Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Spires and pipes

I am currently tipsy.  Niño and I were guilty of finishing off 1.05 litre of single malt Scotch whiskey.  I haven't drunk a reasonable (or intoxicating) amount of whiskey for almost a decade now, and if not because of my recent trip to Edinburgh I wouldn't dare drinking it to the last drop. I just felt earlier that doing it would simply complete my remarkable Scotland experience.

Actually, I wasn't very keen to visit Edinburgh... but my hosts here in London, six of them, were so excited of this Scotland trip.  They'd been preparing and looking forward for this weekend escapade since November last year.  But just like most of the carefully drafted adventures, it didn't happen as planned.  Only Auntie Monette and I  turned up!

Scotland's capital- Edinburgh, was a ten-hour bus journey from London.  We left late in the afternoon, so aside from the red tail lights of the vehicles on the motorway and the artificially illuminated bus stations of the boroughs and cities, the rest of the sight were awfully pitch black- no hills, pastures and meadowlands, no country houses and bridges, no coastlines; nothing!  Then at around 2:00 AM the bus dropped us off at the dimly-lit, cold main street lined with century old, sandstone buildings that would've looked desolated without the sleepy cab drivers in their parked vehicles and a few drunk teenagers.  That was my first impression of Edinburgh before we helplessly fell in the loving arms of Morpheus.

I got up after five hours, took a shower, had my breakfast, headed to the reception and asked for direction to the closest tourist attraction.  The receptionist told me that it's forty-five minutes to one hour away.  A bit disappointed of the given distance, I stepped out of the hotel and was surprised of what I saw; standing from the doorstep, every angle, for me, was a tourist attraction!  I could see the Edinburgh Castle on top of the hill (a dormant volcano), the Scott monument, shops in century-old sandstone structures, churches, countless spires, lush and green parks, and stacks of  brownish heritage buildings gracefully standing on the hill!

Auntie Monette's high school friend- Tita Elen and her family had just transferred in Edinburgh.  We're very lucky and grateful for their seven-star accommodation.  They gave us heaps of very useful tips on how to conveniently roam around this lovely city.

I fell in love with the leisurely pace of the city, it actually reminds me of Adelaide.  The locals were not as friendly as those I've met in Brussels but they're apparently polite, and of course their accent was cute. The sett pavements, architecture and the entire cityscape of Royal Mile were so enchanting that I would love to shut my eyes at this moment so my imagination could take me straight back there!  Those brown Lothian buses crossing the North Bridge with a beautiful backdrop of monuments and castlellated structures comfortably sitting on Calton Hill seemed to be creating a real identity of captivating Edinburgh!  Just imagine seeing all these sceneries while a traditional Scottish music was clearly audible as an unseen local wearing kilt was playing his Great Highland Bagpipe somewhere.   

The North Bridge, Edinburgh, Scotland.
I haven't been to other cities in Scotland, but I have this feeling that the country is so obsessed with spires.  I have seen spires in almost every angle around the city... castles, palace, abbeys and the like... they're everywhere!  And I believe those structures are the living witnesses of the horrible stories of the 1700's- the countless public executions- that were considered as the dark past of Edinburgh.

If there's horror, there are some rumours and riddles that's haunting this part of Scotland, as well.  I spared four hours for my short yet meaningful trip to Rosslyn Chapel.  The interior of this small worship hall, constructed in the mid-1400's, is totally adorned with detailed carvings, codes, signs and symbols whose ultimate meanings or messages are yet to be known and understood.  There's a crypt in this chapel that's coupled with legends that the mummified head of Jesus Christ, the Holy Grail and some treasures are being kept.  How I wish photography was allowed inside the chapel!   

Exterior.  The details- Rosslyn Chapel, Scotland.

The Scotch whiskey's still in my veins and arteries, I can feel it.  My London bed has been dragging me, too!

Without any regret, I'm glad I pursued our plan to visit Edinburgh.  I, honestly, would love to go back and find a job there- everyday must be a holiday in that city.

By the way, it was daytime when we travelled back to London, so I've seen the picturesque landscape I hadn't seen on our way forth.  


The tourists crossing the street.  Cowgate, Edinburgh, Scotland.

A flock of sheep...

...with Auntie Monette at the entrance of the Edinburgh Castle.


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