Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Edinburgh & Dumfermline

We flew from Kosovo back to Edinburgh on May 7, landing on a rainy night (it's Scotland). When we were in Kosovo, where the sun was strong every day,  Julia looked in vain for a sun hat. We saw sun hats galore at the airport in London where we had a layover, and in Scotland, where it rained 16 out of the 20 days we were there.

Scottish National Museum, Edinburgh

On Tuesday we took the bus in to Edinburgh and visited the National Museum of Scotland. It would takes at least a week to go through the whole museum. We spent our day in the History of Scotland exhibit. It is six stories starting with primordial Scotland on level -1 through prehistoric on levels 0, 1, Romans and Vikings on level 2 Kings of Scotland on 3 & 4, industry on 5 & 6. We never got past level 2.
This neck chain is solid silver and weighs about 6 kg. It probably wasn't worn to the disco.

The quality of the jewelry was extraordinary. There were several of these brooch pins, some very large.

The "Queen Mary" harp. It's highly decorated and was probably painted. 28 strings, if I remember correctly.

The "Lamont" harp. 32 strings, I think. This one has been repaired and reinforced several times.
These are the only two ancient harp in Scotland which, along with the dozen or so in Ireland, comprise the entire population of Celtic harp from the 15th-16th century. Some of the Irish harps are larger than these two. Here is a link to a site documenting the construction of a harp inspired by the "Otway" harp.

These two harps are actually quite small.

Lest we leave out the pipes - we didn't get up to where the bagpipes were but we did see carvings and paintings. This was on a large cabinet which was described as having "animated if not skilfully executed carvings".

Dunfermline Abbey & Carnegie Park

Wednesday we hired a car and drove to Dunfermline to drop the European kit at George's and so we could get to the airport in Glasgow for our flight home on Thursday.

View fron the Abbot House gate. This is the Georgian-era end of the church. Robert the Bruce is buried under the tower that bears his name in pierced stonework. Look closely and you can see the word "THE" at the top of the tower. The other sides have "KING" "ROBT" "BRUCE"

The other end of the church is Norman-era, c. 1150. This is the main entrance. On the inside it is all bare stone except for one corner where there is still a fresco on the ceiling. The whole thing would have been bright colors when it was new. There are heads carved in the door arch but age and pollution have eroded them quite badly.

This side entrance was protected for several centuries by a private tomb. You can see the level of detail in the decorative stone carving. This is how the front door would have looked.
Stairs to the old keep of Dunfermline (Hill of the Crooked Stream) This is where the king sat!
      The King sits in Dunfermline toon, 
      Drinking the bluid-red wine
      "O whar will I get a sailor guid,
      To sail this schip of mine?"

       Up and spak an eldern knicht,

      Sat at the kings richt kne:
      "Sir Patrick Spens is the best sailor
      That sails upon the se."

Across the street from the Abbey grounds is a back entrance to the Pittencreiff Park. This was purchased by Andrew Carnegie and given to the city as a public park. The legend is that he wasn't allowed in the park as a child and so bought it for the children of Dunfermline. The park contains many walking paths, an aboretum, the original keep of Dumfermline and a very lonely peacock. There have been peacocks in the park for over 100 years but the population has dwindled rapidly in recent years as birds have been killed by dogs and hit by cars.
They are building a sanctuary for the birds to breed and raise their young in before they throw them to the dogs.

Here in Round Pond we have a few feathers that we picked up on a trip  twelve or fourteen years ago. Travel was simpler then.


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