Scotland

My parents came to visit in mid-April. They’ve been to London several times already, so they like picking me up and going places we’ve never been before (which I’m totally ok with). This time we spent three days in Edinburgh, taking the train from King’s Cross St. Pancras.

The train ride was stunningly beautiful. The English countryside is so lush and beautiful, particularly on a sunny day.

We stayed in an apartment just off the Mound, visited Edinburgh Castle, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

The Palace of Holyroodhouse is the Queen’s official residence when she goes to Scotland (though we all know she spends about a week there before high-tailing it to Balmoral in Aberdeenshire.) I can’t say that I blame her. Holyroodhouse is much less private than Balmoral; while Balmoral is a private residence and not a part of the Crown Estate, Holyroodhouse is one of the Royal Residences and thus open to tours and all sorts of things. I’ve always wondered what it must be like to sneak past the gift shop to get to your side of the house! Anyway, attached to Holyrood Palace is the ruins of Holyrood Abbey.

While the palace struck me as a tad drafty and overstated, there’s nothing I love more than some church ruins . . . the dilapidated grandeur is incredible.

I wish we’d had more time to spend there, but honestly it was bitterly cold even in mid-April! We were wearing our winter coats and as we waited for the massive gun to go off at Edinburgh Castle (as it does at 1 pm–I think–every day), the wind sending a chill straight through us, my dad mentioned that Edinburgh was on the same latitude line as Moscow. Very beautiful, but very cold. I still had a considerable amount of work to do on my essays, so I had to stay in our little apartment which was very historic but very poorly insulated.

They also spent a few days with me in London, going around to see my daily life there and meeting a few of my friends. On the way back from the Tate Britain (home to the Lady of Shalott one of my mother’s favorite paintings), a small parade obstructed our way home! It was some small organization, or regiment that merrily walked its way down the road, proudly displaying their banners and colors. My parents got a real kick out of it . . . but this cynical city kid just grumbled at the inconvenience.

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