Day 8

Our day was an absolute jam packed day full of awesomeness! It started early at 6am because everyone in our group woke up before it’s alarm went off (and on a side note, at midnight we were the only people in our room, but when we woke up the hostel was full- and I didn’t wake up when they arrived). We began or day by dropping off one of our group members at a church for Sunday services. Then the rest of our group caught a cab to Arthur’s seat (on a side note, the cabs are cole because they are modern cars that look old). After a fairly steep ascent up a rocky staircase, we made it to the top in about half an hour. Despite the nearly constant buffeting wind, the view from the top was amazing. We made sure to take plenty of pictures (and I carried a large rock to the summit). After that we began our descent and headed towards the Holyrood house palace. But, we were too early (got there at 9, it didn’t open until 9:30). So, the rest of my group took a break at a coffee shop while I wandered around for a bit (I went to see the Scottish parliament) before I went into the Holyrood house (side note, the rest of my group went to pick up the member that went to church while I went into the palace; and the ticket lady was a American football fan- she liked the Bengals, her boyfriend liked the packers). The palace was great considering it is still used as a residence, but I only had about 45 minutes to view it, so I snapped illegal photos and made a brisk tour of the palace). Then I met my group at st Giles cathedral (which had services going on). And outside the church a man was playing a bagpipe very well. But once the whole gang was back together we decided to go to the elephant house for lunch (it’s a restaurant where jk Rowling wrote parts of Harry potter). Afterwards we went to a cemetery nearby that had many of the names that jk Rowling used within her books (specifically Mcgonagall and Thomas Riddell). After that we went over to the sir Walter Scott monument to meet the rest of our group that just recently arrived on the train. Then, in one massive group, we went to the Edinburgh castle (but here we splintered off since some of us didn’t want to pay to go into the castle). I decided to go into the castle and I took a tour once inside. The tour was amazing because the guide was a true Scotsman: he had a thick accent, loved to drink whiskey, knew a lot about Scottish history, and was wearing a kilt. He started the tour by stating the castle had never been taken by force, but it was taken by a siege that lasted two years. Then he talked about how the cannons are ship cannons, the Gibb is fired at 1o’clock each day to preserve ammunition, he pointed out three military museums (full of knowledge) a prison museum, a church that is the oldest building in Edinburgh that is also dedicated to a very pious mother, an enormous medieval cannon that shoots 300 pound ammunition 2 miles, a world war 1 monument that has housed the name of every dead Scottish soldier since world war 1, a hall that has the original wooden ceiling (from the hull of a boat), And a tour of the Scottish crown jewels (which have a long history being moved around from place to place) and the stone of Destiny (which the first king of Scotland was crowned on, but it was stolen by an English king And moved to Westminster Abbey where it remained  for 700 years before being returned by queen Elizabeth just recently). After a couple hours of my own exploration in the castle, I left to explore st Giles cathedral, which had some amazing stained glass windows. After that I took a trip to the national galleries, which had many great paintings ranging from many periods of art (I even found an impressionist painting by Berthe Morisot) And I met part of my group. Then we all took a long walk to st Mary’s cathedral (but it was closed) before heading to dinner. We ate at a nice restaurant and I had haggis (goat stomach) tatties (potatoes) and neeps (?). Then we all met at the train station and went back to Durham.

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