Aug 262014

My daughter and I added some ghostly history to our travel adventures through Scotland. We walked into the haunted underground caverns of Mary King’s Close.
Edinburgh Scotland CloseA Close is the Scottish term for alleyways which, trust me, have long flights of stairs and very steep steps.

The Old Fishmarket Close was historically described as a narrow stinking ravine that sold poultry and fish. It is now home to upscale apartments and restaurants.

Other Closes were named after their best known inhabitants like Mary King.

Very tall buildings were built and crammed together to house the rapidly growing population.

Shoes worn in 1500s #retireforthefunofit #museum #shoes

Shoes used for walking above sewage in the streets

This deliberate lack of space was so Edinburgh could be enclosed within its city walls as a means of protection. The poorest lived on levels that were at the highest risk for collapsing.
Cameras weren’t allowed as we entered an underground site that was unearthed from the 17th century.

Our guide grossed us out when he explained that a family of 15 people shared a small room. Smelly animal fat was burned to add some light in this windowless living space.
Plague Doctor #retirefortheFunofit #Black Plague #doctor
There was no sewer system, so the bathroom was a pail set off in a corner. The youngest child was usually the potty pail dumper and poured out onto the street.

The doctor devised a garment consisting of leather from head to toe, since no one knew it was fleas from infected rats that were spreading the plague.

He wore a bizarre bird-shaped mask with a beak filled with herbs to help protect him from the disease and smells. He unwittingly survived the plague because the leather kept the fleas from biting him.

His bedside manners consisted of slicing off the top of the victim’s sore and jamming a red-hot poker into the wound to cauterize it.

Mary Kings Close #RetirefortheFunofit

Photo credit:The Continnuum Group

As moms, the family depicting this horrible scene made me and Lisa cringe. We all screamed when the guide threw a rubber rat onto the floor in front of us.

Next we entered a room where dolls and stuffed animals were stacked for their most famous ghost, little Sarah. Her family left her behind when she became ill with the plague. She appears (although fortunately not to us) to be looking for a lost toy.
We wandered up and down dimly lit passageways, walking over dirt floors and past rooms where people worked and lived.

Stephen, dressed as a merchant, gave drama and realism that made us feel like eyewitnesses to what were the best and worst of times on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.

Be sure to make your reservations in advance for this popular historical tour that Lisa and I highly recommend.

Sep 042013

Wendover is a remote town that evolved from a 1920’s gas station, with a single light bulb on a pole, to a Utah/Nevada border town with six king-sized casinos.
Wendover Will
Wendover tower
The 63 foot tall cowboy stood in front of the Stateline Hotel and Casino from 1952 until 2005, when Stateline became the Wendover Nugget Hotel and Casino.  The Nugget gave Will to the City of West Wendover and he traveled to what is now considered the center of town.

Wendover Will was included in the Guinness Book of Records as the “World’s Largest Mechanical Cowboy.”

Another historical site located in this remote area is the airfield where World War II bomber pilots and crews trained in their B-19s and B-24s.  Wendover was chosen for a top secret mission, because of it’s remote location.  After a year of training for this historical mission, Colonel Paul Tibbets and his crew lifted off a B-29 named Enola Gay from this airfield.  His flight brought him to Hiroshima, Japan where an atomic bomb nicknamed “Little Boy” was released and destroyed the city.
wendover airplane hanger Wendover buildings
This event marked the beginning of the end of World War II.
The plane was named for Colonel Tibbet’s mother.  It was never documented as to how she felt about her name being attached to a plane associated with such a massive weapon of death.

Several flying scenes for the movie Con Air were created, using this tower as a backdrop.

Note the white cutout section above the doors of the Enola Gay’s hanger, to accommodate the tail of the B-29.

After the base’s closing in 1969,  The Historic Wendover Air Field Foundation was formed to preserve and restore the frame buildings.  They could be best described as having the patina of rusted gold.

As history buffs, we enjoyed viewing the displays and photos at the airfield’s museum.  More information on what some visitors consider an eerily and ghostly remote area, is available at this site:  Please share some of your travels to remote areas.
 (This is part of Travel Photo Mondays #2 on Travel Photo Discovery.)

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