Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Edinburgh day 4, part 2

My last post I finished while Jonah was taking his afternoon nap, but we have been busy this afternoon. We took the afternoon to go to Holyrood Palace, which is the official residence of the Queen when she visits Scotland. She comes in the summer (smart move) so the palace is open for visitors when she's not in residence. The palace was built in the 1300s, and I'm not really sure why because they had the castle just a mile up the street. I guess you need a palace too, when you're a King. The Monarchs of Scotland have been in and out since, depending on who was in power and who was kicked out. Now it's used by the Queen and other foreign visitors who are conducting state business. It reminded me of Versailles, all old fashioned and stuffy looking, so it was hard to imagine that it is actually a functioning palace some of the year. There was a throne room where the Queen actually sits to conduct official business. The chair was just a big arm chair, not really like a throne.
You're not allowed to take pictures inside, so here is one I found online:

The gardens outside are big and beautiful, but you're not allowed to go out on them during the winter. In July, the Queen actually has a huge garden party with 3000 guests.

Also on site are the ruins of an Abbey that was torn down by a Protestant mob in the 1600s. It was really breathtaking. The weather had been rainy and drizzly this afternoon, and made the ruins seem quiet and lonely. You could even see the gravemarkers for some of the kings.

When Ted got back we went to dinner at The Elephant House, which is a little cafe that JK Rowling used to sit and write at when she was first writing Harry Potter. I read many times that she used to sit with her infant daughter in a stroller. It was a cute cafe with a great view of the castle. I could imagine her sitting there writing about Hogwarts and looking at the castle.

The bathroom graffiti was awesome! I wish I had taken my camera in there! At the top of the door said "Dumbledore's Army" with a huge list of names. There were quotes from the books and notes to JK Rowling all over the door. Pretty much the best bathroom graffiti ever.

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