Tour day – Rosslyn Chapel and the Scottish Borders

Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Another tour day, this time we are headed south of Edinburgh. Highlights will include the rolling hills of the lowlands, a stop at the inspirational view point of Sir Walter Scott and then ending at Rosslyn Chapel.

We made our way over to the starting point in the drizzling rain; little did we know what weather lie ahead for today’s journey. Our driver / guide today will be Jodie. We have our full compliment of sixteen people loaded so off we go – cue the rain. It rained steadily the entire day, with a few bursts of downpours. While it surely took a bit away from the overall experience, it was still an interesting journey.

On our way to Sir Walter Scott’s inspirational point, Jodie shared some history of the area and told us the story of Mary Queen of Scots. Mary lived a rough life, even though she was crowned Queen at only 6 days old after the death of her father. She was married three times, imprisoned by her cousin Queen Elizabeth I, and was beheaded as a traitor to the state at the age of 44. Luckily, we arrived at the viewpoint before the story became any more lurid.

Despite the rain, the view was beautiful. Definitely inspirational, especially for someone coming from the excesses of the city.

Back on the bus and off to see the first William Wallace memorial. It was an oversized statue built on a hill overlooking the valley. This one wasn’t our favorite as we had to hike about fifteen minutes in the rain to get there from the car park. It played into the itinerary, so we grumbled quietly to ourselves.

Our next stop was the town of Melrose. We had a little time to see this quaint little town and also Melrose Abbey. Melrose Abbey is where William “Braveheart” Wallace’s heart is buried. Since we’ve not seen the movie, we were forced to learn the true facts rather than the movie version. Interesting and definitely a hero of the people.

Finally, for us DaVinci Code people, the final stop on the tour – Rosslyn Chapel. Very charming little chapel on the lands owned by the Sinclair family, with much mystery surrounding it. Inside the chapel, floor to ceiling, are carvings that are still argued about today.

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Rosslyn Chapel

It truly was a site to see. Angels, devils, animals of every kind, people, fruit, flowers and mysterious faces everywhere. Yet, the stained glass windows kept it spiritual and warm feeling.

A couple of interesting notes: the chapel was falling into ruin and had actually been abandoned for a great many years. When the Dan Brown book came out, the Rosslyn Trust people were thrilled. The additional tourists it brought in helped bring in some extra funds for restorations. When the movie people came calling, the Rosslyn Trust people were ecstatic. The film makers helped out greatly with the restorations and additional tourist funds have allowed the trust to restore and protect the chapel for the future.

As for the supposed treasure, I think the chapel itself is a treasure.

With this as our last stop, we journeyed back to Edinburgh and bid farewell to Jodie before heading back to the apartment.

Tonight’s dinner is at a restaurant called Michael Neave – Kitchen and Whisky Bar. This is another highly anticipated dinner (aren’t they all). Dinner was fabulous! The restaurant definitely lived up to the ravings we had heard – casual yet elegant, great food, terrific service and reasonably priced. We both thoroughly enjoyed our meals from start to finish – ratatouille, scallops, lamb, venison and sticky toffee soufflés. Our main wine for the evening was a Mercurey Burgundy. On our way out, Sue even had a chance to compliment the chef.

Beautiful evening as we strolled back to the hotel – and it wasn’t raining!

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Edinburgh at night

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