Aran Islands Project Part IV and V – Off to Auld Reekie

**For a link to my first post explaining the “meaning” of my Aran Islands Project, please click here **

Before the days when people traveled to Scotland in hopes of meeting Jamie Fraser, (see “Outlander” series by Diana Gabaldon,) I spent a semester abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland during my junior year of college.

The effect that this old city had upon my tastes and interests is unsurmountable. Although I enjoyed a two week trip to London during this time, it cannot compare to walking the streets of the “Old City” where I lived in Edinburgh: The Royal Mile, the Cowgate, and all of the myriad “closes” which are not quite large enough to be streets; (closes are basically glorified alleys.) On a few foggy evenings, I found myself unsure if I was passing by real people or ghosts from some distant century.

The Cowgate


The photos above were all taken within a few blocks of where I lived. The Cowgate was a street I walked every day. (Fun fact: You can catch glimpses of the Cowgate in the beginning of the movie “Trainspotting.” The scenes in the beginning where Ewan Macgregor is running through the streets were filmed here.) My loft was a few steps away from the cemetery I photographed in the second picture. The last is one of the “closes” I walked down every day. In both of these pictures, you can see the immense hills of Holyrood Park looming above it all. To be able to wander up those craggy hills was like a dream.

Below on the left is a photo of some ruins that were on the hill just above my flat and the bottom right is a photo I took of the ruins of Holyrood Abbey. I was blessed to live two blocks up from Holyrood Palace, (and the abbey ruins,) which lies at the end of the Royal Mile, with Edinburgh Castle seated at the opposite end. Rumor has it that there used to be a tunnel under the Royal Mile connecting the two places in order for royals to escape should the castle be under attack.


So now, as I always say, on to the crochet!



I chose colors to reflect my memories of Edinburgh: it’s very damp and stony. So many of the stone buildings are centuries old. The green is for the lush green landscape. You may wonder why I included this rusty orange color. This color is connected to my memory of the unique smell of Edinburgh. You can smell it as soon as you arrive within the city limits. It is this very odd yeasty, organic smell, almost like fermented old beer.  They’ve even written articles about the smell! that Edinburgh smell  Evidently, it had something to do with the distilleries. I’m not sure, but I know I will never forget that smell.  Like everything else, I got used to it after a few days, and I didn’t even notice it.

This blog post is a two-for-one deal! Although my love of all things medieval truly blossomed a few years ago, this trip to Edinburgh certainly contributed to my adoration of the past.  Hence, I created a square in tapestry colors as a nod to the medieval.  It is not a place I have physically visited, but it is a place where my imagination travels frequently.


I hope you enjoyed this non-Christmas post on the second to last day before Christmas and Hanukkah! My Christmas wish for anyone reading this is to remember that you are blessed to be made as a person with a blend of gifts that makes you a completely unique individual in this time and place. This means that whatever you give in this life comes uniquely from your experiences and knowledge. No matter what has come before, you always have the choice to take a small step turning toward what is right and good for you and for other people. May you enjoy a holiday season that is happy and peaceful.


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