Where to begin? We spent a full day in Edinburgh yesterday, and as a result of getting back to our castle last night, I was too tired to post. Both of us have fallen in love with Scotland...the spirit of the people, the beauty of the heather on every roadside and the friendly atmosphere we found. Most amazing to us, though, is the beauty of the ancient buildings steeped in history. Personally, I only thought Washington D.C. had more steps on their buildings,but we found that even in the alley ways called "close" there were zillions of steps and oh, how out of shape we both are! My dear husband is far more hearty at taking the steps than I was but we braved it.
Yesterday found the temperatures dropping into the fifties so we had to bundle up as best we could. Climbing the steep hill to see the Castle of Edinburgh took a lot of effort but we were rewarded with ancient historical views. The position of the castle is atop a craggy hill overlooking the city and the bay. It was perfect for the defense of the people and the king.
Entering a special vault, we were able to see the crown and scepter of Mary Queen of Scots and other pieces of her royal gems.
Prior to our castle trip, we stopped into the Cathedral of St. Giles to see its beauty. Hard to believe the amazing construction of these ancient churches. One tomb in particular stood out. It was of a man who was beheaded for his Reformation faith. He had been a faithful servant of the queen but refused to recant his beliefs and paid with his life. We also discovered a precious document signed by the Covenanters in 1638 proclaiming their faith in the truth of God's Word. I tried to photograph it but due to lighting it did not come out as well.
In the evening, we enjoyed a wonderful meal at "The Elephant House" restaurant. Interestingly enough, this was the place where J.K. Rowlings began writing her now famous Harry Potter series. Following our meal, we made another trip to the Edinburgh Castle to watch the military Tattoo. It was a gathering of wonderful military bands from across the globe. We had the top row seats and again had to climb to the highest heights. I don't like heights so it was a challenge but one well worth the effort. The huge bagpipe band wearing their dress regalia and tartans thrilled us both. How beautiful to our ears! During their presentation, they made a formation of a celtic cross that was outstanding. All thew other royal bands were sensational but the bagpipes stoll the show! The entire program was performed before the castle which was lit by flaming torches. At the end of the program,
a lone bagpiper stood at the top of the castle ramparts to play. Then a quotation was read from one of Scotland's writers and the speaker concluded by loudly proclaiming "Scotland the Brave!" It was moving and reminded me of the movie "Brave Heart".
We had parked our car in the town of Bonnyrigg and taken a bus into Edinburgh. We managed to catch the last bus back and so we returned to Dalhousie Castle for the last night cold, worn out but blessed.
Today, we drove four hours to the city of York to see York Minster which dates back to the Romans, early Normans and Medieval times. While the cathedral was beautiful in its construction, I felt sad to think how empty many churches are today. When we arrived, we could hear evening song. The choir echoed through the high ceilings, the pipe organ rang out in praise and the smell of incense filled the cathedral, but I wondered to myself how many believers still came here to genuinely commit themselves to Christ?
Tomorrow, we will visit a couple more spots in York before travelling on to Lincolnshire. There is a huge cathedral there as well. I am told it towers over all the town. It will be interesting to see how it compares to this one.
I did forget to mention that my husband is doing very well with the backwards driving in England. Our trip today through the back highways of Scotland and England was breathtaking. Sheep on the hillsides, cattle feeding in the verdant pastures, and the sides of steep hills purple with heather was a sight to feast upon. Many of the small towns we went through looked like they came straight out of a Dickens novel, and when we stopped in a snail town to grab a sandwich, we were welcomed by a lovely English lady who had actually visited Kissimmee, FL. It really is a small world we live in!
With all this said, I still do not know how to post my pictures from my IPAD 2 to my blog. I have an app that allows me to post to Facebook so I may have to be happy with that until I can find something else. If you have suggestions, let me know.
I pray you are all blessed and well...so stay tuned for more of our adventures abroad.