Without a plan, we were now just googling things to do. We decided to check out the Battle of Bannockburn, the most celebrated Scottish victory over England during their age long battles for independence. Oh my, what a great day! This Scottish National site preserves the Scots, led by Robert the Bruce, victory over King Edward II of the England in 1314. Yes, 1314.
There is a short animated film to explain the battle and provide some historical context. Now this is a cartoon, it is kid friendly and it was still horrifying. These battles were bloody, and gruesome and without mercy. Essentially it was hand to hand combat with one side trying to bludgeon the other side with some sort of hammer, axe or any other medieval weapon you can think of.
It should also be noted that King Edward II was apparently fond of men, a theme that was not downplayed in this cartoon. I will say, they are true to their history.
After the movie, a historian spoke and explained the various types of weapons. These weapons were on display and we could pick them up. (They were chained and locked so we really couldn’t bludgeon one another). Ok….. these damn axes and hammers were heavy. Holy hell. How they carried these things into battles is beyond me.
After feebly attempting to lift medieval weaponry, the next stop was to simulate the battle. We were split into teams and I was paired with a Scottish kid that was the spitting image of my nephew Lleyton. Lleyton’s doppleganger and I were the Scots and he was the King. Jen and Lleyton’s grandfather were the English. We could position troops and weapons in various areas of the battlefield. The historian would explain the advantages of various troops and positions. The goal was for us to defend Stirling Castle while the English were trying to seize it.
Our historian was a young man who was from England and had obvious some bias against the Scots. However, he was well informed and made the entire simulated battle extremely engaging. And then the most curious thing happened. Something that this historian had never seen before during numerous simulated battle scenarios. Both Kings died at the same time. It was essentially a tie.
After the battle, we walked the battlegrounds and visited a monument built to honor Robert the Bruce. The gift shop was nicely appointed and we picked up some gifts for our friends and family. Then it was back to Edinburgh and the chocolate milk episode.
Right before the chocolate milk explosion
We were waiting at a bus stop that was partially sheltered. It was just Jen, myself and another man. A bus went roaring past and sped over a completely full jug of chocolate milk causing it explode all over us. At first, I thought it was a gunshot and felt stuff splatter all over me. In complete stunned silence, the three of looked at each other covered in head to toe chocolate milk. Milk was in my hair, all over our clothes, and dripping from the roof.
Get the mac and cheese here, oh. my. gawd.
Now we were off to dinner in our chocolate milk outfits. No concern. I ordered the mac and cheese and it was one of those meals I will never forget. It was the best mac and cheese I’ve ever had. A perfect mixture of dairy and pasta cooked to a perfect bronzed color. Again, this restaurant in the old town of Edinburgh had maybe 2 people waiting tables. By now I’ve learned to nurse my drink because I ain’t getting another one during my meal.
Following dinner and another quick stroll through the cobblestone streets and alleyways, we on the tram back to our hotel. I love public transportation in strange cities because you really get to see the locals. And on this ride, we were treated to a gaggle of teenagers who were drunk. I’m not sure the drinking age, but I’m pretty sure their covert sips of alcohol was an indication that they shouldn’t be doing this. We were hysterical at their mischievousness but noticed that once at their stop, they were being greeted by a police officer.
After a day of ancient battles, chocolate milk dunking, and over stuffing ourselves on glorious mac and cheese, a trip to the drug store was in order to grab some ibuprofen. All I will say is that we are getting raped in the US with our drug prices.