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!
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?