Edinburgh, the center of Scottish culture and law. The country’s capital where the government leads and the parliament decides for the people. It is here I find a city of less than half a million to be more culturally vibrant and lush than many cities larger in size. This is a part of a Scotland where the people have defined the country that encompasses more than just Scotland being a location of land. It is here I learn more about the people who thrive under the flag of Scotland as I watch it flap from the roof of the city’s castle. I get from here a large view of the kind of people who capitalise under this nation’s law and order.
I have one full day to see the city, so I do the obvious and go straight for the guts of what makes this place tick. I start at the castle, the epicenter of the city. So come early morning I am standing at the castle gates.
I learn most here about the history of Edinburgh than any other single place I visit. I slowly make my way up the boulevard of a winding ramp leading to the castle highpoint. I stop to enjoy many views of the city from ontop the stone walls which encircle the mound that the fortification was built upon. With plenty of different exhibits to enlighten one about the cities’ progression and the role the castle has played in Scottish history I find my journey up to the highpoint to be what takes up the majority of the late morning and early afternoon.
When I arrive at the pinnacle of the castle’s position of the parade ground, I am awarded with being able to see the castle’s role of today being the safeguard of Scotland’s Crown Jewels. These treasures were as beautiful and elegant to the eye as one can imagine. A crown, sword and scepter definitely worthy of any royalty who adorns their position as monarch. No pictures were allowed so please forgive me that I don’t include them here.
Also flanking the parade ground was a beautiful war memorial chapel. Righteously set here also since the castle through its history has played a role as a military position just as much as it has played a political role. It is righteous to honor all the men from all backgrounds who have died defending the Scottish way of life and the government who rules over them all. no pictures were allowed in here as well in order to protect the sanctity of the fallen soldiers.
Being pressed for time as noon had arrived I headed back to the castle sally port and began to stroll down the Royal Mile in search of a quick place to eat before I head to my next sight to see. It was just off the Royal Mile that I found a cozy place called “Under the Stairs”. Here I ate among others more local to the city. By local I mean people who currently live in Edinburgh as the different languages and accents I heard were on a continental scale. From what I did pick up with my ears most of the patrons were students from the University and this was one of the more popular haunts of theirs. After filling up on a delicious and warming rendition of a BLT I resumed my course along the “Mile”.
I stopped in front of the St. Gile’s Cathedral. It came as a recommendation to visit during my stay in Edinburgh. Unknowing what this chapel had inside I was delighted upon entrance of seeing the multitude of stained glass windows that reflected the truest of blues and the most regal of purples in their holy illustrations. I was content with my impression of the cathedral after my disappointment in Inverness. I was even welcomed with a live organ performance while I walked and studied the painted windows in detail. At the back of the foyer was a small chapel within the chapel called the Thistle Chapel. Inside was the most detailed and precise woodwork of Scottish emblems I’ve ever seen. This woodwork surrounded the royal crests of many of the United Kingdom’s royalty, both past and present, who I believe have come to visit and donate to this famous chapel.
I continue my walk along the Mile seeing performers of fire and musicians of old time instruments alike. Alive I would say was the atmosphere of this cobblestoned road. Signposted on almost every corner was a recognition of an event which happened on that spot which was important in Edinburgh’s history. Every building alongside the Mile had a history I yearned to learn about but had no time to see. It was past two in the afternoon when I finally reached the end of the road which held another architectual gem in Edinburgh.
Here lay the Holyrood House, the home of visiting royalty to Edinburgh. A beautiful structure which only the castle rivaled in size. I was impressed with what I saw from only the front gate and was sad to see as far as that. Time was running short and there I made the executive decision to visit the National Gallery which held some fine painters inside as far back as the Italian School and Titian. I feel a city can be judged well by the art which hangs within its museums.
I take my time reveling over each brushtroke of some of my favorite artists, Titian, Velasquez, and Monet all providing great eyeball overload. It was a relief to see such color in paintings than those which were in the castle. Although I have much respect for portraiture, sometimes it can be a little bit too much for me seeing endless lords in redcoats and white wigs mounting the walls in an authoritative yet mannered stance which I have seen plenty to date. I enjoy such lively colors which symbolise more the times of education and growth instead of a ruler with power glaring down from his herculean steed.
Light was losing fast. I had one more sight to see which put all the sights visited into perspective. In fact, it couldn’t be a better place to end my visit as it was on top of this hill that the panorama was invented.
Calton Hill. A dedication to those great thinkers who inspire others. Here lay like tombstones of glory mementos to great actions done by the men for, “King and Country”. Here a tower looms like a lighthouse dedicated for the Admiral Lord Nelson who fought famously in the Napoleonic Wars. An Observatory for those wishing to reach up and see the stars and standing like an unfinished parthenon is The Scottish Monument. Close by even is the grave of the famous philosopher David Hume. This hill, as it looks over Princes and George streets, Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood House, the entire royal Mile, I believe epitomizes and grandises everything Scotland has contributed to the growth of the western world. Scotland’s visionaries continues to this day even with the mind of J.K. Rowling being included amongst the great names of people who at one time or another have stayed in this city. From the scenic view on Calton Hill, I can imagine in the falling light easily why such a city as Edinburgh with a such small population has turned out so many influential characters. The city itself looks like a masterpiece and I soon start to feel the electricity of inspiration within myself.
I leave from here to do some shopping down on Prince’s Street. I stop at the Robert Burns memorial with a sweet crepe in hand and satisfied with aura of the city around me. Below are pictures I snapped from during my roam around Edinburgh’s historic district.