Thursday, April 5, 2012

E: Edinburgh

I had the good fortune to travel to Scotland in 1998 with a friend.  We were both in graduate school, her brother was working in Edinburgh and invited us to use his flat and his car, and so away we went.  We spent 18 days there - a few days in the Highlands but the rest exploring Edinburgh and sites within day-trip distance away.  It was May, so the weather varied from sunny and warm to cool and drizzly.  I loved everything about the city of Edinburgh and would visit again at the drop of a hat.  My friend and I had some differences of opinion as to our travel agenda, so there are dozens of things I would like to do in the city that we didn't do then, and dozens more things that I'd like to do again.  What I'd really like to get a feel for is how this ancient city, built upon an even more ancient city, is also a modern and vibrant city.  I saw lots of the old (we were staying just a block or so off the Royal Mile) and would love to tour around the entire city and get a feel for the modern part.  And I want to hike all the way up to the top of Arthur's Seat - we made it part way and I can't recall why we didn't go to the top.  And by golly, I'd spend days and days in the Highlands in and around Inverness - what a marvelous place.  I only spent a few hours at Culloden Moor but it gave me goosebumps (it might have had something to do with the strikingly gorgeous Scot in kilt with all the trimmings, running the tours which I was too short of time to attend, too).

One of the most striking memories of my trip was not in Edinburgh itself, but on one of our side trips.  We drove over to the western coast to take the ferry to the Isle of Mull.  There is a castle out on Mull and the shoreline is rocky and starkly beautiful.  I love Celtic crosses and took dozens of photos on the trip of all the various crosses I saw - on statutes, on park benches, in cemeteries.  From the ferry we saw a HUGE cross.  So as we walked up the wooded road to the castle on Mull, I realized that the cross we saw must have just been down the hill and through the woods from where we were walking...and so we followed a path down toward the shore.  We went by a house and came to a pasture that appeared to include the part of the shoreline we were looking for.  So, seeing nothing about, we went into the pasture and continued toward the shore.  And there was this huge Celtic cross right next to that rocky shoreline.  It was a grave - Mary Murray was the name on the cross.  I'm sorry I don't remember what her dates were - I suppose it might be visible from the photos we took.  What a gorgeous place.  I think of Mary Murray from time to time, wondering about her and who put up this beautiful monument to her.  I joke now that I merely expect a ten foot high Celtic cross with my name on it at my gravesite...

5 comments:

  1. I think we should go sky diving in Edinburgh....I've not been there but I sure would like to go. We can throw in sky diving just to make it more adventurous.

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    1. this made me laugh out loud JT - I'm in!

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  2. My husband went to Scotland in 1997 and loved it. He went to Edinburgh too and not sure where else. He'd go back in a heartbeat as well. I've never been. Sounds interesting though. Nice job with the post.

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  3. My husband is obsessed with all things Scottish, having been told that his birth family originated there. (He was adopted from the foster care system at 5 and had very little information regarding his birth family.) I love the story of Mary Murray.

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