It's super late and we've walked 16 miles in the last two days (which isn't really that much compared to LA or NYC...Edinburgh is smaller), but I had to record something for this day lest I forget or one of my children wonder why I missed a day.
Apparently one castle wasn't enough for Edinburgh, so it has two. The menacing black one at the top of the hill (Edinburgh Castle), and the more official one at the bottom where the Royal family still stays when they're in town (Holyrood Palace). I felt sympathetic for the colossal beast on the hill. It's like a battle worn old warrior no longer needed but still watching over its people. Which reminds me of something else...its impossible to figure out when anything was built in this city. If you ask, it always goes something like "Weel that dyke ower thare was built by James II but then a witch burned the place down in 1642, and the door is all that was leeft, and then King George sent a canon ball through the North side...." etc etc. It's awesome.
Two more things:
One, Mary Queen of Scots. It's one thing to know that story from a history book, it's far different when you're standing on the spot in her bedroom where her husband charged through the door in a jealous rage and stabbed Rizzio to death. All of course, under the cold cold gaze of their ancestor's portraits. And that of course is just a wee slice of the pie. I need to look up one thing though because I think I missed something. Mary lived in Holyrood Palace at the bottom of the hill, but she gave birth to (the future) King James in aforementioned grizzly fortress at the top? Because...it's every woman's dream to go give birth in a black tower?
Second, we had a Lisa moment when were in the old Holyrood Abbey next to the palace. We were standing in the middle where Kings had stood and been given responsibilities before God, and where their dna still lay. Mendelssohn evidently had the same thoughts (according to our audio guide). He was so struck by the enormity of the place he composed the Scottish symphony (Sym No. 3...I'm on a tricky phone, but trust me...google it and listen.)
Oh, and Iied. One last touristy thing: The crown jewels. They weren't quite as locked down as I expected from watching Ocean's 11 and the like, but the guy did yell at you if you touched anything (and I don't mean the stuff itself, but even the glass or door...which in his defense was actually a vault combination).
All in all another great day. Tomorrow we're going to church in the morning, and attempting to drive our poor car again. Lord have mercy.