The Grandeur of Gloom
Edinburgh Travel Blog› entry 2 of 16 › view all entries
June 22nd, 2007 – by: Isabetlog
I awoke on the plane as we were flying over the North Sea approaching the UK from mainland Europe to find something nocturnal creatures like me don't see very often - the sun rising. It was peeping out of the horizon - bright, beautiful and perfectly round, and had only just begun to vandalize the blackened sky with color. I sat looking out the window for a while watching the sky turn a different shade of blue and admiring what for many is a simple neglectful occurence.
Once in Heathrow, we made for already our second meal of the day. There was a bit of time to kill and, and when you've scoured the little airport boutiques for stuff you really don't need, heading for the nearest tummy treat is always a great option.
It was summertime and anyone on holiday during this season would demand loads of sunshine, clear blue skies and maybe the occassional butterfly or two fluttering about here and there. But this UNESCO World Heritage City couldn't have looked more grand under the rainy, grey skies of June.
The city of Edinburgh is laid out in two halves. At the center of town is Princes Street, the main shopping district, dividing the New Town (which we sadly only drove along) and the Old Town.
Over on the other side and across the 18th century North Bridge is the Old Town. As the name suggests, the Old Town is the seat of the ancient city and where much of her historic past remains tangible.
It was along this route that the city of Edinburgh grew. Stretching four streets (Castle Hill, Lawnmarket, High Street and Canongate), it is now collectively known as the Royal Mile and is the location of other landmarks such as the St.
Of course, the most prominent of all these would be the Edinburgh Castle. There was so much to see along the way that we barely had 2 hours to explore the castle before closing time. The Edinburgh Castle stands on an extinct volcano and is made up of a cluster of buildings dating back from the 12th - the 20th centuries where it had gone from being a fortress, royal palace, military garrison and state prison. It's the birthplace of King James VI, the only son of Mary Queen of Scots, and houses the the nation's crown jewels, or the Honours of Scotland -- the Crown, Scepter and Sword, as well as the Scottish national symbol, the Stone of Destiny.
To think that we didn't have the luxury of time to wander through every open door that welcomed visitors, it still felt like a travel through time -- until we made our approach towards the east end to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. There, sitting on the corner of Canongate is the Scottish House of Parliament, zapping us back to the future. Built in 1997 and designed by 1992 Barcelona Olympics architect Enric Miralles, I thought it was quite an eyesore, not that it lacked aesthetic appeal, but seeing that it resembles an overturned iron makes one wish it had been erected on the other side of town so as not to ruin the old world feel of the city.
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