I decided yesterday to visit Rosslyn Chapel. For those who have read The Da Vinci Code (or watched the movie), you got a hint that this place has many stories and is steeped in history and legend. The book is where I first learned of this place and it was highly recommended by my travel advisor friends.
Rosslyn Chapel is just outside of Edinburgh – about an hour bus ride. Just catch the #37 on Princes Street and get dropped off in Roslin a small village near the Rosslyn Chapel. (Note: I’m not sure why the chapel is named Rosslyn and the town in Roslin – need to research further.)
The visitor’s center for the chapel is a new building which serves as the gateway to the chapel. Great little gift shop and the center had displays containing good introductory material on the chapel. To be honest, I was getting a little confused when doing some preliminary research. There is so much written on this place, and much is speculation and legend so it can be difficult to tell what is truly proven fact. I decided to head on into the chapel and see for myself.
Picture taking is not allowed in the chapel, so I took some pictures from the outside and supplemented some more from Google. What struck me most when I first entered the chapel was the amount of detail. There were hundreds and hundreds of carvings all over the walls and ceiling. A lot to take in. The guide book I had and also some displays positioned throughout helped me do a self-guided tour. There was an option to have a guide lead a group, that started in 45 minutes, but I decided to discover what I could on my own and perhaps come back another day.
So much to take in. Also, still not sure what was fact, or perhaps fiction. What I saw and appreciated was the accomplishments of skilled craftsmen who worked on the chapel for around 40 years, starting in 1450. And as I kept looking at all of the figures and displays, I was reminded my visit to the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose – the place where the widow kept building and building onto her house over a number of years. Just my opinion, but I couldn’t find a cohesive theme throughout the building – rather it was a collection of symbols without a primer to provide context. Given that, I still found fascinating the creative placement of the figures and sculpture and skill that it took to complete each item. After about 45 minutes I reached my saturation point and it was time to leave.
The chapel, though abandoned at many times throughout the years, has been restored, starting in 1842 and continued on as a working chapel from the time when rededicated during Queen Victoria’s reign. She thought this building should be saved and restored. Some of the figures within the building were not able to be restored, given the years of exposure to the weather, but many more are remarkably well-preserved.
I may return to Rosslyn Chapel if I find anyone who would like to see the place. Or I might watch The Da Vinci Code again and be inspired to take the #37 to the chapel.
Being from Oregon, I was used to seeing Fuchsia plants in hanging baskets on patios and just before Winter, the plants would generally be added to the mulch and you’d get a new plant from Fred Meyer the following year. Imagine my surprise when I found in Scotland there is a hardy variety that survives as an annual. I saw large shrubs of Fuchsia both here in Edinburgh and again in the Outer Herbrides. Below is picture of such a shrub that I saw on the way to the store. Yes, very random, but enjoyed seeing, what I thought was a delicate plant, be so strong and healthy in a cooler climate.
I attended my first InterNations gathering last night. InterNations is a global group of people, from various countries, who gather for primarily social events. Most people are working or living outside of their home country and this organization provides the means to meet up others who are in the same situation. Next week, there is another gathering at the Caledonian (Waldorf Astoria) and expect that over 50 will attend. I’ll write more as I attend more events.