Cai is getting married to her darling Englishman!  And, of course, she’s getting married in England.  So, after two and a half years of staying put, I headed to Edinburgh, where Sam and Sarah joined me for a few days before we made our way to Northumberland.

We walked down the Royal Mile, slipping into a few closes, entries, courts, or wynds along the way.  Yes, there were St. Giles’ Cathedral, John Knox’s house, and the modern Scottish Parliament building, along with throngs of tourists like us.  It was lovely to be back.  We were too late to visit Holyrood, but stopped for tea at the visitors center.


We caught a glimpse of Arthur’s Seat just beyond.

Dinner that night was at a pub just around the corner from our hotel. From our second floor perch we could see the crowds of people stopping for a drink, but they eventually thinned out. I had some sort of steak and kidney pie that was quite good, while others had haggis, ditto. Great view of the Victorian decorated ceilings from our seat.

Gilded ceiling and thistly wallpaper

The next day we took a bus to visit Rosslyn Chapel, known to the cognoscenti from the Dunnett books, known to lesser mortals from Dan Brown’s. The bus stopped in a little hamlet, and we walked to the chapel, booking tickets for after lunch. We wandered downhill through woods, with great views of the chapel,

and on to the ruins of Roslin Castle (spelling is all over the place: Rosslyn, Roslin, Roslyn, etc.).

It turns out that you can rent the castle through the National Trust if you wish. And of course the dog lovers found a couple of dogs off leash!

After a nice lunch at Dolly’s Tea Room

(yes, there is such a thing as vegetarian haggis!),

we made our way back to the chapel itself.

Founded in 1446 and still used for weekly services, the chapel has had its ups and downs. Cromwell’s men stabled their horses inside at one point, and over time it gently decayed. A restoration in Victorian times, followed by a more robust effort in the ’50s, and most recently a very thorough redo completed in 2013 have left it in good shape and open to the public again.

The stonework is quite remarkable, with many grotesques and gargoyles.

We went inside for a bit of a guided tour, where the leader pointed out numerous green men carved on pillars, plus the famous apprentice’s pillar, but since photos are not allowed, here’s a link to a great online tour.

Headed back to the city, we had dinner at a nice casual place that featured lots of interesting drinks, good hamburgers, a very knowledgeable waitress, and a great sign. Yes, this was the place where I left my purse on the back of the chair (which I did years ago at the cafe by Arthur’s Seat, so it’s a tradition). Luckily, they had found it and put it aside, so all ended well when I came by the next morning.

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