Sunday, 31 May 2009

Edinburgh Day 2

We woke up on our 2nd day in Edinburgh, got ready and had a great breakfast and our B&B and then headed off to Edinburgh Castle!  It is a massive stronghold on top of the volcanic Castle Rock and there's proof of settlement on the rock that dates back as far as the 9th Century BC.  There's been a royal castle on the rock since the reign of David I in the 12th Century.  There are quite a few different buildings that make up the castle and it was amazing to walk all around the grounds and see the different sections.  

The front of the Castle

Us waiting to go in the castle
Josh and Brandie in front of the castle
The guys
The back of the Scottish war memorial
The front of Scottish War Memorial...every Scottish man, woman, and child who have been killed fighting for Scotland have their names written in the building.  You cant take pictures or anything out of respect for the dead. 
The guards coming in to guard the War Memorial
Part of the castle
The beds in the Prisoner's of War section
In the Prisoner's Of War cells
And it is becoming customary for everyone to "use" any facilities we come across in castles and such while I know, I know, but its what we do.   So, here the 4 of us are in the Military prison.  It was built in 1842.

Changing things up a

The receiving room where townspeople would wait to talk to the King and Queen about things
The Great Hall was built in the 16th Century and was used as the main banqueting chamber until Cromwell converted it into barracks in 1650 and it remained barracks until converted back to its original state in 1891.  The roof is the only thing that is still medieval...the wall panelling, stained glass windows, and fireplace are Victorian.

Christopher holding a sword
With a suit of armor in the great hall.  All the arms and armour are on loan from the royal armouries in the tower of London
The tower where the crown jewels of Scotland are (we couldnt take pictures of them).  But there is a beautiful crown, sceptor, and sword.  And a bit of trivia, the Queen is not allowed to wear that specific crown because it is a Scottish crown.  The Stone of Destiny is also housed with the crown jewels and when a royal sits on the stone, they become king or queen.  So, in the next couple of years, they're bringing the stone down to London for 3 days and a prince will sit on the stone and will stand up a king.  
The street below
The cemetery for Soldiers dogs... I thought that was really sweet.
View from the top
Christopher and Josh with the huge cannon
St. Margaret's Chapel.  Its the oldest building in Edinburgh Castle.  Built in the 12th Century by King David 1st in Honor of his mother who died there in 1093.  She was made a saint in 1251.  If you're in the Royal Armed Services, you can have your children baptised here. 
The view from the castle
Brandie and me with "William Wallace"
Walking around Edinburgh
Downtown Edinburgh
The Palace of Holyroodhouse.  The Queens official residency in Scotland!  
The coast
Newcastle, on the way home from the train

Edinburgh Day 1

On Monday, we hopped on the train and rode up to Edinburgh, Scotland!  It was a 4 hour train ride all the way up the country and it was gorgeous!  We stayed in a bed and breakfast overnight and then headed to Edinburgh Castle on Tuesday!  It was AMAZING!  

The afternoon we got there, we had dinner and Christopher tried Haggas!  If you don't know what Haggas is, its a Scottish dish... Its sheep heart, liver, and lungs, mixed with onion, oatmeal, spices, and take all that and shove it into the sheep's stomach and then you boil it.  Gag, I know!  But, Christopher tried it and liked it!  The place we went to dinner at actually had Haggas spring rolls, so it was fried, which I'm sure helped the taste, everything tastes better fried, right?  lol
The view from the bed and breakfast window

After dinner we walked around Edinburgh and found this old cemetery right at the base of the Castle.  No one was around either, so we had gorgeous views of the castle all to ourselves!

Gorgeous Edinburgh
Me, Josh, and Brandie with Edinburgh Castle in the distance
The entrance to the cemetery
Some of the old graves...we saw some from the 17 and 1800's
It was really strange, there were skulls and crossbones all over the cemetery.  
Brandie being silly

Edinburgh Castle!!!
Josh and Brandie
Christopher and me!

Cambridge with Josh and Brandie

Josh and Brandie came to visit this week!  They got here last Saturday and we had a blast!  The frist day they were here we took it easy and hung out around the house while Christopher worked.  The next day we headed to Cambridge and went punting!  I think everyone had a great time!

Shopping at the market

Even Brandie gave punting a try!


Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Lots o' Posts to Come...

Josh and Brandie are in for the week and we've had a blast!   We've even made it up to Scotland!  We've been crazy busy and will be til they leave Saturday, so look out for a few posts this weekend/beginning of next week!

love to all!

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

New Computer!

About 3 years ago, we bought Toshiba laptops and mine has served me well.  Those of you who know me well know that I'm slightly addicted to my  Its my main means of communication with everyone back in the states and when the toshiba started crapping out on me, I got super frustrated.  It started crashing at least once or twice a day and just to type out and add pictures to this blog, it was taking me a minimum of 45 minutes, on a good day.  So, we headed out to Cambridge yesterday to the Apple store and talked to them about a Mac Book.  The guy who helped us was super nice and went through every application on the Mac to make it an easier transition from a PC... he also got us a great deal and so I am sitting here typing on a brand new, fabulous, aluminum Mac Book!  So far, I can say, what was I thinking having a PC?  The Mac is AWESOME!  I love it!

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Orford Castle

Orford Castle was built by Henry II in the 12th Century. Henry II had a long and tumultuous reign as king (lasting from 1154-1189). He was said to be a good ruler, but he seemed to be under constant difficulties from rebellious barons, his own family, and friends. Orford Castle was built in response to some of those adversities, namely to proclaim his authority over the Earls of Norfolk (those residing in Framlingham Castle). He built the tower so that on a clear day, the Barons of Norfolk could look out over their land from Framlingham and see his tower in the distance on the coast.

This is the tower of Orford. When Henry II built his Castle, it would have originally have been surrounded by a Castle wall with towers to protect the main tower, or keep. The Tower, or keep, is nearly 30 meters high! By the 1840's all traces of the wall were gone and only the tower stood as a reminder of King Henry II's power. They think the wall was torn down and the stone re-used for other buildings.

Mom and I
Me, walking up to the entrance
The main hall right after you walk through the entrance.
The basement of the castle. The well is in the middle.
Mom walking up the spiral staircase
The chapel
Up close of the right side of the altar. The cutouts in the wall are where they kept the vestements and the cutout on the bottom is actually a sink where the priest would rinse out the vestements.

The windows in the chapel. These were the only windows in the original castle that were glazed. It was extremely rare and expensive to have actual windows, that right was reserved for the wealthy, and when they built the chapel, the windows were almost like an offering to God, having the best for Him.

Christopher sitting on a pew. The whole above him is so that when the chapel was filled, the servants could still stand out in the hallway and hear the sermon.
The Chaplain's room. The chimney from the kitchen is behind that main wall, and that heated the room.
The priests Latrine. can guess where...
Christopher being funny

And it was Mom's turn.

The great hall. This was used when important people would come to visit.

The bakery on the roof. They put it on the roof so if by chance there was a fire, it wouldnt take out the entire castle.
The oven up close.

Mom on the roof

The view from the roof... the coast! The body of water is part of the Orford Ness and The North Sea.
Another view from the roof. The large building in the middle of the picture is St. Bartholomew's Church and tower.

The land surrounding the Castle. Part of the dips in the land were where the castle wall would have been and the ones past that were used to help slow down enemies.

Mom and I at the back of the castle...trying not to get blown away...the wind was CRAZY that day!

"King" Christopher

With his new Knight's Helmet