Believe it or not, the sun came out and the wind died down. We slept in a bit and had a leisurely breakfast. Joe and I headed out to the Royal Mile, this time towards the bottom and Holyrood Palace. This is where the Queen stays when she is in town. Though the original structure dates from the 1200's, the palace we see today is due to the renovations under Charles II. Along the mile are the tenements, souvenir shoppes, cafes and bars and tailors ready to make a kilt for you. Full regalia can cost up to 1,000 pounds. Of course you can get one ready made but it wouldn't be authentic. Then again, who would know?
Because of the weather it was a pleasant walk and all downhill. We arrived at the Palace just in time for the Abbey tour. This was the first building erected on the site by Benedictine monks in the 12th century. The original abbey was quite small but over the years it was enlarged until it was the cathedral of it's day. It is a ruin now, the ceiling collapsed, but the magnificent walls remain. You can trace the building methods
just by looking at the stonework and building material. Behind the nave you can still see where the old church was due to archeological remains of the old footprint. Part of the original alter still stands.
Next we enjoyed the garden tour. We were so happy the weather was good and our walk pleasant. The grounds are extensive. When the queen visits in the summer she gives a garden party for 4,000 or so and it is held on these grounds. The narcissus were still blooming and there were some rhododendron in bloom, lots of pansies in the beds and the rolling green lawn had a smidgeon of dandelions. Finally it was time to enter the building. We toured the rooms where the Queen entertains when she is in residence but the part of the Palace I wanted to visit was the rooms that Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots occupied. These rooms were small and it was there that her husband, Lord Darnley, had her secretary, David Riccio murdered. The story of Mary of Scotland is a tragic one of a woman who I believe was temperamentally unsuited to rule in a land dominated by men, who
had to deal with an unsuitable husband and a fanatical cleric and received not a lot of support from her courtiers. They would much prefer a man on the throne.
The plan was to take a taxi to the Museum of Scotland but that didn't happen. Instead we trudged back up the hill stopping here and there, hoping for a cup of tea, but that didn't happen either. At one cafe we were told that they couldn't take our order for ten minutes, translated as were too busy, go away. The second cafe had table but Joe figured out how they operated. One, give you a menu, next, take your order, then cook it up, finally deliver it to your table and then ....... move on to the next table and repeat the process. We were so far down the list that we left.
Finally we arrived at the bridge, found a pastry shop advertising tea and scones, were seated right away and all then proceeded as it should. By now my knee had swollen to twice it's size and it was time to get off my feet so we never did get back to the museum.
We attended a performance of "Jamie's Scottish Show" a review of Scottish music along with dinner and held in our hotel. This was a great evening. The menu offered Cream of leek and potato soup, a selection of Fillet of salmon, or Chicken breast or Roast Beef served with potatoes and veggies. All were reported as very good, Desert was Traditional Tipsy Laird, sort of a parfait with coffee and shortbread. Red and white wine bottles were on the table and replaced as emptied and a pitcher of soda and another of water were quickly refilled. For those who cared to, a taste of Haggis, neeps and tatties was provided.
The show was excellent, the MC had circulated the room before the performance so he was able to relate easily with the audience. There were three dancers, a piper who, a champion fiddle player and acclaimed accordionist who was also part of the "band". The young woman on the violin was super and the accordionist made that instrument fly. The haggis was pipped in and finally we all joined hands and sang Auld Land Syne. It was a memorable evening. Tomorrow were up at 4:00am for our trip home.
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