Posted by: mkl325 | May 12, 2013

Mike’s Visit (Part 2)… A Day in Edinburgh

You can’t come to St. Andrews and not visit Edinburgh. So one morning Mike and I took the train and got to the city in the late afternoon. We began our visit with a walk down the Royal Mile, the main street between Holyrood Palace and Edinburgh Castle.

Looking up the Royal Mile

Looking up the Royal Mile

One of my favorite spots on the Royal Mile is St. Giles Cathedral. The Cathedral was built in the 12th century and is one of Edinburgh’s recognizable landmarks.

St. Giles

St. Giles

The inside of the Cathedral is pretty impressive. I have a thing about ceilings – I love them. Mike likes to joke that because I am so short I have to look up to see anything so I pretend that I am looking at the ceilings. One of the things that I love about the ceiling of St. Giles is that amongst the old stone archways there is this stretch of bright blue, white and gold. It is really beautiful.

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Then there are the stained glass windows…

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Here is the window created by Morris and Co. It was designed by Edward Coley Burne-Jones and is one of the most beautiful windows in the whole church.

Morris Window

Morris Window

For a while we were standing in front of this window and I was telling Mike all the things I learned about William Morris last semester and analyzing the window. I noticed that the look on Mike’s face is the same one that I have when he was explaining the ins and outs of golf to me. So we moved on…

Window detail...

Window detail…

In 1911 there was a chapel added onto the Cathedral for the Order of the Thistle. There are up to 16 members of the order at one time, although right now there are only 15, along with the additional members, known as “Extra Knights and Ladies”, of Prince Phillip, Prince Charles, Princess Anne and Prince William. In the chapel, each member has a stall with their insignia on the top, this is there seat for the gatherings of the order. The coats of arms that mark the back of each stall is a historic record of who held that seat prior.

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The carving in the chapel is amazing. The armrests for each stall are carved in the shapes of animals…

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…and there is at least one, although I suspect that there are actually three, bagpiping angels. Cause what would a chapel in Scotland be without a bagpiping angel?

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Outside of St. Giles is a stone mosaic in the shape of a heart. It’s known as “The Heart of Midlothian” and it is the spot where the Old Tolbooth (prison) stood in the 15th century. Since this was also the place where a lot of public executions take place, it has become a custom for people to spit on the heart. It’s now done for good luck, but originally the spitting was done to show disdain for what took place there. It’s a little shocking the first time you see it, mainly because I was standing right in front of the person spitting and thought it was directed at me. Thankfully, I am not very confrontation by nature, cause I am fairly certain that is called for a fight.

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At the top of the Royal Mile is Edinburugh Castle. The Castle was built in the 12th century upon an extinct volcano plug. Not only does this make the castle have an impressive place over the city as well as a fantastic landscape.

The Entrance to the Castle

The Entrance to the Castle

View of Edinburgh from the front of the Castle

View of Edinburgh from the front of the Castle

Mike in front of the Castle

Mike in front of the Castle

King David I of Scotland built a small chapel for his mother, Saint Margaret, who died in the castle in 1093. David I was the son of Saint Margaret and King Malcolm III. Malcolm III was the son of King Duncan I. So, why the lineage lesson? Duncan I is the king that Macbeth murders in Shakespeare’s play. As I have always had a slight obsession with Shakespeare, and in particular Macbeth, this connection is very exciting for me.

Saint Margaret window in Saint Margaret's chapel

Saint Margaret window in Saint Margaret’s chapel

Saint George and the Dragon window in Saint Margaret's chapel

Saint George and the Dragon window in Saint Margaret’s chapel

 

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Inside the Royal Apartments. Mary, Queen of Scots, gave birth to James IV of Scotland (James I of England) in one of these rooms.

Inside the Royal Apartments. Mary, Queen of Scots, gave birth to James IV of Scotland (James I of England) in one of these rooms.

 

I forced Mike into this picture because it makes me laugh.

I forced Mike into this picture because it makes me laugh.

 

View of Edinburgh from further into the castle. You can see the National Gallery and the Walter Scott Memorial.

View of Edinburgh from further into the castle. You can see the National Gallery and the Walter Scott Memorial.

 

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Mike and Edinburgh. Directly across the sea is Fife, where St. Andrews is located.

Mike and Edinburgh. Directly across the sea is Fife, where St. Andrews is located.

I am not a very good tour guide. It happened several times that Mike asked me what something was or the story behind it was and I had no idea. It’s only when I come back and research what we saw that I actually know what all the stuff is.

I am a boss when it came to the shopping portion of the trip.

And yes, I do own that hat now.

And yes, I do own that hat now.

The night ended when we met up with my friends Iris and Lydia, and went to the Beltane Fire Festival. It is an old Celtic May Festival where people dance with fire, paint their faces and generally have fun.

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Fire Dancers...

Fire Dancers…

Lydia, me and Iris. It was a good night.

Lydia, me and Iris. It was a good night.

 

Up Next… A Day in the Highlands…

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Responses

  1. Love this post!!! Great photos! Sounds like you and Mike had a great time! 🙂

  2. […] Mike’s Visit (Part 2)… A Day in Edinburgh (kateloughran.wordpress.com) […]


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