This morning the group went to a church service together at St. Giles' Cathedral. It was a remarkable experience; the organ, architecture was beautiful, as was the choir, and sermon. The minister spoke of compassion for the needy, appreciating the beauty and wonder of existence, and possessed a deeply hypnotizing Scottish brogue.
After church, we went to a big, ancient castle up the street (no big deal). It sits on a hill in the middle of the city. It has a chapel that was built in the 1100s, a few small museums, and lots of other places to explore. My favorite part was the jail for war prisoners. I also enjoyed looking over its high walls. From them we could see much of Edinburgh--and beyond.
After the castle and some lunch, some friends and I decided to go for a hike up to Arthur's Seat. The walk up was fun and the landscape unbelievably green and lush, but the sights only got better the higher we climbed. After some hilarious falls on the ice and having to overcome our fear of heights, we reached the top. We could see the entire city, now a flat expanse of buildings and streets below, and far blue-green horizons. Suddenly the majestic castle was a small rock perched in the distance. It was a life-changing experience. We even shared a nice laugh with a fellow from New York up there. He gave us some helpful tips on getting back down.
Tomorrow morning we head out for the Isle of Skye. We're all very excited to travel to more beautiful lands!