Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Rail Trip

When last I left you, we had returned to Edinburgh, where we spent the next couple of days.  Hubby had lots of plans, and our first full day was spent retracing our steps from 1996.  Back we went to Linlithgow Palace and Stirling Castle.  In '96, we went to the castle first, and the palace second.  This time, we stopped off at the palace first.  I already mentioned the Patchwork shop in this post, so I'll skip it this go around.

We began the day at Waverly Station.  This is the view, as we took the elevator down to the bowels of the station.
 Once inside, we bought our tickets.  As Pete ran out the door, I paused to capture this poster, which had me laughing out loud.  "Bums in Seats"?  In the US, they prefer no bums in seats.  But bums aren't bums, and despite knowing the difference, I kept chuckling.  yup.  Easily amused.
The chuckle ended when my spouse disappeared out the door and into the crowd.  He came back to chide me for dawdling.  He'd neglected to let me know that we had about 3 minutes to catch the train.  Then he dashed through the turnstile with all of the tickets, leaving me behind again.  He came back wondering about the hold up, gave me a ticket, and took off again.  When it didn't work, one of the station masters looked at it.  It was a return ticket FROM Stirling, so of course I couldn't use it.  He came back AGAIN, and this time gave me the correct slip of paper.  whew!  We stepped onto the train as the door closed behind us.  Made it!

Once I teased him about how it would have been so much easier and cheaper to have left me stateside, instead of hauling me all the way to Scotland to be done with me, we settled down and enjoyed the ride.
 Linlithgow Palace was...the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots?  At least I think it was.  It played a predominant role in her life.  It's been a few weeks, and the specifics are becoming less specific.
 We were encouraged to go to the top of the tallest tower first, because "The sky is blue!  The sky is rarely blue this year!"  We saw cobalt blue skies on multiple days.  It was spectacular.
 This is the view looking down from the tower.  The fountain in the center still functions, but it only runs on Sundays during a couple of summer months.  We'd missed seeing it by a day or two, and they'd shut it off for the season.  (My close-up shot of the fountain keeps coming up sideways, so we'll skip it.)
 We spent at least an hour roaming around the palace.  Actually, I sat in the courtyard and wrote in my journal after exploring about 1/4 of it.  Husband went through the entire thing, reading every informative plaque he could find.  I glance at plaques for the highlights, and prefer to experience the buildings with all of my senses instead.

Once back on the train, we headed to Stirling.  I think they said that Stirling was the most sieged castle, changing hands a dozen times, back and forth between English and Scottish control.  Eventually James VI of Scotland also became James 1 of England, the first Scot to sit on the British throne.  He was the son of Mary Queen of Scots.  Stirling became a showplace under his rule, however once he became the King of England, he only returned to Scotland once. 

This is the approach to Stirling Castle.  It was about a 20 minute walk up the hill from the train station.  It's the uphill that makes it take 20 minutes, not the distance.
 This statue is a representation of either James V or James VI, I'm not sure which.  He was known to dress as a peasant and wander down to the town.  He would sit in the pubs and listen to what his subjects had to say about him and his rule. 
 The Great Hall has been restored to its 16th century glory.  The guide told us that at that time, ALL of the buildings were lime-washed with ochre, to give them a golden glow when seen from a distance.  Apparently when the restorers unveiled the new color in the late 1990's, the locals were aghast, labeling it as an egregious act of vandalism.
 You can see the Great Hall peeking out from behind this portion of the old castle.  The remainder of the buildings have lost their lime wash and are naked stone.  The foreground is the Queen's Garden.  I think we arrived during a changing of the plantings, because there weren't as many blooms as I remember from years ago.
This altar was set up inside the chapel.  The cloth was appliqued, beaded, and embroidered.
 This is one of the restored rooms inside the castle.  I believe it was just inside/under the statue of King James that I showed you earlier.  They had guides in costume, to help you "experience" 16th century life.  It reminded me too much of Disneyland.
 My husband was taken by the reproduction carvings in the ceiling.  Above the docent's head were 36 of these carvings, each depicting a different figure.  Many of them were Greek or Roman gods, as well as Scotland's kings or queens.
 Upstairs, in a light and humidity-controlled room, they had the original carvings on display.  The paint had completely worn off over the centuries.
And I think that with that, I will end this installment.  One thing I loved were the cobblestone streets, which were found in almost every place we went.  It's hard to imagine roads that never need repair.  Maybe we should have cobblestone highways in CA?  Or not.  I just really, really loved looking at them.
Right alongside such historic artifacts are signs that remind you that you are not back in the olden days.  I saw many "dog fouling" signs, but this one had the most informative image.  Just in case you weren't sure how to do it?  I don't know, but I think it's pretty funny.  :)
And with that, I'll end this.  Hope I haven't bored you to tears!!

1 comment:

Barbara Sindlinger said...

Amazing. Love the old castles and palaces. And the funny signs.