Monday, April 30, 2007

Holiday Photos #24

While we were in Edinburgh we took the bus out to Rosslyn to see the Rosslyn Chapel, one of the settings for a scene in The Da Vinci Code. I think I mentioned before that the movie premiered while we were traveling. We actually saw it on opening night in London. Both of us had read the book and without intending to at first and then with more intention when we got toward the end of the trip, we were able to visit the settings of all the major scenes in the story.

I don't have any photos of the outside of the chapel because it was under renovations at the time. Even without, the chapel is enclosed by a wall and it would be hard to stand back and get a good photo of it. One thing we were able to do though is climb the scaffolding and get a closer look at the stone work from above. I was struck by the thought that in the U.S. they'd never let folks climb up on the scaffolding, liability and all that.

Here's William up on the very top.

Here's some of the beautiful detail, even up on the roof. I loved the "rose" colored stone.

I took a lot of photos inside and was frustrated that most of them turned out to be out of focus. Sigh. But even so, I had a lot of photos I wanted to share and I finally narrowed it down to a few, giving up on the idea of giving a complete overview. The entire chapel (chapel, not cathedral, it was quite small) was filled with columns. All of them were straight except this one, called The Apprentice Pillar, which is twisted.

Although this chapel is in Scotland, it's considered a French chapel, or French architecture. There are many stories and legends associated with it although it was fairly unknown until the movie put it in the limelight. I was interested in visiting it not for it's new celebrity status but for the multitude of unusual carvings, in particular the large number of green men. (none of my photos of them came out - ARGH!) Here is a pillar base wrapped with snakes eating their tails (Ouroboros), or maybe they're eating the tails of the of the snake in front of them, I didn't try to unravel the image.
No,wait. Here's one Greenman I managed to capture.

Here's the top of a pillar. Can you see the little skull nestled in at the bottom of the arch?

Although the floor of the chapel is not large, the ceiling is still far above. Each section is carved with different symbols, including stars, roses.... can't remember the others. Fleur de lis perhaps. Basically, EVERYTHING was carved. Without a bored teenager ("You've seen one greenman, you've seen them all.") and a last bus back, I could have spent a lot longer investigating all the nooks and crannies. If you want to see more of the carvings, there are pages of photos on the link to the chapel I included above.

For the sake of brevity (doesn't it seem like we've been in Edinburgh forever?) I left out more photos of carvings, effigies (or perhaps they were graves) of Knights Templar, masonry carvings on the basement walls (William couldn't be swayed from his argument that it was just graffiti that someone had scratched into it) , beautiful stained windows, the gardens..... there was a lot to see.

Here's one odd gravestone. Can you read below, it says "King of Terrors". It looks like a page from a children's storybook, doesn't it? Maybe an Alphabet Book. "R is for Roll and Rock, Read and Reaper."
I was really taken with the candles that were lit in every church we visited. I have fond memories of lighting candles in the Catholic church when I was growing up and although I'm no longer a member of the church, I still often use candles in prayer or spell work. Most of the places had votives. Here they were using these lovely tapers.

Okay, just one more photo. Since we started with a photo of William up high, we'll end with a photo down low. He is waiting for the bus here and he was really crabby. I was so angry with him that I went and stood about twenty feet away. We got along really well for most of the trip, as traveling companions and friends more than parent and child. But there were a few moments, fortunately a very few, where we reverted back to unreasonable kid and annoyed mom. This was one of them. Of course he was probably really tired too. Some days he was exhausted trying to keep up with my pace, other days I was exhausted trying to keep up with his.



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