Monday, November 25, 2013

Scotland - Day 1

We arrived in Edinburgh last evening about five in the afternoon. It was dark already and a little cold. We are staying at a place on The Royal Mile - at one end is the fantastic Edinburgh Castle

And the yet to be seen Holyrood.  We are staying in an apartment in Lady Stair Close. A close is an alleyway between buildings leading to a passage way to tenements.  It seems that there are lots of them here and I mean to go down a few of them over the next couple of days. 

We started our first day here early. We took a tour to Stirling Castle - the castle that you had to capture if you wanted to rule Scotland.  

While not terrible impressive from this picture, it was very impressive when you got in and started looking around.  There has been a castle of some sort on this high point since at least 1100. The current castle was created by James V.

We had a tour guide at the castle, who not only looked like my brother but had his love of history and his ability to tell a story. We learned the story of poor Mary Queen of Scots, her father James V died when she was just six days old, she being an only child became queen, crowned at nine months - we were told she cried thru out the ceremony.  Pretty bad start to a pretty bad life.  Being a princess is not all its cracked up to be.

We went on this tour with a company called Rabbi's Tours.  Small groups - our group was really small - my beloved, myself and two women from Austrailia and our driver and guide Davy boy. Named so because he had four older brothers and his name was David and so he became Davy Boy. Anyway, he was a spectacular guide - talked all the way about stuff we really wanted to hear about.   Mary Queen of Scots, Robert the Bruce, William Wallace, Rob Roy, it was a short lesson in Scots history.  He was one of those people that really loves his job and shares his love of his country with facts , humor and pride. He also told us about his Aunt Mary who believed in the tradition of telling young people their history - he loved to hear her stories and he seemed to have inherited her  love of telling those stories. Thank heavens for the Auntie Mary's of the world. 

After Stirling, we headed to Loch Lomond, the biggest loch in Scotland. It has about 20 - 40 islands in it. Some big, some small, some occupied and some not. Some have names, this one is named The Old Lady's Island

It was a calm cold afternoon walk down to the shores of the loch.  By this time it was getting dark and we were started back to Edinburgh.  Of course we did see some cute friends along the way

We ended the night as a pub called The World's End, so called because it is built on the foundation of the old wall that surrounded Edinburgh in medieval times. A time when most people born here never left the city, never went beyond the wall.

Thankfully, we go beyond our walls now, otherwise how would we see these places and meet these people that share so much of their history with us.

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