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A drive from London to Edinburgh leaves favorable lasting impression

By Chris A Hale

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, July 20 2013 1:05 p.m. MDT

At the famed “Elephant House” coffee shop where Harry Potter was born, I thought about how much time I would need to spend there to write my own novels. Maybe some of J.K. Rowling’s talent could rub off on me there by osmosis or some other phenomenon.

Just a short drive from Edinburgh, and either obtainable by private car or tour bus, are two very impressive and historic sites.

The first is Rosslyn Chapel. Yes, the same Rosslyn Chapel that was depicted in the movie "The DaVinci Code." We were impressed by the interior decorations. Carvings depicting everything from green men to all kinds of Christian symbolism adorned every visible surface. Sadly, we were not allowed to take pictures inside.

The second place, and my favorite attraction on our trip, was Melrose Abbey. Founded in 1136 by Cistercian Monks, what is left is truly inspirational to behold. Many sections of the roof are missing as well as a few walls, but what remains are enough to impress visitors with the magnitude of what was once there and to impart an appreciation of how the monks lived and worked.

Views of the surrounding countryside from the roof were incredible even in the rain. And the cemetery on the property was fun to walk through.

The most famous inhabitant of the Melrose Abbey cemetery, or at least part of an inhabitant, is the heart of Robert the Bruce. The king of Scotland during the fourteenth century instructed that his heart be taken on one of the many crusades and it was buried there upon its return. The inscription on the simple stone reads “A noble hart may have nane ease gif freedom failye.”

If you want to experience the local cuisine, the Hard Rock Café in Edinburgh offers its specialty, a haggis burger; our son heartily enjoyed his.

The people of Scotland are jolly and cynical, with a sense of humor uniquely their own. The landscape is winsome and the weather wearisome. It is a place with a dark history and a bright outlook. We were completely captivated by the many contrasts Edinburgh had to offer.

There is so much to see and do in Edinburgh, we feel like we barely scratched the surface. We missed so much and yet we treasure everything we were able to see and experience.

Now that I’m home, I’m so grateful we weren’t soured by the customs officer and her negative comment about driving. We would do it again in an instant!

Chris Hale is an aviation maintenance technician for a major airline who has traveled extensively with his family. In his spare time he writes novels inspired by places he's been. Find out more about his books at www.Chrisahale.com

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