The next weekend, we jetted off to Edinburgh. I usually prefer more personal space than the average city allows, but I LOVED Edinburgh! I could even see myself living there someday. The food was incredible. The people were nice. There was bagpipe music everywhere. Cobblestone streets. Reading nooks galore. There was always the possibility of seeing J.K. Rowling around town. There were a couple of castles to explore, and there wasn’t this blazing Southern Idaho heat to deal with.
So in Edinburgh, there is Old Town and New Town. We stayed in Old Town, which I preferred because the architecture was older, there was more history, and it was less crowded. Our flight left Belfast early Saturday morning, and we landed in Edinburgh a little after 9:00. Thank you to Jackie for thinking ahead and finding an incredible breakfast place ahead of time. I had toast with the most incredible scrambled eggs I have ever had (sorry Mom) on top, and then that was topped with lox. It was a really stellar breakfast.
After we were full on eggs and toast, we walked down the Royal Mile (the street running from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace) on our way to Edinburgh Castle. We stopped at St. Giles’ Cathedral, which is the main Church of Scotland church. It was gorgeous!
We continued up the Royal Mile and saw the City Chambers,
and finally we reached Edinburgh Castle.
Edinburgh Castle has long been home to ruling clans and monarchs of Scotland, most famously Mary Queen of Scots who gave birth to her son King James VI here. In the 1600s, it became a military base. Cool stuff.
After Edinburgh castle, we just walked around the city. Saw some cool shops on the street…INCLUDING THE PLACE WHERE J.K. ROLLING WROTE HARRY POTTER!!!!!
The cool thing about The Elephant House is that there isn’t really a shrine to Harry Potter or J.K. Rowling, with the exception of the bathroom, which is covered with graffiti from people expressing their passion for Potter.
I like that they have kept it subtle because otherwise, it wouldn’t be a cool coffee shop anymore. It would be a madhouse! We also found a super cool bookshop. One of the books that we found seemed especially relevant…
The next day, we went up to Calton Hill, which has quite a few neat monuments. The hill is located in the middle part of the city, so you can see all the way around, which is pretty cool.
The last stop was Holyrood Palace (pronounced Holly Rude), or The Palace of Holyroodhouse, which is the official residence of the British Monarchy in Scotland. The Queen usually comes for a week at the end of June and holds a few state events, the biggest being a garden party with an average of 8,000 guests. This was a very exciting visit because I am fascinated with the Royal Family. It was hard to control myself at the gift shop because they have china for EVERYTHING. It was a lot to take in. I was a little confused while we were there because I thought that the Royal Family always went to Balmoral when they were in Scotland, so I did some research and found that Balmoral belongs to the family, while Holyrood belongs to the Crown. Cool stuff. We weren’t allowed to take any pictures inside, but here are some pictures of the outside.
We wanted to walk around the Scottish National Parliament because it isn’t too far from Holyrood, but we visited Holyrood on a Sunday, and the Parliament building is not open on Sunday, but we got a couple of pictures of the outside. It was interesting to me that the architecture was so modern and edgy – no big columns, no rotunda, the grandeur associate with the building was very different than the grandeur of the capitol building in D.C.
To finish off, here is a sample from my collection of reading nook pictures. If you go to Edinburgh, make sure to bring a good book, and give yourself some time to enjoy all of the lovely spots to read.