Scotland has beckoned to me from afar for all of my life, a calling that I was finally able to respond to, and I know it was a combination of my ancestors being from Scotland, the awesome ghost hunting locations, and just the idea of meeting new people and a new adventure that made me want to go so much. But there was one thing I was totally unprepared for… the Scottish people.
I was working on a movie called Checkpoint in North Carolina,
then had to go to Chicago to work on my mother’s house so I could sell it, then on to Nashville for the Home Show we run. Because of this, I had very little time to plan out where to stay or where to go, so I was really in the dark about a lot of things, and never really had a chance to get excited about my trip being so busy with everything else. Right after the Home Show, I flew to Chicago, spent a week clearing everything out of the house, and cleaning it top to bottom, it is three and a half stories, so it was pretty intense getting it done, and then I flew to Los Angeles, where I had a total of two days to grab everything and head off on the trip I had been waiting years for.
As I landed in Edinburgh and grabbed my bag, I headed up to a man who worked there and asked him where a cab would be. He asked me where I was going, then told me the cab would cost fifty dollars, but if I went out front and grabbed the bus, it was only seven dollars! I jumped on that bus as quick as I could, then realized other than knowing the address of the Travelodge, I had no idea where I was going. I went up front and asked the driver, who told me he would call out to me when it was my turn to get off. After about a half an hour, he called me to the front of the bus, and I could see the hotel in front of me, about a block walk. Perfect! He said hold up mate, it’s a bit tricky to find the entrance to the hotel, you have to go down the side and in through the alley.. It would have taken me quite a while to find it, but $43 dollars ahead of the game, thanks to very helpful people, I found the alley, and as I stood looking at the building I thought this hotel might not be what I was looking for as far as a place to stay, but I was totally wrong. . Without anywhere else to go, I headed in, where I met the desk clerk Alan. I told him I was there for my first real vacation, and he made sure I got a room with a view, and it was magnificent! It was a huge room, and check out the photo of my view!
I was also fortunate to meet Anna, who helped me get a room at another hotel when theirs was full, and Michael who guarded my luggage like a pit bull. Once again, great people, extremely helpful. Alan and I would chat a lot at that front desk, as he would tell me what to see and how to get there, which, seeing as I was right on the main street across from Edinburgh Castle, was very busy with tourists, and you could walk most everywhere, and there was so many interesting things and so much history, you would walk up and down those hills all day and not realize you had probably done close to ten miles.. One thing I noticed walking up those hills, some fairly steep, is that the girls have definitely benefitted from walking all those hills.. hey, I’m single and on vacation, I’m allowed to notice!
One of the things I really wanted to see was Rosslyn Chapel, which was in the DaVinci Code movie, and where many experts believe the Knights Templar hid the Holy Grail. Alan at the front desk of the Travelodge told me where to catch the bus, it was only about 150 yards from the hotel, and it was only three dollars to get to the chapel. It was a double decker bus, so of course I went up top to see the sights, and as I was riding along, once again I realized I didn’t know where to get off. I asked the lady next to me if she knew what stop I should get off at, and she said she would tell me when to head downstairs.
A bit later she said next stop, dang these people are so nice! I went down to the front of the bus and asked the driver how to get to the Chapel as he pulled to a stop.. He chuckled, pointed straight ahead and said “go down that road, and you’ll walk right in the front door”
Yes, I realize Rosslyn Chapel and the city it resides in are spelled differently. Who knew?
After I had exited the bus, I had a nice walk, only a couple hundred yards until I got to the Chapel.. It has a gift shop where you can grab a sandwich or something to drink, as well as a souvenir shop. I paid for my ticket, and headed onto the Chapel grounds. I walked all around the Chapel, I was in no hurry at all, I had wanted to come here for a long, long time, so I was enjoying all I could.. I went into the Chapel, which isn’t as big as I would have thought, but it was awesome! The hand carved wood and stone work was amazing, and a lady walked in, had us sit in the pews, and told us the history of the place. I won’t go into all of it, but one of the things that really caught my interest was a carving in the stone of what was obviously corn. Why is that interesting? I’m glad you asked.. At the time the Chapel was built, no one had yet been to America, the only place corn grows. Told you it was interesting! I went over everything, thinking I might actually be standing in the place where the Holy Grail may have been,
and some scholars think the Ark of the Covenant may have been there as well. Something about the Chapel, its history, the whole surrounding area really felt like home to me, I know I have ancestors from Scotland, but I really liked this place.
If you go to the Chapel the grounds around it are full of cool things, the parts of a castle destroyed by the British, two old time cemeteries,
paths that will take you through the woods, you could spend a week investigating the place.. and I did!
I walked back up the road to catch my bus back to Edinburgh when I saw a small, very charming two story inn. I went in to look around.
The Chapel Cross Guesthouse
The inn was a very old period type, with a desk in the entry for the hotel ,and to the right was a Tea Room. I wandered into it and was transported back to another time. There was a young girl named Beth there behind the counter, maybe 15, and dressed in a long, old time apron. I thought I had walked through a portal, what a great place!
I went to the counter and checked the menu, ordered a sandwich and an iced tea. The girl brought it over, and a lady came out of the kitchen. I was the only customer there, so we all talked while I ate. Once again, the Scottish people are so nice!
It dawned on me that this would be a great place to stay for a few days as I wanted to ghost hunt, and this place had the right look and feel. I asked the lady how much it would be to stay, and was nicely surprised, it was about half what I would have paid for the weekend in Edinburgh, so I told her I would be back the next day, jumped on the bus and went back to the city, spent the night wandering through it, checking out places to ghost hunt.
I chose Edinburgh Castle to visit, man, that place is awesome!
It’s enormous, and everything is pretty much the same from it was first built. OK history buffs, the English burned it down, all except for one room, but the Scots took it back and rebuilt it
I was anxious to see it, because I am supposed to be related to King Malcolm, my last name comes from Malcolm, and I wasn’t disappointed, I found four King Malcolm’s on their Wall of Kings.( I think I should have gotten a discount on my admission)!
Back to the Chapel Cross Guesthouse
The next morning I grabbed my stuff, jumped on the bus, and made my way back to The Chapel Cross Guesthouse. When I got there, I met a lovely lady named Gail, who hooked me up with a nice room with a view of the Rosslyn Inn,
and right outside the hotel is a courtyard that is next to their bar/restaurant, which is a meeting place for the locals ( and tourists).. I had several dinners there, everyone was excellent, as were the people who work there.
I met the owners of The Chapel Cross, Richard and Amy, really nice people who made sure I enjoyed my stay, especially the waffles I had every morning! I had an adorable server named Abigail; you can see her picture wearing one of our Hollywood Ghost Hunter shirts. This place was so comfortable for me, I ended up staying five days all together, and I am going back in June. The Guesthouse, as a matter of fact the entire area is a total gem of a place to kick back and just roam the countryside. I went to Rosslyn Chapel several times, went down to a field where William Wallace of Braveheart fame socked it out with the British, as well as a cave where he used to hide from the British, I’ll talk more about that in this issues Group of the Month.. I can’t wait to get back to the Guesthouse!