UK Kingdom Travel Journal—Day 15

The Royal Mile, Edinburgh

This morning we left the place that had been our home near Edinburgh for the past two days.

As with St. Andrews, we all vowed to return, convinced we had only scratched the surface of all of God and golf this area of Scotland had to offer.

We also learned the proper pronunciation of Edinburgh is not Edin-berg or Edin-burrough but Edin-bra, as in “Hey bra, what up? The surf was epic today.” Easy to remember.

Knowing this was to be a John Knox day in Edinburgh, Mrs. H asked where Knox was born.

I was embarrassed I did not know. A quick check of Wikipedia answered the question. We were shocked at the answer: Giffordgate, a street in Haddington! We had driven through Haddington twice yesterday and then again just 20 minutes ago, but we had limited time; no time to turn back.

This was another failure on the part of the GSB Research Division, along with the Day 5 trip to the St. Augustine Abbey in Canterbury that no longer exists. I would say heads are going to roll, but that head would be mine, and then where would the GSB be? I chose to extend forgiveness to myself and move on.

St. Giles Cathedral

We only had the afternoon in Edinburgh, so we confined ourselves to the Royal Mile. The Royal Mile is the one-mile stretch of High Street that starts at the highest point in Edinburgh where Edinburgh Castle is located and ends at the bottom of the hill at Holyrood Palace.

Along that stretch we stopped at John Knox House, the only authentic medieval home still standing in Edinburgh and the place where Knox lived and died. Fortunately the Scots had enough sense to see the value in preserving the home. Knox’s grave is a different story. We stopped at St. Giles Cathedral, where Knox was the first Protestant minister and where he preached from 1560 until his death in 1572.

We thought we would find much about Knox inside St. Giles Cathedral, but alas, nothing but a statue. Maybe we missed it. We didn’t miss the shrines to Robert Louis Stevenson and Robert Burns, neither of whom appear to have been Christians, if even Theists. Both Stevenson and Burns merit mention in the principal church of the Church of Scotland but not Knox?

Knox’s Grave, Parking Spot #23

Outside St. Giles Cathedral, around to the right about forty feet from the church, Knox is buried . . . . in the parking lot. Yes, in the parking lot, under space #23. The parking lot was not there originally when Knox was buried by thy church from which he guided the most important reform in Scotland’s history, but to Hell with history, where am I going to park my Peugeot?

We only got halfway down The Royal Mile before we ran out of time and had to saddle up and head to Edinburgh airport for our flight to London.

At the airport, Dr. H and I got through security without being assaulted err… patted down. When I looked back though I saw The Wife giggling as she was getting patted down by the female Scottish version of a TSA agent. The Wife, you see, is ticklish.

Next was Mrs. H., a red-headed, southern drawl talking, former participant in the Ms. Tennessee beauty pageant—just the sort of person you would expect to stand up in the middle of a flight from Edinburgh to London and yell, “Alihu Akbar!—she got the Scottish patdown as well. She weathered it with a smirk, rather than a giggle, which was more fitting.

The flight was uneventful. Mrs. H did not shout to God in Arabic, we arrived in London safely, and added another successful day to the GSB UK Kingdom Travel Journal. GS.