There's a court outside my window that tour guides like to take their groups through because it's quiet, but also because it's a little bit off the beaten path. That sounds weird when you think about it being in the center of the city, mere steps from the Royal Mile, which is apparently the most-visited part of Scotland annually. But what the tour guides say is true: people don't step off the Royal Mile very often. There are numerous closes (narrow walkways) with winding, zig-zaggy steps, steep walks, cobbled alleys, courtyards and historic houses and museums back there -- and most people walk right on by! All the souvenir shops don't do any favors: their signs often out-shine the smaller ones that denote the passageways or historic plaques, but that's all the more reason to, as a visitor, keep an eye out for the less obvious things. It's what's not in-your-face all the time that is often the most interesting.
So, case in point, a couple of courtyards just off Lawnmarket and literally feet from my flat. In one of these photos you can actually see my flat window, but I'll be secretive and let you guess which one it might be. ;) I was spurred to take these photos because I've noticed recently that a popular photo was going around on Pinterest that someone had captioned 'hidden alleyways of London' or something general like that. It was clearly Edinburgh, and I know because I can see it out my window. So I decided to use that as the inspiration for this blog post, which is just pretty pictures of this wonderful courtyard pair of connecting courtyards and the stunning, very Scottish architecture. So... enjoy!