Drenched by a downpour (not unusual in this part of the world) I had hurried to the nearest building to escape the Edinburgh elements. The building just so happened to be St Giles’ Cathedral on the Royal Mile, positioned halfway between Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace.
I’ve passed by this ‘Cradle of Presbyterianism’ (it was the church of John Knox during the Reformation) plenty of times, but never before had I been inside. It seems I was missing out.
From the street, it’s impossible to guess at the intricacy of the interior; I had always imagined it to be dark and grey on the inside too. The organ music provided a dramatic soundtrack as I slowly made my way around the building, which dates from the 1120s. I took my time admiring colourful stained glass windows, stone archways and the beautiful blue ceiling that surprises you on entry.
When visiting other countries, people often visit historic buildings like this – Notre Dame in Paris, a temple in Tokyo, a mosque in Turkey – so why not at home? Scotland, and Britain as a whole, has a lot to offer; it was only a few weeks ago that I made it my mission to experience as much of my home country as I can.
As I’ve said before, you don’t have to go far from home to find interesting eateries and activities, or inspiring scenery and architecture. An afternoon dash into St Giles’ Cathedral to avoid the rain turned into an unexpected highlight of my recent Edinburgh weekend.