Holy Hollywood!

It goes without saying – but I’ll say it anyways – that Hollywood distorts the truth all the time and we love it, me included. For example, as I learn more about William Wallace from my own research and from tour guides, the more I come to understand that the film Braveheart is historically rubbish. Seriously. About 20% of the film is accurate, but the other 80% is simply historical rubbish. But…it’s still great film, and as 2014 draws near I’m sure more people will make reference to it and its cries for freeeeeedommmm!!!

So was I surprised about the inaccuracies that surround Hollywood’s portrayal of Rosslyn Chapel in the Da Vinci Code? Nope. To be fair, the film is based off of Dan Brown’s novel – and yes I have seen the movie and read the book. I don’t really want to go into the inaccuracies, but I just had to make this clear before I went on. Some people apparently were unaware that Hollywood and Dan Brown were creating fiction, so after the film was released hundreds of thousands of people flocked to Rosslyn for a variety of reasons — one man wanted to chop portions down looking for treasures and he brought his own axe just in case the chapel didn’t have one he could borrow.

After visiting the chapel I can honestly see why Mr Brown would include it in his book, the chapel is so interesting. There are legends surrounding the chapel. There is one about some knights who were buried there after returning from the Crusades and after they had been placed in the chapel it is said the chapel burned red from the inside as if on fire, but upon inspection there was no fire.

Additionally, there are a number of interesting stone carvings, specifically of ‘Green Men.’ Some believe these ‘Green Men’ are pagan symbols that made their way into the Chapel, while others argue they are a symbol of Adam (there is a story associated with that) or man’s ability for both good and evil.

Also, there is an angel playing the bagpipes located in the Chapel. No legend here, I just love the Scottish touch.

It was truly unique and well worth the little day trip we took to get out there for our code breaking adventure.


A Quick Trip to the Highlands

The Highlands. Just saying it conjures up images of mountains, kilts, bagpipes and warriors like William Wallace (fun fact: William Wallace was a lowlander and would not have worn a kilt, sorry Braveheart fans).

This is the trip that Martina and I have had to keep putting off for one reason or another, but our patience was met with reward, and even the weather cooperated.

We started out early that morning with our tour group; our guide was a Scot named Peter and there seemed to be no end to what he had to say; filling our minds with history and a taste of Scottish culture as we made our way up towards Loch Ness. I particularly enjoyed the legends he told us, some about Robert the Bruce and others about the Fairy Queen and her enchantments on a number of villagers throughout the Highlands. Seeing how sparsely populated the Highlands are, and imagining how hundreds of years ago it would have been even more isolated, I am not surprised that magic and legends are prominent in the Highlands of Scotland.

We made a stop at the Three Sisters, passing the region of Glencoe where portions of Skyfall were filmed, and it was my first time seeing snow in Scotland since it just hasn’t gotten to Edinburgh yet (thankfully if you ask my wife). It was absolutely beautiful.

As we drove towards Loch Ness I had all these feelings of deja vu, as if I had been here before…then it dawned on me that I had been! Back in 2007 my aunt, sister, and I came to Scotland and took a tour to the Highlands. We made many of the same stops, some I recognized, but others I didn’t recognize until I was looking at old pictures on my laptop. It was particularly interesting to think about, because in October 2007 when I came I had just met Martina and now five years later I was here with her.

We got to Loch Ness and explored the Urquhart Castle there are on the shore. I could only imagine what this Castle would have looked like there along the Loch, in the wilderness during its glory days before the Jacobite Rebellion. Alas, the castle lies in ruins and more people come to the Loch in search of monsters than they do to see the castle.

Speaking of monsters…we didn’t see it, but we did take a short boat cruise on the black waters of Loch Ness. The wind made it quite cold, but Martina and I had great lower deck seating to ourselves and quietly looked around at the beauty surrounding us.

We loved our Highlands Adventure!!