Day 9- Rosslyn Chapel

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& every breath we drew was Hallelujah.

Leonard Cohen.

rosslyn-chapel-scotland

I didn’t take a photo of our breakfast on this morning and it was one of my favorite ones!

I had a hard-boiled egg and Chris had eggs, toast and bacon.  My hard-boiled egg was really delicious – I had never gotten an egg like this before.  It came in the little egg cup but I didn’t know how to eat it like that (turns out you cut off the top!) so I took it out of the little dish and peeled it like an American.  It was cooked just right – a mostly solid but a bit jelled like yellow part and fully cooked white part.  I added a bunch of salt and pepper and it was very good.  Some jam might have gotten on there too.

We walked out of the B&B and started towards the bus stop we would need to get to Roslin.  Today’s activity was at the top of Chris’s must do list and a very exciting day.  It was June 22nd, a beautiful warm sunny day with a high of 20 degrees (68 degrees Fahrenheit) and a great breeze.  It felt a lot like spring in Tennessee but with no humidity or little allergens floating around.   The stop we were getting on our first bus was a bit further away than the one that took us into the city and we got to pass lots of houses and children walking to school in their uniforms.  It was so cool to feel like we were in the middle of day-to-day life for the Scottish people.  It was like we were one of them.  I’m still coming to terms with the fact that we are not actually Scottish.

We took two city buses to get to Roslin.  As we drove we got to see the more normal single houses around the city and also some larger stores where people shop – TK Max, a grocery store, some restaurants that looked a lot like Panera.  I looked this area up on the map after we got home and found a house on Google maps that I would like to have.  The area seemed quiet and safe and you can see Edinburgh city center in the background.  You can even see out to the water.

Edinburgh House

Our route from Edinburgh to Roslin.  It is just about a twenty minute drive but took a bit longer since we were on a bus that was making stops.

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You can see on the map the blue dotted line was our walk to the first bus stop, the yellow line was the first bus, then we walked a bit more to the second bus stop and took that blue line all the way to Roslin.

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We got off our bus stop in Roslin, Midlothian Scotland and found a beautiful quiet little village with a few bed and breakfasts and some shops.  Right across the street from the bus stop there was a small road that led down to the chapel.  We walked down it holding hands looking at the view and getting very excited.

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We walked into the beautiful visitors center to get our tickets.  They were 9 pounds (about $12 at the time of this post) each and spent some time looking at the exhibits they have up about the history of the chapel. There was a beautiful timeline of the chapel in the visitor’s center.  When you step out from the center you walk right onto this beautiful pea gravel ground covering and there is Rosslyn Chapel.

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You may know Rosslyn Chapel from the movie the Di Vinci Code.  You might be interested in this place because of the Knights Templar and the Holy Grail.  Or maybe there is a history of freemasonry in your family.  There is a lot of history related to this place but even if you didn’t know anything about it as soon as you glimpsed a view of it you would want to get closer to it.  It is a stunning work of art.05

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Rosslyn Chapel was founded in the mi-15th century by William Sinclair.  It was created as a place to hold Mass for the family.  After the reformation (think Elizabeth 1) worship was discontinued even though the family still continued to use it.  In 1861 the chapel was opened back up as an Episcopal church.  It is still privately owned by the 7th Earl of Rosslyn.

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What is so amazing about this chapel are the stories told in intricately carved stone – biblical, masonic pagan and knights Templar themes are all there-inside and outside. The whole building has been carved into an artwork of storytelling. The chapel was originally a pinkish color. It was only later when they were trying to repair damage that they covered it with a coating of asphalt. Can you imagine what it must have looked like lit up at night? There are stories of people thinking it was on fire because of how brightly it shown.  It would be amazing to go for an evening visit.

The ceiling is domed and split up into sections- each one with different carvings. My favorite was the one with huge stars carved all over it.

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While we were there a staff member came out and told us some of the history of the chapel.  We sat on the cool stone bench listening and looking all around the inside at various things she pointed her flashlight towards.

There is no photography allowed inside.  We heard so many complaints about this.  But really, we had no problem with putting our camera and phones away.  It would have felt disrespectful not to.  Other people  traveled so far to experience it.  They don’t want to see your flash going off.  But more so putting away these things allows you to connect and be present.  You can check out the Rosslyn Chapel website for more info and to get a peek inside.

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There were not very many people visiting while we were there and it was easy to wait until everyone had passed by to get some photos without other tourists in them.  It was very calm and peaceful.

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After a while we decided we ready to check out the gift shop and café.  The building was bright and beautiful- very modern with a wall of windows looking out over Rosslyn gardens.  In the corner of the shop was an area to buy all kinds of coffee, soup, sandwiches and pastries.  We ordered a chicken salad sandwich to split.  They brought it out to us on real plates and had it already cut in half with chips on each plate.  It was really delicious and definitely the best museum/attraction food we ate during the trip. We also had a coffee.  We decided we needed a sweet treat after lunch and I got two deserts.

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I noticed a family of three sitting at the table next to us – it looked like a guy with his grandparents.  He had a really awesome filter on his camera lens so I leaned over to ask him about it.  He was super friendly and we looked at each other’s cameras and starting talking with what turned out to be his dad and step-mom.  They were from Liverpool, England.

We left the visitors center and walked the short walk back up to the bus stop.  While we were waiting we started to see people in fancy clothes standing about.  We wondered if maybe there was a wedding happening.  Then we started to see people walking down the central street of the village towards the chapel.  They were all dressed very fancy.  And then the bag pipe players came walking by and soon enough we knew we were watching a funeral procession down to Rosslyn Chapel.  We stood silent as they walked by, listening to the bag pipes and thinking our own thoughts.  This was another very magical moment that we won’t ever forget.

This would be an amazing place to walk.  The Rosslyn Chapel website gives multiple directions for how to get there but one that interests me the most is their By Foot option.  The chapel is on the St. Ninian Journey route from Edinburgh to Whithorn- a Pilgrim Journey built by Scotland’s Churches Trust.  The website links to an awesome walking tool that will give you all sorts of themed walks throughout the UK.

However, we took the bus back the way we came and enjoyed some beautiful scenery out the window.

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When we got back to Edinburgh city center it was still early in the day – only about 2pm.  We decided to head down to the Royal Mile and check it out.  I loved walking through the streets and shops.  There were so many little closes to look down and wonder about.  It started to rain a bit and we just ducked into a shop for a moment and then the rain would stop.  There were some musicians playing out in the street and lots of people eating outside.

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There were lots of shops selling beautiful woolen things, markets to walk through selling artwork and a bunch of little shops selling regional foods.  When we stay in Edinburgh for an extended amount of time I will be visiting these shops often to stock up on jams and chocolate.

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I loved seeing this Isle of Skye sea salt chocolate!! We had been on the western islands just days before.

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I quite wanted one of these highland stoneware coasters for my desk at home.

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We passed by Greyfriars Bobby- a statue of a popular legend in Edinburgh about a pup who spent 14 years guarding the grave of his owner.  It is supposedly good luck to rub his nose.

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I decided that I actually did want to go and see The Elephant House (where J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book).  Chris said ‘Ok, let’s go’ and looked it up on the map he had downloaded onto his phone.  We had a great time walking there and I was so happy we had taken the time to rest the day before.  I was feeling full of energy at this point.  This coffee house is really awesome.  It is decorated really beautifully and has lots of tasty treats.  Visitors are invited in for a photo and asked to donate some change to whatever charity Rowling is working with at the time.  There is a large area that tells about the charity on the wall inside.  So I put some change into the jar and Chris took a few photos of me.

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For dinner we decided to try out Tuk Tuk – the Indian place that was recommended by the B&B. This was one of our favorite meals of the trip!

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Tuk Tuk was on our way back towards our B&B so we just got off the bus line and walked right in.  It was decorated with old movie posters.

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We split a dinner for two with Butter Chicken and an Indian soda.  It also came with dahl (lentils) and pakora (fried vegetables). I’m not a huge fan of chicken but this was quite tasty and the buttery, creamy sauce with almonds was good enough to drink like soup.   We got garlic naan and the Pilau rice.  We loved Tuk Tuk!! There are a couple of restaurants I would fly back over there for and this is one of them.

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After dinner we walked about a block to the bus stop we needed and spent a five minute ride on the bus watching the city go by.  We hopped off and walked another block to our B&B but we both felt a bit restless and decided we needed to stock up on snacks for the trip to London.  So we headed back out onto the street and down a few blocks to the market.  I think I was starting to get my walking legs by this day.

We passed this Guest House sign and I loved the little graphic for the Full Scottish breakfast.

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I’m including a map here just so you can see how close everything is together and how livable and walkable the city is.

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I Loved this market.  It had everything from grapes and specialty cheeses to frozen pizzas and protein bars and bottles of wine.  I could totally see myself stopping in on my way home from work for things to make a cheese plate dinner.  It was small- about the size of a gas station – but very clean.  And you can see that a pizza place, Chinese take out and a coffee shop are all on the way.

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Those Trek bars were our favorite – we got the chocolate ones.  I order nakd bars from Amazon UK – the chocolate orange ones are incredible.  It was so neat to see them on the shelf.

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We kept our snack bag filled for the whole trip. 🙂

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We got back to our room and spent some serious time cleaning out our suitcases at this point.  Lots of receipts, brochures and loose change got cleaned up and tidied.  We refolded our clothes and separated the dirtiest ones out from the only a bit dirty.  We would be doing some laundry in London.  We packed up everything except what we needed for the rest of the night and the next day’s clothes, took showers, ate a chocolate HobNob and fell asleep.

A last evening look at our view in Edinburgh before bed.

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Hi, I'm Emily!

Thanks for stopping by! A little about me? I live in Tennessee as a teacher, and when I'm not working, I'm reading historical fiction, planning my next trip with my husband or photographing what's around me.Follow along on Instagram and Pinterest and subscribe to my blog for travel tales, tips and more.

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1 Comment

  1. HEAB says: Reply

    Rosslyn Chapel looks amazing – I must go back and see it. Sounds like some incredible history, and I loved the little path that led to it…oh, let’s explore this little path…oh look, a beautiful family cathedral built in the 1400’s. Crazy and so beautiful!

    And two comments regarding your lunch at the cafe: that coffee was not white enough, and those were crisps, not chips. 😉

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