Monday, November 11, 2013

Edinburgh - the next 24 hours

Day two dawned to the pitter patter of rain on the windows...damn!!  Oh well you have to ride with after a quick shower and my yogurt/cereal breakfast I was off on the bus to the Palace of Holyrood House.

Holyrood House is an official residence of the Queen although she does not spend much time in it - a week in the early summer.  She keeps busy doing official engagements while there and of course I was able to tour the beautiful interior to see where the elegant dinner parties take place.  Holyrood House was constructed in its present form between 1501 and 1505 and the adjoining abbey ruins were originally constructed in 1128.  Wow.  If you love history like I do it is overwhelming to think of the events that happened within these walls.  Mary Queen of Scots lived here from 1561 to 1567.  Her private secretary David Rizzio was attacked and stabbed 56 times in her private apartments - the talking commentary device all of us visitors are given (and worn around our necks) told me exactly about gigantic goosebumps!!! Wikpedia goes into detail on the history of this amazing building so I won't even attempt it or this post would go on forever.  One poignant artifact is a piece of needlepoint Mary Queen of Scots did of a cat and a mouse - her cousin (whom she never met) Elizabeth I as the cat and herself as the mouse. It is a very interesting place to visit if you are interested in British history. 

Soggy exterior of the palace

Main (visitor) entrance to the palace

Interior courtyard of palace

Ruins of the abbey

Ruins of the Abbey

Beautiful gardens of the Palace - huge!

Abbey & gardens

Entrance to the exterior courtyard
Then it was time to set off down the Royal Mile....popping into shops along the way to escape the rain.  The first interesting stop was the very interesting Museum of Edinburgh which was by donation only.  Well worth a visit....they had all the Greyfriar's Bobby memorabilia that I featured in the previous post....I had to buy a few little trinkets and joked to the fellow in the shop about being a Greyfriar's Bobby groupie!

A model of the Old Town

Scottish celebrities were asked to design a silver teapot - this is Billy Connolys!!  I love this guy! He did a famous motorcycle trip down Route 66 which was obviously the inspiration for this design. 

I popped in to see the Kirk (church) of the Canongate which was interesting.  What to my wandering eyes appears but a fish and chip shop and I was still on a quest for a deep fried mars bar.  Yes they had them and not only that but this was the fish and chippie the Royals used.  Kate and William in fact had ordered from there while on their last holiday in Edinburgh.  Good enough for me!  I was not hungry enough for Fish and chips but I sure wanted that deep fried Mars bar.  I have to say I took care of it with no problems.  It had a light batter on that did not detract from the chocolate and caramel goodness.  Oh my I am salivating thinking about it and hopefully there is another one in my future sometime.  Not the type of snack you want too regularly though!!!

I popped in and out of shops on a quest for a shopping bag with the Scottish flag on for a friend - a fruitless search it turned out.  I loved the ambiance of the Royal Mile though and can't wait to explore the whole thing again on a nicer day.

I must say I was enjoying bopping around on my own - such freedom.  While I do enjoy being with others I do crave time on my own.  It was fun to do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it.  Almost euphoric in fact!  Despite the rain I was having a blast.

The Royal mile in the rain

Royal Mile in the rain

I was so happy to have my waterproof camera - I am in love with it. My DSLR stayed back in my room safe and dry...I have learned my lesson with cameras and the rain....

I stopped for a delicious bowl of soup in a sweet little cafe to warm up and dry off then set off again.  After saying hi to Bobby again (like I said I am a groupie) I then entered the National Museum of Scotland (another free museum) ...and was immediately overwhelmed.  I wanted to cry.  I only had about 90 minutes before I was meeting June at the bus station and kept thinking - why didn't I come here earlier?  It has been recently renovated and has so much you don't know where to look first.  I had to prioritize and one of my priorities was seeing this gal...

Dolly - first cloned sheep.  Just curious folks...don't approve of it!

Inside part of the museum
I then made my way to the New Town and I realized I hadn't taken any photos of the Castle from below...not a good day to choose to do it but oh well...

Edinburgh castle from Princes Gardens

Floral clock in Princes Gardens

Princes Gardens

View of Old Town from Princes Gardens

Edinburgh Castle looking very broody

I believe this is an art gallery...loved the coloured pillars. 

No more time to dawdle - I had to get to Marks and Spencers to get supper for June and myself - and that I certainly did.  I met June and we took a taxi back to Becky's.   We feasted on two different frozen dinners (pasta & a meat pie) , salad & wine - and I believe there was chocolate involved as well.   We spent the evening chatting  with Becky and Rachel the student who was staying with her as well as telling each other what we had been up to for the past couple of days.

The next day we headed south for another adventure...but that is another blog post!

I enjoyed my short time in Edinburgh - still so much to see and do....Edinburgh I WILL BE BACK!!! 

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