Arthur's Seat + Rosslyn Chapel
We had the idea to take the bus to Holyrood Park so we wouldn’t be tired before we even started the hike and could also rest on the way back. There was increased security around the park and a lot of military movement due to the Royal Family who had been staying in Edinburgh the same week we were. The Palace of Holyroodhouse is the Royal Family's official residence when they're in Scotland. I stopped in a gift store to seek out a bathroom before we ascended the mountain. She suggested I try the Parliament building but warned I might have to go through security. Of course I had to be patted down despite carrying no belongings other than the tee shirt and leggings on my body! It was worth it, though because they had a textile exhibit hanging in the corridor. By the way, the Scottish Parliament building is quite possibly one of the ugliest pieces of modern architecture I have ever seen and I’m sure many would agree that it sticks out like a sore thumb compared to the historical buildings nearby. Anyways, after all that excitement we finally started out on the path. I had decided before we even came to Edinburgh that I wanted to climb Arthur’s Seat and I was determined to finish and make it to the very top. Let me tell you, it was hard and we took the short, steep route. The views of the city, Fife, and the Firth of Forth were worth it. I felt so accomplished once I made it to the top. We were so giddy we practically skipped the whole way down. We saw the ruins of an old chapel and walked around a small loch where a mama Swan was keeping watch over her babies. A runner came too close and she nipped at her. The closer we got to Holyrood Park the more we same the Royal Navy Helicopters moving in. I’m still convinced they were transporting the Royal Family from one location to another so they could depart for London. I would not mess with those military guards! They were some of the only armed people we saw the whole trip. The wind from a helicopter is something worth experience if you haven’t! It really is as strong as it seems in the movies. I was having a hard time filming the action on my cell phone and keeping upright at the same time. Arthur’s Seat is one of the parts of our trip I think I will remember the longest. That hike was something I could be proud of and I think it showed Alex what I’m capable of as well!
Luckily we finished hiking when we did because the sun came out in full force and we were starting to get a little warm! We rode the bus back to St. Andrew's Square up the Royal Mile again. We knew that we had to get something to eat really quickly because we had arranged to meet with Pat and Kenneth at a certain time to ride out to Roslin. We were going to try McDo but the line for there and KFC was ridiculously long and filled with tourists (like us) so we went to Subway. It was quite possibly the nastiest sandwich I've ever had in my life.
We rode out to Roslin with Pat and Kenneth to see Rosslyn Chapel. On the way, we passed some pretty epic ski slopes that I bet are a blast in the winter and a pretty big IKEA. It was awesome to get some views from outside the city for the first time in almost a week. Along the way we also passed by The Roslin Institute of the University of Edinburgh. Kenneth is Professor Emeritus of Medical Ethics at the University of Edinburgh and served on committees to discus the ethics of cloning Dolly the sheep (a topic he's pretty well published on because of the sheep's fame)! I'm so glad he took a minute to brag about it because we otherwise would have had no idea. Sometimes I'm the worst at asking questions to get cool stories out of people. Another thing we were surprised by on our trip out to Roslin was that Pat and Kenneth were actually married in Rosslyn Chapel some 50 years ago before it became famous because of the Da Vinci Code. Lucky for little Rosslyn Chapel that it did get worldwide attention due to Dan Brown's book and later the movie staring Tom Hanks because it turned into a preservation success story due to the interest in tourism and the search for the Holy Grail. Rosslyn really is just a chapel. The interior was quite small but every square inch of it is filled with magnificently carved sculptural elements. We sat for a while and listened to a tour guide talk about the carvings inside. Our favorite parts about the Gothic chapel were the flying buttresses, the Green Men, and the sandstone (which unfortunately, is a nightmare to conserve). When we were done peeking around the grounds we walked down a small path to Rosslyn Castle. The castle overlooks River North Esk and is accessible by a narrow bridge. Today it's used as a holiday rental.
After our long day outside we headed back into town to clean up for dinner. Pat made reservations for us to eat at the Royal Scots Club, a members-only, jacket-required, dinner club. I brought a black dress in case we went somewhere fancy to eat. I'm glad I brought the dress but earlier in the day I had to run to TopShop because I didn't have tights, I forgot my flats, and I didn't have the right undergarments for the slightly sheer top top of the dress. I ended up just wearing a sweater and scarf to hide the parts of the dress that were probably more well suited for a different type of club! After dinner, the boys walked home down Heriot Row along the Queen Street Gardens back to our flat. I went with Pat in a cab. I think they still beat us. Even though Pat and Kenneth don't cook special meals very often, we brought them a copy of Tea Time at the Masters, a cookbook staple for any kitchen in the South and a very appropriate thank you gift from back home. If nothing else, at least there's a golf connection between Augusta and Edinburgh!