Thursday, 14 March 2013

Cologne Cathedral

I've been to Cologne once before, on a school trip when I was in Year 7 (about 15 years ago). I don't remember much about that trip, so it was nice to go back and experience the city and cathedral as an adult, with more experiences behind me. We made the walk up to the top and spent a while walking around inside. It's an impressive space, with lots of visitors. The tomb of the Magi is here (although my mum didn't believe me), so that was one sight to see. Outside, the Cathedral sits closely surrounded by buildings. Its majesty is slightly diminished due to the proximity to everything else. The view from the top was great, and on our last day, as we walked towards the town from the river, it was easier to take in the view of the whole building from afar. The cathedral survived the war intact, as we (the Allies) didn't bomb it. This, we were told, was because the aircraft at the time were not equipped with radar and therefore the pilots used the Cathedral as a landmark to navigate from. I don't know how much truth lies in that statement, but nevertheless the Cathedral remained intact, meaning visitors can step inside the original masterpiece. Tall, Gothic and foreboding, a visit to Cologne is not complete without entering this majestic building.

Alter of the poor Clares

I wish I could remember what these rods signified. I think it's the amount of Priests that have served in this Cathedral.

I think I remember this correctly as St Christopher; the Patron Saint of Travellers...

Craning my neck to get the facade in. Too many other buildings around!!

Looking up at the top.

Yes, my sentiments exactly!

Just before taking this the bell had chimed and scared the bejesus out of us!

533 steps!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Four days in Edinburgh

Back when I was in Korea, at the turn of the new year into 2012, I'd already made the resolution to travel to Scotland with my mum. It took a while for us to organise it, and actually go, but this February we stuck to our word and spent a long weekend in Edinburgh. Blessed with awesome weather, we had an amazing time. Edinburgh is an incredible city. Just as everyone I'd spoken to before we went had said, we really enjoyed those few days. Obviously it would have made a difference if the weather had been drab and rainy, but even so I can't wait to head up to Scotland again. All these years living only a few hours away and I'd never ventured there before!

As we only had a few days we had decided beforehand what we wanted to see and do. Our trip coincided with an exhibition on David Livingstone, the famous Scottish missionary and explorer. We have a connection with Livingstone, as he lived and studied at my mum's church for a few months before heading off to Africa. They still have one of his walking sticks on display. On one of our days we decided to take one of the bus tours around the city. I've always found these to be such a great way to see the main sights, and get an idea of the places you want to see more of when visiting a place. They are quite expensive but you get a general guided tour and it's a good way to see more of the city if you don't have much time in one place. Other days we spent walking up to Arthur's Seat and exploring Edinburgh Castle and Hollyrood House. 

I'm so glad I've finally visited scotland, and cannot wait for the next trip up north.

A brave woman standing up for what she believes in. A woman after my own heart!
:: This is a plaque, on the floor of St Giles Cathedral is dedicated to Jenny Geddes who was a Scottish market-trader in Edinburgh, who is alleged to have thrown her stool at the head of the minister in St Giles' Cathedral in objection to the first public use of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer in ::

Due to the window tax imposed by William III, many windows were bricked up to save on money. There are loads of examples of this all over England. Here in Scotland, instead of just bricking up the hole, they pained over the area to make it look as though the window was still there. Ingenious!

A young Queen Victoria

The hotel where Agatha Christie spent her honeymoon

Mum and I outside Hollyrood House

The Mackenzie Tomb
:: There is a myth that a poltergeist lives in this tomb. I was not brave enough to shout through the keyhole (the way to antagonise the ghost). I took this picture and fled! ::

Greyfriars Bobby's grave, loaded with sticks for him to fetch.

Auld Jock's grave, where Bobby held his vigil for 14 years.

William Smellie's grave; the editor of the first Encyclopaedia Britannica 

Bobby's statue, just outside the graveyard.

The Livingstone Exhibition in the National Museum of Scotland