On Monday, for the first time since I arrived in Edinburgh (barring my trip back to Ireland), I made it out of the city. Without a car, its difficult to go on daytrips – considering this, my day to day life consists mostly of well … working.
During the rare day off, I often explore this town of Edinburgh which has been my home for the last four months. A beautiful town at that – on one side of town – Old Town – you have winding streets based on a medieval plan, Reformation era buildings, and of course the ominous Edinburgh Castle situated on Castle Rock. This Castle, with its commanding location overlooking Edinburgh, sits on a site which has been inhabited since the 850BC. The other side of town – New Town (where I currently stay) – is renowned as a masterpiece in city planning. Originally built to provide overflow from the populated Old Town, New Town was built in stages between 1765 and 1850. Since 1995, both sides of town have been named UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Essentially, the entire city of Edinburgh is deemed a site of, “outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common heritage of humanity.”
Not a bad place to live.
Nonetheless, it was great to leave the hustle and bustle of city life on Monday. My friend Nicole and I made our way south out of town the the Rosslyn Chapel. This beautifully decorated chapel built in the mid 15th Century is home to many myths, legends, and fine decorative stone carving. The chapel was made internationally popular after the publishing of The Da Vinci Code. Prior to the publication of the book – and later the movie – The Rosslyn Chapel would see around 20,000 visitors each year. Since then, they have averaged 120,000 visitors each year. Thanks Dan Brown. The Chapel sits atop a sealed crypt which is rumored to hold the mummified head of Jesus Christ, the Holy Grail, and/or the original crown Jewels of Scotland. Also interesting, among the many fine carvings in the stones of the Chapel, you can find carvings of maize – or American Corn. This is interesting considering the crop was thought to be unknown to Europe at the time of the construction of the Chapel. Some authors use this evidence to argue the fact that a team of Scotsmen actually discovered the Americas before Columbus.
We continued south to the area of Scotland known as the Scottish borders. It was shocking to see how the landscape could change in 50 – 75 miles. Shortly after leaving Edinburgh city centre, we were driving through snow covered hills and mountains. I unfortunately managed to forget my camera … I’ll do my best to get some pictures to share with you all.
In other news, my flat sold. So, come the end of the month, I need to find a new place to stay. A plethora of other decisions are lying at my feet – namely, what the hell am I going to do come the end of my UK Work Visa. Time will tell. And I’ll keep you posted.