Scotland: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Castles and Edinburgh
As we tendered off the cruise ship into the port of Queensferry, we struck up a conversation with a lady and we asked where she was from, and she said “Fresno, California”. She was traveling alone but with a group of 9.
The tender went under an incredible railroad bridge that has been designated as a UNESCO World heritage site. We also saw two other suspension bridges, one just under construction, for auto’s traveling into the City of Edinburg.
Dave, Sharon and Jean have been to Edinburgh before. So Sharon and Dave decided to do their own walking tour and we decided to do the “Hop On, Hop Off” bus just to get an hour’s tour of the overall city before deciding on what we specially wanted to see.
The tour was interesting, but traffic was heavy in downtown Edinburgh, so it was slow going, which was fine with us. Edinburgh is divided into the”new city” and the “old city”. The new city was still hundreds of years old, pretty old, by our standards, but intermingled were new office buildings and some nice homes, and including one
of Edinburgh’s most famous thoroughfares, Princes Street. This is a very lively shopping district and is populated only by pedestrians and public transportation. It was from this street that as we looked up, we saw the most stunning views of Edinburgh castle. High on an outcropping, the castle was impregnable and has never been breached.
It is the “old city” that got our attention. The Queen’s summer palace, Holyrood Palace, was stunning, and the flag was flying over the Palace, so we know the Queen was in residence as we rode by. The Palace was built originally in the early 16th
century, but burned in 1650, and rebuilt, and was designated the Queen’s official residence in Scotland in the 1920’s. But, the palace is most notoriously known as the home of Mary, Queen of Scots, and was the backdrop of many of the dramatic episodes during her turbulent reign before she was beheaded!
We left the bus on the road to Edinburgh Castle. We walked up the hill past shops and restaurants to the expansive entry overlooking the city. One of the most impressive locations and structures we have ever seen, particularly because of the location on the
cliffs/hill of the city. The oldest building on the hill is St. Margaret’s Chapel. It remained intact until 14 March 1314, when the castle was captured. It was built as a private royal chapel by King David I and dedicated it to his mother, Queen Margaret, before she was canonized. It was also used in the 1500’s s a gunpowder storage room before it was rediscovered and restored in 1845…what an incredibly special place.
Our favorite place was the history of the “Dog Cemetery”, right below the church. This was used as a burial place for dogs since 1840. The dogs were Royal Scots regimental mascots and soldiers pet dogs and has headstones commemoration the “royal dogs”, like “Winkle, Dear and Faithful Friend of Lady Gov and the Governor” who died in 1980.
Did you know that all the chimneys on the top of the homes in Europe represent how many fireplaces there are in the home? There is a chimney for each fireplace. So on some large homes you might find 20-200 chimneys!
So… not to be missed, on the way out of town and back to Queensberry, the most amazing thing happened… out
of the blue to our right was… Harry Potter’s alma mater, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry LOL
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