Tuesday we started the day off again in Edinburgh. We jumped back on the tour bus and got off at the stop that allowed us to walk up “The Royal Mile,” the street leading up to the castle. This was the oldest part of the city. It is hard to imagine the life these people had in such a place and in such conditions. We have so much to be grateful for! The beginnings of the castle started near 1100 A.D. Its built at the top of the hill as you can see from the previous post. There are outcroppings of rock that the castle is built around and into.
We toured around the site for a solid hour and a half. We checked out the royal chambers which held the Scottish Crown Jewels. These were a part of the coronation ceremony for several hundred years starting in the 1500's. They were lost or hidden for nearly 150 years until Sir Walter Scot found them again.
There was one part of the castle that was built in the 1950's as a monument to the fallen Scottish soldiers of wars past. It was a large building that fit right into the whole castle motif. You would have thought it was just another part of it. Inside, there were books filled with thousands of names lining the walls of the monument. One room caught my attention. An alter was built in the center of the room on an outcropping of rock. On top of the alter was a box 18 inch square box guarded by a Cherub at each corner. The inscriptions on the walls were dedications to those who had lost their lives in valiant defense. I was overcome. I suddenly felt the love, admiration, and gratitude that the builders of this monument had for these soldiers. It was a sobering feeling.
After the tour of the castle and the bus ride back to the hotel be jumped on a train, rode about an hour, and ended up in St. Andrews, the mecca of golf. We arrived at the Rusacks Hotel only to find our rooms overlooked the Old Course. The 1st and 18th holes were in our view and we watched golfers come in as the day went on.
The top left window on the building on the right is my room. Not a bad room if you ask me.
St Andrews is a college town of sorts. There are a couple of small (as in maybe a few hundred students each) universities in town and students all around. I have seen a fair share of foreign babes. Its not just the accent either. These women have black hair and blue eyes and its a combination I seem to enjoy.
Golf. The Old Course. This is where it all began, literally. The first golfers teed off here in the early 1400's. That is why its called The Old Course. It is also the home of this year's British Open. There is a lot of history here and it all catches up to you as you tee off at the first hole. My heart was pounding! I really didn't expect that. So with no warm up besides some putts and a few practice swings, I take my driver, which I had never hit with before, heart trying to beat out of my chest, I made a swing.
Worms. Dead ones. Flames from worms burning could be seen as I scorched a tumbling 150 yard drive down the left side of the fairway. Not what I had imagined...I think my caddy, David, groaned a little after seeing what he thought he was in for. I made bogie on the first hole and then rattled off 3 consecutive birdies...birdies that were actually pars but they felt like birdies to me. Total redemption. I got my swing back and we were in business.
I limped along and made several shots that I am quite proud of. One of which was out of a pot bunker. I barely squeaked it out with only a few inches to spare. This is not that bunker. Its called Hell Bunker. 50 yards across and 12 feet deep.
My ankle hurt but with 4 Aleve and 4 Advil in me the pain eased and I walked and walked and walked. We came to the historic 18th tee. I lined up my shot, some wind at my back and unleashed a drive that would make Miss Daisy proud. With my dad we crossed the old bridge that had been there 300 years longer than America had. As we walked the final fairway, I waved at the imaginary people who, if they were real and saw my drive, would be applauding hysterically. 327 yards later and 12 yards from the green I chip a ball up onto the green. I sunk my 2nd putt to par the final hole. What an experience! Overall I was satisfied with the way I played. I shot an 88 only to be out done by my gracious host and father who scored a very respectable 83.
After the nap...because I was totally knackered, we walked to a pub around the corner and I ordered the fish n chips. Very tasty! We went back to the hotel to watch the Champions League Semi-Final match between Inter Milan and Barcelona. That was when I was writing my blog and it got erased.
Today, we met up with the same couple and caddies we played with yesterday and too up to attack the New Course. “New” because in 1895 when they built it...it was the first course that had been built in 500 YEARS! This course was a little tighter, a little harder, but far less intimidating. I had my run ins with it and shot a 92. Not really my best day but when I tell people I went to St Andrews they aren't going to ask what I scored on the New Course.
Out time here is winding down. In the morning we fly to Madrid. Scotland has been kind. The weather, cool, windy at times, partly cloudy but enough sun to kiss my cheeks, kept us dry and its more than most people get when they come and play here. This is truly a trip I won't soon forget!