Sunday, March 9, 2008

My Favorite Place -- Scotland

My town isn't much to talk about. So rather than join in "My Town Monday" series, I'm going my own direction with "My Favorite Place". If there is one place I would live outside the US, it is Scotland. In the first place, it is sparsely populated..which I like. In the second place, it is rich in history, which I love. In the third place, even though I have a German name, most of my ancestory is Scottish and Irish. Whenever I visit Scotland, it really feels like I am returning home. Or, hame, as the Scots would say.

So to get things rolling, I'm starting out with some views of my favorite city, Edinburgh...and I'm not a city guy. What I like about Edinburgh is that everything worth seeing can be reached on foot...assuming one is moderately fit. Edinburgh, like Rome, is built on seven hills, two of which are extinct volcanos at either end of the old city.

Above is Edinburgh Castle. One cannot get lost in Edinburgh as long as the castle is visible. The extinct volcano upon which the current castle sits has been occupied by fortresses or castles since at least 600 C.E. The earliest recorded king who resided here was Mynnyndogg, who feasted and drank with his warriors before heading south to do battle with the Angles the next morning. He and his drunken band were slaughtered by the Angles.

This is the view of "the front door" at night. See, you can't even get lost at night because the castle is illuminated. This view is from the esplanade, where the famous "Military Tatoo" takes place every August.

From the "Castle Hill", this is the famous Balmoral Hotel (cheap rooms are a mere £250 per night). In the background is Calton Hill, which has a collection of monuments. The tall one is the Nelson Monument. In the right foreground is Waverly Station.

The house on the right was where John Knox, Protestant Reformer and pastor of St Giles Cathedral lived. The taller connected house to the left is thought to be the oldest surviving house in Edinburgh (apart from the castle) dating to around 1400.

At the other end of "The Royal Mile" from Edinburgh Castle, is Holyrood Palace. When the Queen holds court in Scotland, Holyrood Palace is where she stays. The little building here is known as Queen Mary's Bath House. Reputedly where Mary, Queen of Scots would bathe when in residence in Holyrood. Typically, buildings such as a bath house where fire would be present were kept separate from the living quarters. The new Scottish Parliament Building is out of the picture across the street on the right.

Lastly the monument to Greyfriar's Bobby, the wee Skye terrier who kept watch over his master's grave in Greyfriar's Kirk Yard for 14 years from 1858 until his death in January 1872. Certainly the most photographed dog in Edinburgh and probably in the world. Bobby is buried on a small piece of ground on the edge of the cemetery about ten yards from his master's grave. More on Bobby in a later post, but for now, this concludes your introductory tour of my favorite city.


The Muse said...

Edinburgh is a beautiful place! My mother and I visited when I was about 15 and we fell in love with it.

I don't know that I could choose just one place to live outside of the US. There are so many beautiful spots. I do know that the place would have to either be on a coast or close by one.

J. L. Krueger said...


That's the nice thing about Scotland. No matter where you are, the sea is less than 40 miles away. ;)

Alyson Noel said...

Beautiful pics! Have not been to Scotland--yet-- but hope to someday!

Ello said...

Oh what a glorious post! I wish I could go. I really do! and the pics were awesome! I love history melded with pictures to give me the perfect feeling of having visited. THanks for this!