We got up and finished re-packing and headed out in the late morning in our rental car and 'Emily' (our new GPS) for Rosslyn Chapel and Borthwick Castle. We planned to drive up to the top of 'Arthur's Seat - atop the high volcanic hill that overlooks Edinburgh, but the roads were closed to vehicles on Sunday.
It did not take Dan too long to get used to driving on the other side of the road - a wee bit longer for Linda (as a passemger).
Roslyn Chapel is only about a 1/2 hour out of Edinburgh (South). We arrived just before it opened to the public at noon. They still hold church services there twice a day on Sundays and various times during the week for their congregation. Rosslyn Chapel was built in the 15th Century as a private chapel for the Sinclair family. The chapel has a long history of famous visitors (including Queen Victoria and many famous artists and poets). The chapel recently became infamous when it was featured in Dan Browne's book and movie: "The Da Vinci Code". It is a fairly small chapel, which was supposed to be only part of a much larger church that was never built. Really plain and not altogether noteworthy on the outside. But on the inside it is fantastically decorated with intricate carvings over its entire surface depicting both Christian and pre-Christian (pagan) symbologies. This is the most beautiful building that we have ever seen. We have never seen anything so richly or densely decorated. The craftsmanship of the carving is magnificent.
The carvings are almost indescribable. You could spend days, maybe weeks or more, here studying these and still find something new. Some of the more interesting figures are the angels, and the Greenmen (heads of pagan origin). Also, there are carvings of plants from North America (corn, trillium, yucca plants) carved long before Columbus visited the New World - how is that possible? It makes you wonder....
There are many riddles and mysteries in the carvings. Firstly, why would a simple family chapel in a remote area of Britain be so richly decorated? Secondly, why decorate the chapel like this at all and in this style. Thirdly, why are there so many puzzles in the stone carvings? And finally, why are there so many symbols displayed here that link to pagan and Masonic traditions?
There are all kinds of theories and ideas. Some say that the hidden crypt contains the Holy Grail, or the Arc of the Covenant. And that the Sinclair's were direct blood defendants from Jesus and Mary. Whatever the truth about the Chapel is, it is a fantastic place to visit. A must see for anyone going to Scotland.