I'm sorry it's taken me a while to get back to my series about our trip. Work and more traveling have gotten in the way, but I hope to be able to push out some more here!
Okay, so I left off with us having a delightful time in Wales. Our next adventure was riding the train to Edinburgh, Scotland. We enjoyed our cross-country trip and the nice English lady who sat with us on the train.
Where we stayed: Airdenair Guest House
Why we wanted to come: It seemed appropriate to start off our tour of Scotland with the capital. Also, perhaps more importantly, Christina is particularly interested in Scottish history, much of which is tied to Edinburgh.
Major sights: Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh Castle, National Museum of Scotland, the Royal Mile
Our B&B was on the south side of town in a neighborhood that was seemingly chock-full of B&Bs. It was also very close to the hill called Arthur's Seat, which our hostess encouraged us to climb. Arthur's Seat is quite steep and I'm afraid I complained quite a bit as we were walking up it. However, the view from the top was fantastic!
Looking down from Arthur's Seat at downtown Edinburgh.
From Arthur's Seat we walked down into downtown Edinburgh and walked up the Royal Mile, the streets that stretch between Holyrood Palace and Edinburgh Castle. Along the way we stopped at St. Giles' Cathedral, the church where the Reformer John Knox preached.
The next day we came back to downtown Edinburgh to see Edinburgh Castle. It's a spot that's been important to Scotland's political life for centuries.
This building within the castle compound holds the Scottish crown jewels, not to be confused with the British crown jewels in London. The Scottish ones are not as impressive, but they have a great story, including having been hidden away and forgotten for over a hundred years.
Looking back from Edinburgh Castle to Arthur's Seat.
We also went to the National Museum of Scotland. It had a lot of artifacts that related to Scottish history, including stuff related to the time of the Scottish Covenanters. The Covenanters were a group in the 17th century that were known for placing their loyalty to Jesus Christ above their loyalty to the king. They wanted to keep the changes that John Knox had been influential in bringing to the Scottish church.
One of my favorite pieces was this stool, which a little sign explained:
"An Edinburgh woman named Jenny Geddes is said to have thrown this simple church stool at the pulpit in St. Giles [the one we visited earlier] when the Prayer Book [a new one forced on the church by the king] was introduced, sparking a riot."
Yes, stools can be important!
We also saw this sword at the Museum. I know of no exciting story to go along with it, but look how huge it is!
Our last sight-seeing stop in Edinburgh was Greyfriars Church. It's also important to the history of the Scottish Covenanters, so Christina wanted to see it. It's where they signed their "covenant," which was a declaration of their stand against the king. It's also where many of them were held captive and where some died.
The gate to the courtyard where many Covenanters were held captive.
After that very heavy history, we ended the day with a fun stop at a little pub near our B&B called the Old Bell Inn. Christina and Amber were brave souls and decided to try haggis. Christina actually ended up liking it pretty well--I'm sure of it because she ordered it again at another pub on our trip. You can ask her why. :-)