Scotland Trip

More Edinburgh-area highlights

The goal for Wednesday was a spot a bit outside of the city: Rosslyn Chapel. We boarded a bus and went 30-40 minutes out of the city to a “wee village” called Roslin. Just off the main intersection of the town is a chapel of much renown and controversy (most recently because of Dan Brown’s book – you may have heard of it – The DaVinci Code.

The truly amazing thing about the chapel, and the true reason to go and visit it, is the intricacy and diversity of the stonework. The chapel was built 1446-1450 or so, incorporating a variety of architectural styles and a range of themes in the stonework. Of course the main reason it’s famous and controversial is that some people think the Holy Grail is buried underneath the chapel (which it may be; it has been sealed for 300 years and the current Earl of Rosslyn won’t disturb it); other reasons for controversy have to do with potential links between the chapel and the Knights Templar and the Freemasons, who are of course controversial in their own right. Whatever may turn out to be the truth of all of this mystery, the chapel was certainly worth the trip out of the city, just to see all the stonework and hear the stories. Also, the chapel is currently covered by a large scaffold and canopy, so you can actually walk up to the roof level and stair at the upper stonework from eye-level. Very cool.

Afterward we had lunch at the pub on the corner, where we had probably the best pub lunch so far – quite a bit of very quality food, for the same amount we’d been used to paying for mediocrity. If you’re ever in Roslin, I recommend the pub at “The Original Inn”. Great atmosphere and a very friendly and helpful staff.

We took the bus back into the city and weren’t quite sure what to do next. On the way, we heard a 70-year-old Scottish man tell his 50ish friend all of his woes with his church, the Gas Board, and others. It was such good entertainment, I was very disappointed when his friend got off the bus and we were left only listening to his mutterances to himself.

We finally decided to spend the afternoon hiking up to Arthur’s Seat. We almost did so the day before, but it was cold, overcast, and starting to sprinkle at the time. Today was warm(er) and sunny, a much better day for hiking up to a 823 foot summit. Of course by the tme we got up there the sun disappeared, but being up there was well worth the hike. There are fantastic 360-degree views of the city, the outlying areas, and the Forth (aka the bay). However, it was VERY windy. While we were up there we met a guy from Orange County who told us a story about how he was hiking around the hill with a 120 lb female friend one day and she got picked up and blown away 3 feet. I didn’t feel too comfortable with this, so I was quite happy to start heading down the hill.

Cold and tired, we stopped at The Bean Scene and had some wicked cafe mochas, then we hopped on the bus and headed home. We got fish and chips (with authentic Edinburgh brown sauce – tasty!) “takeaway” (aka To Go) for dinner and ate in Paul & Michelle’s apartment.

Dave had requested an outing to hear some live Celtic music, so Paul drove us back into town to a pub called Sandy Bells, where we listened to some musicians do a jam session, and had some drinks. As it approached 11 pm, we realized we needed to finish up and get ourselves home; we were in bed around midnight.