2013 Summer (Baltic and Britain – Scotland – July 23 – Day 30 – Part 2)

After we finished walking around Jedburgh we headed back toward Edinburgh, making a couple of stops.  The first was at the Rhymer’s Stone,  which  is  just  outside  the  town  of  Melrose.Rhymer’s Stone is a combination memorial stone and viewpoint.  It was erected in 1929 by the Melrose Literary Society and marks the spot on which the fabled Eildon Tree once grew. It was under this tree that Thomas the Rhymer took a fateful nap while hunting on the estate of Melrose Abbey. He was awakened by the Queen of Elfland, who he kissed. He then spent seven years with her in the Land of the Elves before returning to his home in Earlston for seven years, then disappearing for good: presumably back to the Land of the Elves. Thomas Rhymer was also known as “True Thomas.”  He was born in 1220 and had a reputation for making accurate predictions; including the death of Alexander III falling from a horse in 1286.  He was also said to have several supernatural powers to rival the great magician Merlin.

Next, we drove into Melrose and visited the Abbey.St Mary’s Abbey, Melrose is a partialy ruined monastery of the Cistercian order in the Scottish Borders. It was founded in 1136 by Cistercian monks at the request of King David I of Scotland, and was the chief house of that order in the country until the Reformation. The east end of the abbey was completed in 1146. Other buildings in the complex were added over the next 50 years. The abbey was built in the Gothic manner, and in the form of a St. John’s Cross. It never ceases to boggle my mind that these enormous and beautiful structures were all built with hand tools and simple wooded scaffolding!  Absolutely astounding. Alexander II and other Scottish kings and nobles are buried at the abbey.  A lead container believed to hold the embalmed heart of Robert the Bruce was found in 1921 below the Chapter House site; it was found again in a 1998 excavation. This was documented in records of his death. The rest of his body is buried in Dunfermline Abbey. We headed back to Edinburgh, arriving just after 6 pm and checked into our unit at the Playhouse Apartments.  We were staying for just the one night but the place was outfitted for a crowd to live in for weeks.  There were 4 bedrooms containing one king-size bed, 7 single beds, two sets of bunk beds and three hide-a-bed sofas in the living room.  The place was equipped with two refrigerators, one freezer,  and three full bathrooms.  Our daughter and her husband had another unit in the same complex and they too had several rooms.  Nothing in the information indicated the size of these places when we booked them and the price was that of a regular hotel room.  We could have housed half the wedding guests between the two apartments.  You encounter the strangest things sometimes when you travel.

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