Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Edinburgh, Part the Third

We finished seeing what we wanted to see at the castle, had lunch with some other folks, and then headed down the Royal Mile (which feels like a bit more than a mile when you're walking up it) to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. You aren't allowed to take pictures in the in the palace itself, though we did get to walk through with an audio guide.

The coolest thing, for me, was seeing the room where David Rizzio was murdered. You see, I'd forgotten about David Rizzio, and seeing the room and the labels brought back to me what I'd learned about that.

(This week, in one of my classes, we read about Mary, Queen of Scots, and read a letter from her to Elizabeth and then read the description of her execution. In the letter she wrote to Elizabeth, she alludes to Rizzio's murder. So I asked my students, both of whom had gone to Edinburgh, if they'd seen the room where Rizzio was murdered. But neither of them had gone into the palace or the castle, just looked at them from outside. Now I understand you're on a budget, but if you don't go into places, and aren't going into museums and stuff, how are you keeping happily busy visiting a place such as Edinburgh? Yes, I know, pubs and shopping.)

The ruins of Holyrood Abbey were beautiful in the way that ruins sometimes are, very stark, but not as lonely feeling as some.

After visiting the Abbey for a while, we decided to skip the full garden experience (we also didn't have time to visit the botanical gardens, alas) and go find Greyfriar's Bobby. At first we only found the "grave marker," but as we were walking away, we also saw the little statue thingy. (Wikipedia has two versions of the story, make of it what you will.)

Then it was time for dinner! Pub dinners are, in my limited experience, pretty darned good, warm and filling.

The next morning, my friend had gone off with the group on the bus, so I spent part of the morning at the National Museum of Scotland. What a fabulous space! You enter into a lower section (at least I did), with a big openish area that feels really welcoming somehow; the light's gentle, and you can check bags, get maps, and so on. From there, you walk up stairs to a central hall where you can see way up to other floors, and which is flooded with light. (And naturally, I checked my bag and didn't carry my camera around.)

I mostly visited historical artifacts from Scotland, but I wished I could have spent the whole day. I did find the exhibit areas to be confusing and mazelike; it's hard to follow around because the space is divided up and onto different floors and areas on floors. Still, the museum is totally worth a longer visit than I gave it.

And that was my visit to Edinburgh. I wanted to try to catch up because tomorrow I'm going to Ireland!

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