Day 5: the Royal Mile, Queens Gallery, Aborted Murder Tour and more
Sunday 19 Jun 2011 - Sunday 19 Jun 2011
Time to try and catchup. Yesterday was Sunday, and since I had an appointment Monday morning, I decided not to stay up and update the blog. Let's see if I can remember what I did yesterday...
I spent the morning doing laundry and other boring tasks. I left around noon and walked the Royal Mile, or basically the length of the High Street from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood, the Queen's residence in Edinburgh. I started near the center and walked uphill to the Castle, saw the price of admission and decided to forgo the tour, turned around and walked downhill to the other end where Holyrood Park is situated. Here also is Holyrood Palace and the Queen's Gallery. I opted not to see how the Queen lives and chose I stead to view the artwork that she hold in trust forth people of Scotland. Currently, the exhibit is on the Northern Renaisannce, one of my interests.
I spent a couple of hours wandering this small gallery, admiring prints and paintings by Durer, Holbein the Younger, Gossart, Cranach the Elder and Clouset. There were ink, pencil, charcoal and chalk drawings as well. Some of the most interesting were the preliminary drawings done by Hans Holbein the Younger which were displayed next to the finished paintings. And the best part was that I was allowed to take photographs (no flash), which both the Galleries i visited in London forbade. Those and other photos will be posted on my Facebook page in due time.
After the gallery, I spent some time in Canongate Kirkyard browsing the grave markers for a while. There is something that fascinates me about the old churchyards. The markers were made with a creativity that seems nonexistent today, with interesting scripts and type engraved into their faces, poetry and elegies, names, dates and information about the people they remember. The sculptural details intrigue me as much as anything else, as does the impermanence of these permanent memorials. Many are toppled or broken, others have eroded to the point of being illegible. Yet there is a peacefulness that permeates these places that seems to be lacking in their modern counterparts.
I continued my climb up the Royal Mile and simply walked around snapping the occasional photo. I had supper at the World's End, so called because it was situated just inside the city walls. A rousing meal of Neeps, Tatties and Haggis later, I decided to try and catch what was advertised as "Burke and Hare's Haunted Edinburgh", a free tour led by William Burke. Sadly, it did not live up to my expectations, with a guide whose only tonal variation was to start loud and end soft, while saying an entire paragraph all in one breath. It consisted of wandering around Edinburgh with the guide stopping occasionally and telling a story which may or may not have had something to do with the spot we were standing in. I gave it up after the fourth stop, having already heard all four stories, none of which involved Burke or Hare (more on them tomorrow).
I decided to call it an early night and headed back to my room.