Saturday 25 July – Edinburgh

Today was Day 1 in Edinburgh.  First of was a visit to the hotel we rented the flat from to tell them about the washing machine and ask for local information re laundromat.  The lovely lady (who needs a raise after the help she gave us yesterday when we couldn’t get the keys to work) kindly took Dad’s laundry and put it into their machine.  We picked it up after our day’s sightseeing washed and dried.  Mine is being done tonight – the best laid plans generally go pear shaped!!  The hotel has wi fi and they are letting me sit here and type away while the washing machine/dryer does its thing.  Very grateful for their assistance I can tell you – it’s not supposed to be this hard just to get clean clothes!!  So when in Edinburgh please do look up the Victoria Park Hotel in Ferry Road for a place to stay.

On the way back to the flat this morning we took a bit of a drive around to see if we could get down and see the ship that we can see from the flat.  We couldn’t get right to the water but it was a bit of a look see anyway and we found how to get to the Royal Yacht Brittania so that was information that was useful as we will probably go there tomorrow.

About, oh let’s see, a two minute walk from the flat is the bus stop into the City.  It is 3 pounds each for an all day bus ticket and we can leave the car in the car park at the flat and not have to either negotiate the City traffic or pay for car parking so that works well.  We took the bus into the City with the plan to see Holyroodhouse at the bottom of the Royal Mile and then walk the Royal Mile up to Edinburgh Castle.  Yes, best laid plans…Bus ride was fine and dandy but…

Holyroodhouse is the official residences of the Queen when she is in Edinburgh and also the official residence of Prince Charles when he is in town.  He was.  Until 1.30 pm.  So the Palace was closed to the public until after he left the building.  The Scottish Parliament building is across the road and it is free to go in and have a squiz at that so we did that while we waited for the clock to tick over.  The debating chamber was out of bounds only as there was a meeting going on (it was just bad timing) but the ground floor was not a problem.  After going through security like at the airports, we went into the building and had a look at the exhibition that is set up showing the history that has lead to Scotland once again having its own Parliament and the way the building has been designed. Another side of the Scotland story that is more recent history.

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The outside of the Scottish Parliament building.

We then went and took a look at the Palace once it was opened.  Photos can’t be taken inside the Palace but in the forecourt, abbey ruins and gardens it isn’t a problem.  Bear decided to have a chat with the Queen’s grandfather…

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as HRH Prince Charles had left and chatting with him was not an option.

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Anyhoo…Holyroodhouse.  Well, as you can see, it certainly ain’t no ruin.  As was the custom when it was built each room is more spectacular and opulate than the last until the King’s bedchamber is reached in keeping with the “I am a very important person and you will notice this as you move through the Castle” attitude that prevailed.  The ceilings alone are magnificent with more mouldings until the King’s Bedchamber which is has a painting in the centre.  The Palace is still used so although the rooms are set up to receive the public for viewing they are used for official duties as well.  Of course, the Royal Apartments are completely out of bounds as is to be expected and there are wardens everywhere to make sure that no-one puts a foot wrong.  And they may seem to be quietly just hanging around answering questions but do not be fooled, they don’t miss a mistep if a member of the public tries to go the wrong way or takes out a photo taking device.

The gardens are beautiful as well.  It is here that the Queen holds a Garden Party each year for 800 selected guests.  It must look very festive all set up with the marquees.

After leaving Holyroodhouse we set off to walk up the Royal Mile.  This leads to Edinburgh Castle and is a bustling mile of street with interesting architecture, shops, buskers, many many people and all manner of general city busyness.  As the Clan Gathering is on in Edinburgh this weekend (in fact it is set up behind Holyroodhouse) there are even more people than usual in the City.  Tartan abounds with lots of men in traditional kilt dress.  Very festive.  I was quite keen to go take a look at the Gathering but Dad wasn’t so I have to be content to checking out the festival goers as they walk around the city.

On the way up the hill this was one of the  buskers entertaining passerbys…

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We also found the Edinburgh Museum.  This is run by the City Council and is free to enter and was very interesting focusing as it was just on the history of the City.  There are (I think) four such free museums on the Royal Mile all very different from each other but this was the only one we had time to visit today. 

Continuing up the Royal Mile and at the top there is a tartan shop/factory so we went in and took a look around.  The machines were not working but the tartans were all loaded to be woven and the name of which particular tartan was on each loom was chalked on a blackboard above the work area so that was interesting.

We had now reached the Castle.  But…given the delay in waiting for the Palace to open it was closed so that means a trip back tomorrow.  Oh well, time to go and find a bus and go back to the flat.  Bear insisted on sitting upstairs on the two storey bus to enjoy the view from up there…

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Until next time…

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Posted on July 28, 2009, in Scotland, Trip. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. All the better to see things from the top! Glad you enjoyed Edinburgh – its a fun city.

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