I wonder what this city would have been like 300 years ago as I drive around on top of the top decker bus in Edinburgh old town. “the next stop is Edinburgh Castle” interrupted the conductor. I grabbed all my things and hurried off the bus into a busy cobbled street I look up and see an enormous old building in front of me. The Edinburgh castle is bigger than I thought. While walking towards the castle, I remembered back to the stories my Scottish-born Australian Nana told me I couldn’t believe it I was finally here seeing it in person. As I am looking at the castle, I could not help, but wish she was here with me, but I know she is here with me in spirit.
I found myself at the front of the castle there was a big group of people standing around waiting for something I decide to walk towards the crowd to see what was happening. While standing in the huge crowd, we heard a bang then another bang it sounded like someone was playing the drums. Then I hear the familiar sound of the bagpipes realising what I was about to witness I look for an advantage point to see it. I see a gap near the fence with no one standing in front of it, so I quickly walk towards it just in time to see the Scottish pipe band walk past me wearing their red, green and yellow kilts and frilly black head wear. I was finally Scotland I whisper to myself as I watch the rest of the band walk past me. What a lovely day I thought while looking up at the clear sky. My Nana would have loved to see this I thought.
My Nana Elizabeth came to Australia on a ship when she was a young girl. She Left behind a country that she loved and cherished. Even though she left at such a young age and never went back, She was still able to remember a lot about Scotland.
“You are going to love it, Madison, the old buildings are gorgeous,” my Nana said with a smile when I told her about my plans to travel to Scotland. Sadly two months later she unexpectedly passed away. I was grief stricken as I lost someone that I looked up to and adored. I feel that being in Scotland; I’m closer to my Nan while visiting places that she saw as a young child.
The sounds of the pipe drifted off, and the entrance gates opened up, and people start to drift in. I walk through the gates and see a map of the castle on a bench I pick it up and while looking at the map I decide a walk around the castle walls to get my bearings and to take in the breathtaking views of Edinburgh and surrounds would be a great start.
As I walk around the edge of the castle walls, I can see a siege gun in front of me. As I walk closer, I can see a sign that says it’s a Mons Heg and it was used to fire stones that weighed 150kg and could shoot them 32 km away.
I look at my map and see that the Royal Palace and Crown Jewels are nearby intrigued I decide to go there next. I wanted to find out more about The Royal Family of Scotland because my Nana always said she had Royal Blood in her family history. I enter the Royal Palace and see a sign saying that the Crown Jewels are to the right I follow the sign and find myself in a dark room with a line of people. As I get closer, I can see a glimpse of the bright and shiny jewels. The jewels are important in the history of Scotland because there were all used together for the coronation of the Mary Queen Of The Scots in 1543.
In the next room, I come face to face with The Stone of Destiny a powerful and ancient symbol of The Scottish Monarchy. It has had quite an interesting history Edward 1 of England stole it in 1296 and took it to Westminster Abbey. There it laid for 700 years at the base of the coronation chair until a group of Scottish students decided to steal it and take it back to Scotland. The public outcry that followed put pressure on the police to find it and bring it back to the Westminster Abbey. After a couple of months, the police found it in Arbroath Abbey and took it back to London. In 1996 on St Andrews day the stone was finally back on Scottish land and come to its now home Edinburgh castle where it is at all times until there is another coronation.
As I came out of The Royal Palace, I feel a drip of water fall on my head looking up to the sky, the blue sky has turned grey, and rain is slowly coming down I decide to check out the last few rooms. In true Australian fashion, I choose to call it a day and head to the pub nearby for drinks and to dry up.
In memory of Elizabeth Gilchrist who gave me my obsession with Scotland and inspired me to go on a Scottish adventure.