Pretty laid back day today. Slept in, as much as I could with the roommates getting up and leaving. I headed out and went straight to Holyrood Palace, at the opposite end of the Royal Mile from me. When I got there I was pleasantly surprised to learn that admission was free today because it’s St. Andrews Day. He is the patron saint of Scotland.
Holyrood Palace is the Queen’s official residence in Edinburgh, though she’s usually only here one week a year or something like that. It was interesting to learn that as Head of the Order of the Thistle (Scotland’s highest order), when she makes someone a knight in the order, she does so on St. Andrews Day down the road in St. Giles’ Cathedral. (Side note, I never did make it back inside the church, but I’m glad I could say I’ve been in there!) The last person she made a knight in the order was Wills 2 years ago.
The palace was nice. I wanted to see it more for the history than the fact that it’s still an official residence. I saw Westminster last year, so I’m good on that front! The audio guide tour was also free, not sure if it’s free every day, but I think it is. I’m glad I got it because it really gave a lot of history and explained the palace’s rooms. Mostly I was interested in hearing about Mary, Queen of Scots (oh, that’s something from the tour yesterday I forgot to share: there has never been a King of Scotland because the Scots don’t believe that you can rule a country, i.e. land. The king rules the people, not the land, so it’s always King or Queen of Scots.) She had a really sad story. She became queen before her 1st birthday, but was ferreted away to France to grow up. She married at 15, but he died 2 years later. She came back to Scotland to rule and remarried. But her new husband thought she spent too much time with her Italian secretary, so one night the King and his buddies ripped the secretary away from the Queen and her ladies-in-waiting and murdered him in the Queen’s apartments. The spot is actually marked in the room. Mary was very pregnant at the time and after she gave birth, the King was murdered. Mary, who was the granddaughter of Margaret Tudor (yes, it always comes back to the Tudors for me!), eventually sought respite in England from cousin Elizabeth I. You may remember Elizabeth as Anne Boleyn’s daughter. Elizabeth feared that being Margaret’s granddaughter, Mary was the rightful heir to the throne, so Elizabeth had Mary imprisoned for 18 years before she was convicted of treason.
After Holyrood, I walked back up the Royal Mile and was in search of a burgundy and cream cashmere scarf for myself. I want a burgundy coat, but if I can’t find one, then there was a cream coat I’ve had my eye on. I didn’t find one, so I went to the Christmas Market and got a bratwurst for lunch before going to the Princes Mall. I relaxed at Starbucks for a bit, where I went online and found out the cream coat I wanted is nowhere within 100 miles of the Twin Cities. Great.
Then I decided it was time to hit Princes Street again (Chas and I had been there on Thursday) and really shop. I came away empty handed. And the crowds were insane. It felt like Black Friday weekend at home. No bueno. So I looped around Edinbugh Castle and ended up back on the Royal Mile. I ended up getting a cream and light brown scarf. I guess I will put the coat, hat, and gloves together based on the scarf! And I paid 15 extra pounds to have one that says “Made in Scotland.” I think it was worth it!
Then I came back to my room to rest and read a bit before lunch. It had been an absolutely gorgeous, sunny day, but I walked a ton. So after awhile I decided to get food. I had two pints of Magners with dinner and was going to do a bit of a pub crawl, but remembered that I had to shower and pack tonight and get up at like 5am to make my 8am flight. Seriously, what was I thinking??? But it’ll be worth it because the flight is taking me to Ireland! Though I cannot believe that it’s the last country of this journey of mine!