A Room With A View*

Before you have ever been to Edinburgh, Scotland, people will tell you, “Edinburgh is a beautiful city.” ¬†You think to yourself, “why does everyone say that?” I wondered if I would come away from my trip saying the exact same words to others. I do.

My simple explanation is that the architecture is beautiful. As you walk the city, you may find yourself pausing to admire architecture right and left. Before we even left our hotel, I was enchanted with this view out our window.

#cathedral, #saintmarys, #stmarys, #architecture, #edinburgh, #scotland
View of Saint Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland from our room in the Hilton Grosvenor.

The curve of the street leading to the Cathedral in the West End makes lovely leading lines. This photograph was taken in late evening dusk, around 10pm.

*With apology to E. M. Forster for using the name of his book title.

From the top of Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle towers over today’s modern city of Edinburgh, Scotland from its perch atop Castle Rock. From the top on a clear day, you can enjoy a beautiful vista clear over to the harbor at the Firth of Forth.

#view, #vista, #edinburgh, #castle, #clearday, #travel, #castlerock
Fantastic view from Edinburgh Castle, looking east. Notice the 16 century dog cemetery in the lower right of the photo.

The Castle holds within its walls numerous buildings built from the 12th century to the 20th century. The oldest building is the tiny Saint Margaret’s Chapel, just large enough to hold about 10 people, if they aren’t too large.

#stmargaret, #edinburghcastle, #oldestbuilding, #edinburgh, #castle, #chapel
Tiny St. Margaret’s Chapel from the 12th century, restored in the 18th century.

The newest building is the Scottish National War Memorial, built after the First World War to commemorate the Scots who gave their lives in wartime.

#edinburgh, #castle, #memorial, #scotland, #remembrance, #travel
The Scottish National War Memorial, dedicated in 1927 features beautiful architecture and stained glass windows.

The Upper Ward and the huge cannon “Mons Meg” represent the 15th and 16th century, a period when the castle was the site of battles.

#flag, #castle, #edinburgh, #tickets, #history, #tour, #travel
The Scotland flag flies (featuring Saint Andrew’s cross), and the summer sun illuminates the 15th and 16th century buildings of the Upper Ward of Edinburgh Castle.

There is much more to discover in Edinburgh Castle, including the Crown Jewels (which may not be photographed), the Great Hall, a suffocating old prison and a military history museum.

#prison, #dark, #crowded, #history, #conditions, #edinburgh, #castle
Can you imagine living in filth in this old prison within Edinburgh Castle? How many men to a hammock?

Buy your tickets ahead of time online, and allow yourself plenty of time on what will hopefully be a clear day.

Bring a bit of Scotland home

Visiting Edinburgh Scotland for the first time, we had a wonderful time walking the cobblestone streets, admiring the architecture, having a pint in the pub and exploring its castles and cathedrals. Naturally, photography helps to preserve those memories. Shopping for a bit of the culture to bring home will too.

The Scots are known for the colorful plaids that traditionally represent different clans, woven into woolen kilts or warm scarves. Today a dizzying array of plaids sold on soft, cozy scarves and wraps make it very difficult to choose one — or two or three. What will match my winter coat? What will my daughter like? They are all so beautiful!

#scaraves, #shopping, #wool, #cashmere, #edinburgh, #gift, #travel, #culture, #clan, #color, #choice
A glimpse into this basket of wool scarves in an Edinburgh shop reveals the many choices in Scottish plaids.

Shop Edinburgh

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love to shop abroad. So, it’s no surprise that my favorite street in Edinburgh, Scotland is a shopping street lined with boutiques.

#victoria, #victoriastreet, #edinburgh, #scotland, #cities, #shopping, #eating, #eatinganddrinking, #shopedinburgh, #travel
Victoria Street slopes downhill and to the left, revealing numerous brightly colored storefronts.

On this one street, which was the inspiration for “Diagon Alley” in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter book, one can buy cards, tweeds, cheese, jewelry, a gourmet French dinner and yes, even a magic wand.

 

 

Art for the Illiterate

In the Middle Ages, stained glass windows taught the Scriptures to the illiterate, but today the educated admire them for their beauty and artistry. Saint Giles Cathedral in the heart of Edinburgh features some stunning stained glass as well as a beautiful architecture.

In St. Giles Cathedral, the leader of the Scottish reformation John Knox preached and converted the church from a Catholic to a Presbyterian place of worship in the 16 century. Knox had the stained glass removed, as he opposed anything that separated one from God, according to travel writer Rick Steves. Nineteenth century Victorians installed the stained glass we admire today.

#architecture, #church, #cathedral, #scotland, #stainedglass, #presbyterian
Looking across the nave from one side aisle to the other, you can see the pointed arches and the small stained glass windows in the aisles.
#church, #scotland, #stainedglass, #art, #window, #religion, #edinburgh
At the end of the side aisle, find this large window that depicts the crucifixion and ascension of Jesus.
#stgiles, #edinburgh, #scotland, #church, #cathedral, #art, #stainedglass, #scripture, #window
Modern style window crowns the center aisle. The colors and boat scenes are dramatic.

I photographed these windows by propping the camera on the pew, and setting my Sony a7rII camera on ISO 2000. The images were lightly processed in Adobe Lightroom. I found the Sony performed quite well in dimly lit church interiors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ready for the U.K.?

I’ve been busy reading and preparing for my upcoming trip to Edinburgh, Scotland and Newcastle, England. Ideas were swirling ’round and ’round in my head as I was trying to fall asleep last night. How many castles, cathedrals and closes will I explore? Will I rely on the train, or will I be bumbling ’round Northumberland on the left side of the road? Will I have time to see the Firth of Forth, or will I be distracted by cashmere on Princes Street?

If you haven’t subscribed to this blog, now might be a good time. I’m feeling inspired!

#lupine, #meadow, #flowers, #purple, #pennsylvania, #sewickley, #sony, #sonyzeiss, #travel
Saying good-bye to the lupines in Pennsylvania, as I pack my bags for an adventure in Scotland and northern England.