Saturday, August 13, 2011

holyrood and greyfriars

In Edinburgh we were staying on the royal mile, very close to the castle, but after walking up into the courtyard, through the gauntlet of be-tartaned ye olde gifte shoppes, we decided that although the castle was impressive, we'd rather see Holyroodhouse Palace and the Abbey.

The Abbey is beautiful, and it was amazing just to be walking around in temperate weather, among living, non-scorched gardens. Our friend and host Jamie would apologize when it drizzled and misted but we were too busy running outside with our faces up and our mouths open.

The story of the Abbey is that David I followed a stag in the forest, and was thrown from his horse. He was saved from being gored by the appearance of a crucifix in the stag's antlers. He grasped the cross, and in gratitude, founded an abbey on the site.

So... there are lots of deer statues.

The royal tombs in the Abbey are sort of bundled away into a back corner closet with a padlock on the outside. Understandable, since apparently they tend to get ransacked every time a mob moves through town (apparently, a lot).

Imagine living in a place where moss grows on stuff.

This is one of the tombs at Greyfriars Abbey. They form a square around the central yard, and each one backs up and shares a wall with the apartment building behind it. I guess when you've been living on top of each other for so long, there's less of a stigma if your neighbors happen to be very very quiet. In Oxford we stopped in a little coffee shop across from the camera where the outdoor tables were sitting on flat gravestones in the yard of St. Mary's. The names and dates were mostly rubbed away, and I suppose if you were looking for someone in particular you could ask your fellow coffee drinkers to scoot over or something.

The hill behind the abbey is Arthur's Seat, which we did not climb. We looked up admiringly at those who did, and decided to climb the much smaller Calton Hill. But first I made someone else carry the baby.

1 comment:

christie said...

i am so glad you guys got to go. i loved Edinburgh. one of my favorite parts (aside from hanging out with jamie) was going into the cemetery.