Final Day in Edinburgh – Leaving Before Hogmanay

Today was our last full day in Edinburgh.  Tomorrow we’ll leave right after breakfast and board a train for Cardiff. It’s a bit ironic to be leaving Edinburgh just now, because New Year’ Eve is a really big deal here. The last day of the year is called Hogmanay, and it actually started tonight – and we’ll be missing the whole street party and concert tomorrow night. But I imagine there’ll be one or two things going on in Cardiff, as well. And we didn’t miss everything. I’ll get to that eventually.

This morning we had another fine breakfast at the Kildonan Lodge Hotel. Twenty-Two-Year-Old had the Scotch pancakes, and I had the Scottish oats (aka porridge). Twenty-Two-Year-Old also wishes for me to post a retraction  for yesterday. She did not have the full Scottish – she had scrambled eggs and smoked salmon. And also some black pudding. Which she liked.

After breakfast we were thinking of going to the Georgian House but owning to the holiday, it was closed. As the weather was somewhat awful (it was raining, cold, and very windy), we wanted to do indoor things, so we headed to Holyrood Palace, which was the official royal residence going back to James IV in 1501. The site goes back to the  11th century and first king of Scotland with the Abbey that sits on the grounds.  We headed there – but we took some detours, so I’ll get back to this.

Holyrood Palace is at the bottom of the Royal Mile at the other end from Edinburgh Castle.  As we were walking there from the bus, I couldn’t help but notice The Scottish Storytelling Cenrre at John Knox House. Naturally, we went in. There were no events currently at the centre, but they have a storytelling theatre, and another stage by the cafe. There’s also a bookstore where it’s possible I picked up something.

As we were there, I also couldn’t resist a visit to the John Knox House. John Knox was the founder of Presbyterianism in Scotland. Being the church geek that I am, I couldn’t pass up the visit. But the thing about church history is that it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s tied into all the other history as well. In the case of John Knox, the history was all tied in with Mary, Queen of Scots and her abdication.

We did finally make it to Holyrood Palace. It’s quite lovely – but there’s no photography allowed inside.  It’s still the royal residence of British monarchs when they’re in Edinburgh, so the private apartments aren’t on the tour.   The most interesting part of the palace inside anyway was for me, Queen Mary’s rooms. This is where the Queen’s friend Rizzio was murdered in her presence.

Attached to the palace are the ruins of Holyrood Abbey. It was under construction for 300 years and even in ruins is magnificent.

As we were walking back up the hill from Holyrood Palace we stopped at the Edinburgh Museum. We saw a short film on the  history of the city, which was informative. The collection in the museum was interesting.

After the museum we ate dinner at World’s End Pub – built at the Flodden Wall. It was yummy and we had sticky toffee pudding for dessert.

I did mention that Hogmanay is a big deal. It began tonight with fireworks and a torchlight procession. You can either purchase a torch and take part – or you can watch. Twenty-Two_year-Old preferred to watch, so we did. It kicks off with some fireworks up on Calton Hill. Then the procession starts at St. Giles Cathedral with bagpipers  and drummers who are all lit up.  They’re followed by the Vikings with the massive old-style torches, and then everyone else (EVERYONE else – a small city’s worth of people) with special torches made out of wax.   It’s really lovely.And I think everyone who isn’t processing is out watching. It was a lovey way to end up our time here. I’ll be sorry to leave but looking forward to Cardiff. I hope to be back.

That’s all I’ve got. That’s my mite.

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