It is has been awhile since I updated, as I got a bit distracted by all the things to see in Edinburgh. I arrived in Edinburgh last Friday having only a vague idea how to get to my hostel. After a short walk I am presented with a castle. I want to share with all of you that I had done very minimal investigation into Edinburgh as back home I had determined that getting to Iona (an incredibly important monastic site to the far west of Scotland) would be hard and likely not worth the pain and suffering. However, Beth informed me that Edinburgh could not be missed and therefore I went. Indeed, it is entirely worth it. This castle, though I didn’t know it at the time, is Edinburgh Castle and the centerpiece of the city.
On my first day in Edinburgh I dropped my stuff off at my hostel, which was located a ways past the park that holds the castle and then used the handy free map to navigate myself to the castle. The castle itself has been the site of a Scottish Castle for around 900ish years, maybe a bit more, but most of the castle we see today is entirely built within the last 500 or even 200 with the exception of a sweet little 12th century chapel dedicated to the wife of one of the early kings. I really enjoyed the castle and I waited in there for a bit till it was more or less empty and prayed for a little bit. The small windows have beautiful stained glass showing the important saints of the church, including the queen to whom it is dedicated. The rest of the castle site was a fascinating mix of architectures and bits of history. I got to see the Honours of Scotland (please note the spelling) which were "lost" for a hundred years even though everyone knew precisely where they were. They are quite pretty. The castle also had an impressively large cannon. The llama however, was not impressed. There were also 2 military museums which I was hard put to pay full attention to. The castle also has a one-o’clock gun that in the past was used for people to make sure their time pieces were accurate! There was even a map to help those who lived further away account for how slowly sound travels.
There was an arts festival going on in the city and so many streets, especially the Royal Mile (the street between the Castle and the Palace) were full of street performers. I tried to get tickets to the ballet, but could not.
I returned to my hostel and checked in. The man who runs it is a bit odd, someone my father would perhaps quite enjoy, but a bit too wild for me. The hostel otherwise has excellent facilities and I recommend it to those who would deal with him/like his brand of oddity.
The next day I made my way to the Holyrood Palace, the traditional Scottish palace. This is a truly gorgeous place that sadly I could not take pictures in. It has such gorgeous panelings and tapestries. I really enjoyed it. It has been restored lovingly and is attached to a ruined church, which I could take pictures of. This palace has witnessed a wide variety of important events, including recently a papal visit. At present there is also a great exhibit in honor of the Jubilee. I then took a quick peek into the Scottish Parliament, reestablished only a few years ago. I had a very tasty brie, bacon, and cranberry sandwich for lunch and then a wander through the park again. I discovered a floral clock, which at the moment is in honor of the London Olympics. I went to the National Gallery, which I enjoyed throughly. I discovered an enjoyment of McTaggert as an artist in particular and some gorgeous Spanish paintings. A good wander through the cementeries of St. Cuthbert resulted in some great views…I must have 50 pictures of the castle from every angle…this is also the day I broke the 1000 pictures on my camera.
The rest of Edinburgh, particularly the day after….deserves its very own post.