Friday, October 23, 2009


Up on the roof

Fall is in full swing in Scotland. The only problem is the sun doesn't rise until after 8am! All the same, the weather has been great (beats the October snows in Connecticut that my parents have reported!) and last weekend Robin, Annie and I took advantage with a daytrip to Roslyn Chapel. It's only 7 miles southwest of the city, and the bus ride was classically pastoral, full of adorable sheep, cows, horses, falcons, magpies, hay bales, giant clouds, rolling green hills. Top of the double decker, front row. Best seat in the house. 

In fact, the ride was much like the one I am on now - though UK trains beat UK busses because of the free wi-fi, outlets and tables. The people next to me are drinking Carlsberg. The Scots handed out drams of whisky by the platform. An attendant comes around selling coffee, and then another picks up your trash, like on an airplane.  

The chapel itself, built in mid 15th century, is gorgeous - intricately carved from floor to ceiling, and with an undeniable air of mystery, DaVinci Code aside. There are over 100 "Green Man" carvings, which is the pagan counterpart to Mother Earth. There are loads of masonic and Knight's Templar symbols. There is a replica of the death mask of Robert the Bruce. There are carvings of plants found only in North America, and this was years before Columbus landed. Go figure. Also, something mysterious is buried downstairs. Maybe Jesus, maybe the Holy Grail, maybe Elvis, lots of other possibilities, we'll never know. Oh - and Tom Hanks and his DaVinci Code crew left a big dent in the wall during their stint filming on site. Nice job guys. 

We also found gorgeous hiking trails through Roslyn Glen, just outside the chapel grounds. We wandered about for a few hours, passing castle ruins, running into locals walking their dogs, and talking about Edinburgh, Halloween costumes, wedding bands (Annie's, in particular), shoes, Rotary presentations. We ended the day at a cafe and nearly missed the hourly bus back

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