Amanda and Kyle decided to prepare a Christmas Eve feast, so I was on my own for the afternoon. What better way to follow-up a visit to a palace than a visit to a castle? I thought about changing into dry clothes, but since it was still threatening to rain I decided, what’s the point? My gloves were totally soaked so I left them off and shoved them in my pocket in case they dried later. They didn’t.
I didn’t have much time to linger since I’d heard Mary Queen of Scots would be making an appearance at 3:00. But I was cold and wet. I couldn’t change clothes because they were cleaning my room so I headed to Peacock Alley for some tea. I also ordered a ham and cheese sandwich. I love that the tea always comes with a cookie, because the ham and cheese sandwich was swimming in mayonnaise and some sort of tomato relish.
I headed out and it wasn’t raining, but there was a cold, cold wind. I walked up the hill to the castle, got my ticket, and went in search of the queen. I had no idea where to find her, but lucky for me, I just happened to be standing in the Great Hall, when she made her entrance.
When she entered she made a big deal about saying “good morning”. I’m not sure anyone but me knew she was coming and they all looked a little surprised. She said “let’s try that again” and went out and came back in. Apparently our response was disappointing. She told us we were to reply with “good morning, your grace”. Then she gave us lessons on how to bow and curtsey. It was very important that men bow but keep their right arms free. That way if any enemies were sneaking up on us, they’d be able to lop their heads off.
As she was about to reenter, she stopped and said some of us looked quite foreign. She walked over to me and asked where I had come from. I said, “the United States.” She said, “Oh, well, I don’t have any idea where that is!” She asked a few more people and then she announced she needed a few people to form her entourage so she could make a proper entrance. She asked for volunteers but nobody stepped up so she said “Let’s start with you, lady from the United States.” She picked a few others from the crowd and then showed us the proper walk so that as we entered the “lesser people” would have enough time to show their appreciation. Then she told the “lesser people” to be sure to clap and cheer as we walked by and we would go very, very slowly so they’d have enough time to really appreciate us! The “special people” in the entourage were supposed to be keeping an eye out for enemies, she said they could be anywhere!
She then talked about the holiday parties she liked to have at the castle. She said that dancing was an important part and then she said, “you there, lady from the United States, come out here and join my dance.” She picked five more people and made us stand in a circle. Then she showed us the moves. After a while she decided we needed music, since nobody had brought any instruments, she had the “lesser people” clap in time while we danced around and around.
When Mary left I headed to the Scottish Honors exhibit. This is what they call their crown jewels, though really sitting on the stone of destiny was much more important than the crown. It’s hard to see why cause the crown was exquisite and the stone of destiny was really just a big rock!
Within that exhibit I learned that the Scottish people were not any fonder of Oliver Cromwell than the Irish, he must have been seriously lacking the interpersonal skills!
They don’t let you take pictures of the actual crown, but they have a great bronze replica as you enter the actual room.
I went from there to the Royal Apartments. This included the room where my friend Mary gave birth to her son James. It was a very small room, because as she points out there were enemies everywhere!
I took a stroll through the Prisoners of War exhibit. Their conditions were bleak.
The sun was starting to set but I was still able to take a few pictures of the castle…
And the view…
And a new friend…
Then it was time to walk to Kyle and Amanda’s flat for Christmas Eve dinner.
While Kyle and Amanda cooked, Scott and I watched Harry Potter. Dinner was a turkey wrapped in bacon, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and rolls. The best part was the yule log Amanda served for desert right next to the roaring fire.
Tomorrow is Christmas and everything in Edinburgh is closed. We are going to celebrate at Kyle and Amanda’s and then take a hike through a local park. Happy Christmas, everyone!