Hidden Gems in Edinburgh
For a long time I have wished to go to Edinburgh and then we did this summer. As so often I don’t prepare too well in advance, but I knew that there would be a lot of old medieval buildings and narrow streets.
Waiting for our plane at the Copenhagen airport a young man with kilt came form the arriving plane. It made a great impression in me as that is a very seldom sight in Copenhagen. In the old part of the city of Edinburgh this was a common though. The sound of bag pipes was also all over the place.
The most memorial thing for me to take with me from the journey was the famous poets and authors from the area.
The Three Robins
- Robert Fergusson 1750-1774
- Robert Burns 1759-1796
- Robert Stephenson 1850-1894
Robert Fergusson was only 24 years old when he died after a fall down the stairs. He had already accomplished much in his young life. He had to break off his academic studies as his father died. Studying was the highlight at his life. There are a few signs of him in the old part of the city. I met him at the pavement by Canongate churchyard as a bronze statue and had to return as many times as possible during the short stay. The statue gave an impression of energetic youth as he walks along. He was so talented. In his poems he describes life of all kind of people in the vibrant city. Depression following a life with hard work, late nights and drinking took its toll and after the fall he was forced into the Bedlam Hospital where he died in a cell few weeks later.
At the writer’s museum close to the castle at the Royal Mile a lot could be found on Robert Burns who was a great admirer of Fergusson who inspired him a lot in his work. Burns also had a very hard life growing up on a very poor diet and was hard working at his father’s farms which always gave very little income.
Still Burns paid for a memorial stone at the graveyard which can still be seen today.
Nothing written was to be found on Fergusson any where. Not even a postcard with a poem. We looked in books shops and museums. I am sure it will come as he was a very interesting person. At the Scottish Poetry Library they gave me a short print on his biography and they had books there for citizens to borrow.
A hundred years later Robert Stephenson wanted to renovate the grave and memorial stone, but died of poor health before he saw the task finished.
Robert Stephenson endured much illness his whole life but still managed to travel a lot and died far away in Samoa between Hawaii and New Zealand. Robert Stephenson’s most famous novel is “The Treasure Island”.
If any of you are British or even Scottish you might find this post very simple and naive. I am Danish and the verses are difficult for me to read, but I still treasure these poets and authors who had hard lives and wrote beautifully and gave us a look into life conditions so long ago.
The world’s highest statue for an author is Sir Walter Scott’s at Princes Street in Edinburgh. It’s placed between Old Town and the New Town and “Waverley ” the title of his famous book has given name to a bridge and a train station beside the enormous statue of 61.1 meters with a Gothic spire. Sir Walter Scott was born into a well-to-do family but even he suffered immensely from the effect of polio as a child.
I couldn’t help buying “Waverly” and another of Walter Scott’s books and a small book on Burns called Life and Works of Robert Burns.
At the Scottish National Portrait Gallery we found paintings and sculptures of the artists mentioned here.
At the Copenhagen airport the nice person at the check in desk asked us if we were going to buy a barrel of whisky to take home. Instead we returned inspired by the old poets.