scottish accents, it’s a place anyone can love. However, we did do an underground tour (no photos allowed), and I gotta tell ya, as great as the city is today, living in it back in the old days was not for the faint of heart. Between buckets of sewage being thrown about and single-room housing inhabited by entire families… of both rats and people, it was a big stinking (literally) mess. In fact, Edinburgh used to be known as the “Auld Reekie” and was even named the “smelliest city in the world” as late as 2003 by a travel website.

Which is why we bought a couple of crow’s beak masks as soon as we landed. That mask was actually invented for use by doctors during the plague, thinking that crows would scare off the demons causing all of it. The guy who wore it longer than anyone lived in Edinburgh, but is now thought to have survived the whole thing simply because he had been immune. But after the plague was over and he demanded the agreed-upon payment from the city for his services, he was strung along for years until he finally died of other causes. Apparently the city hadn’t ever allocated the money to pay him, thinking he’d never survive the job. I hope he haunted the hell out of them.

Maybe not the World’s End yet (depending on what our modern day Russian Hitler does), but it is the end of this blog entry!

Edinburgh is lovely… except for all the toilets

It was a lifelong dream fulfilled for Carolyn, who wanted to see Scotland ever since she was smitten by Scotty’s accent in Star Trek when she was three years old. But since we couldn’t beam ourselves there, we channeled Planes, Trains, and Automobiles instead. We flew a plane into Edinburgh, took a train to Glasgow, and then rented a car and drove all around the rest of Scotland. Fortunately, we avoided most of the mishaps experienced by the characters played by Steve Martin and John Candy, although at one point in the far north we did feel a bit like these guys. “What do you figure the temperature is?”


Ok, I guess our movie would have to be Planes, Busses, Trains, and Automobiles,” because we took a bus from the airport to downtown Edinburgh. This is the very first thing we saw as we stepped off the bus and scrambled for our iPhones. I mean, a TK Maxx very first thing! How lucky were we? (Actually, TK Maxx is the same company as TJ Maxx in the US. They changed the name to TK because they had a competitor in the UK named TJ Hughes and wanted to avoid confusion. And that, unlike many of the fun facts in this blog, is completely true.)

Nothing says Edinburg Scotland like Kentucky Fried Chicken! Hello back at ya, you crispy hunks of hormonally enhanced chicken coated in chemicalized carbohydrates and then deep fried in delicious liquid plaquiness!

Also true.

The first thing you notice in Edinburgh is the imposing buildings next to the castle that oversee the main part of the modern city. It’s a magnificent skyline, and really makes it difficult to think of Edinburg as anything but impressive and beautiful. Just like you…mostly because you’re reading this which obviously makes you impressive and beautiful.

These are the views of and from the inside of the castle. Edinburgh Castle is one of the oldest fortified locations in Europe, and is also the most besieged place in all of Britain. I’m thinking the Scots must’ve won in the end, because everywhere we looked all the writing was in Scottish.

From afar I thought this was a church. Turns out it’s a Gothic monument to Scottish author Sir Walter Scott. It is the second largest monument to a writer in the world after the José Martí monument in Havana. You’re welcome for giving you some great answers for your next trivia contest.

Edinburgh is well-trained.

So is Carolyn.

“Wait- wha-? Whap Whap! Ow! Whap! Whap! Whap! Okay okay, I give!”

I guess she’s not well-trained after all– “Ouch!”

I don’t think there are many places in the world that still have telephone booths. This phone actually works: I picked up the receiver gingerly with two fingers after pouring most of a bottle of rubbing alcohol over the entire mechanism, donning rubber gloves, and then a gas mask. Can you believe we used to just grab those things and rub our lips on strangers’ spit residue just to make a collect call from prison? I mean, er, some of you, not me, he he. Anyway, after retiring this booth from being a Covid Hot Spot, I think it has now been converted to a canvas for graffiti artists. Albeit with a working phone in case they need to order more spray paint from Amazon.

This peak is named Arthur’s Seat, apparently because King Arthur had a really flat butt or something. You can walk up there for a great view of Edinburgh, but we saved all the effort by staying at the bottom and just holding a mirror toward them so we could see what they were seeing without doing all that walking. Genius!

Seems that no matter where we go, Roman ruins follow us around. You’d think after all these years they’d be stationary, but no-o-o. Actually, they tricked us, because this is the National Monument of Scotland, and is a memorial to the Scottish soldiers and sailors who died fighting in the Napoleonic Wars. I would’ve thought they’d have made a carving out of neapolitan ice cream or something instead. I’m pretty sure that’s me thinking of a funnier joke when I took the picture, and that’s Carolyn, pretending it was.

In addition to never being far from Roman ruins, it seems Portuguese things are now following us everywhere as well. They call this the Portuguese Cannon even though it was made in Spain. The Spanish have never forgiven the Portuguese for this slight, which is why to this day they get very agitated whenever you point a loaded cannon at them.

Ok, I’m sure I’ve already lost half our readers because we’re way past the Tweet Maximum, which is where the eyeballs of most people start rolling into the back of their heads because there are way too many woooords! So I’ll interrupt this blogcast with what I meant by the headline of “Edinburgh is lovely… except for all the toilets” before any remaining readers lapse into a coma.

You see, as we walked around that beautiful city, I couldn’t help but notice signs and/or advertisements (maybe warnings?) everywhere for toilets.

I mean, you see a sign like this and think, “Hmm, pretty big sign for a toilet, but whatever.”

And then you see another, guessing that they have to advertise because it’s on an upper floor.

And then you see them getting pretty specific with what they’re for. We assume the “WBF” stands for “Wide Butt Fit.” This would have worked well right next to the KFC. Despite the Wide Butt Fit, they do accept all inquiries. Now I’m wondering, is “inquiries” the word the Scottish use for fart? “Excuse me, I just inquired.” Hmm. Not a bad ring to it and with that you can admit that you farted right in front of the Pope.

They even had competing toilets right next to each other. I mean, c’mon, are the Scots simply defecation crazy or what?

We took this shot mostly because Slug and Lettuce has got to be one of the weirdest names for a pub in the history of pub-naming. It may explain how the toilet craze started, however. Note the toilet advertised right upstairs. I’d be running up the steps in a hurry if I’d just taken a bite out of a slug in my salad too.

This left us with a whole host of questions. Why is toiletry so lucrative in Scotland? Do they make sure you’re done with it before they sell it out from under you? Is it only “may sell” if you bomb it so bad they have no other choice? So many questions, but as friendly as the Scots were, they all gave us weird looks when we asked about Scottish toilet traditions.

I have to say I’ve never in my life seen such a big advertisement for a used toilet.

And what the hell is a yard toilet? Are the Scots mad? On a separate note in regards to that lower sign, what’s Kebabish? Kind of like a kebab but not quite? And does that have anything to do with all these toilets? And don’t get me started as to why David didn’t just give them the street.

I tell you, traveling in a foreign country can be confusing!

With all this toilet obsession, I can now see why they sell tissues by the actual buttload. Yep, that package of toilet paper is the literal definition and official measurement of buttload.

Overall, we saw so many signs for toilets, I just started snapping away. You will not believe it:

And yeah, in that last photo, an 8,000 square foot toilet?? Even Donald Trump doesn’t need one that big!

In this one they get all fancy with the lettering, capitalizing the Let in Toilet. Like it’s French or something.

Finally, this photo helped me to understand exactly what is going on.

Does it for you?