A day of Royalty and Parliament


Edinburgh was a short and sweet trip. I managed to visit places that were top on my list like Edinburgh Castle, Scottish Parliament, and Arthur’s Seat. I also met a few people who I knew via Twitter. In fact, I met @Thorperoo who accompanied me on this trip to Edinburgh. It was great getting to know him and having his company.

It had stopped raining when I finally set my feet down in Edinburgh. The skies began to clear and reveal the sun. I grabbed a taxi and went straight to the B&B, and freshened up before meeting @Thorperoo.

We started our day at Edinburgh Castle, which is set a top of an extinct volcano. As you can imagine being on top, the Castle offers some great views of Edinburgh especially on the day we were visiting!

Edinburgh

Edinburgh

The Crown

We walked around the castle learning about its history and Scottish heritage. We even witnessed the event called the One o’clock gun. At one o’clock, they fire a canon. People crowded around the area to watch as the canon was ceremoniously prepared. The canon fired with a thunderous boom followed by the unmistakable fumes of ignited gun powder. And then, the crowds dispersed.

Scottish Parliament

Afterwards, we walked down High Street, which becomes Canongate, towards the Scottish Parliament. Unlike most of the buildings of Edinburgh, this is a contemporary building designed by Spanish architect, Enric Miralles.

I’ve been warned that this building is controversial. Supposedly many people were upset that the project went over budget. I think the issue is that most people just don’t understand the architectural design to fully appreciate the building, and those who are critical use the issue of finance as an excuse to justify their negative opinion.

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I personally like the design of building and use of materials. I admit that the use of the reed like elements seem out-of-place but I think it adds another interesting textural layer to the building. I especially love how the Scottish flag is expressed throughout Parliament. As you may know, the Scottish flag is blue with two thick white lines that intersect each other from one corner to the other. Instances of the Scottish flag are seen in the ceiling of the Main Hall when you enter Parliament, and another is found above your head when standing in the Public Stairs.

Scottish Parliament

The Chamber

The Debating Chamber was a nice space for convening and debating the lives of Scotland. The structures supporting the roof is visibly expressed with large timber trusses. The structural expression gave the space a dynamic and energetic feel.

We ended the day of visits at Holyrood Palace, which is near the Scottish Parliament. Holyrood Palace is a royal residence and is currently used by the Queen when she is visiting Scotland attending to royal affairs. I also met a friend of @Thorperoo, Anabelle who joined us at Holyrood Palace, and then showed us a bit around Edinburgh.

Holyrood Palace

I enjoyed walking through the Palace but I was more taken by the fact that Holyrood Palace was built adjacent to the Augustinian Abbey, an abandoned church. I admired some of the architectural details that remained of the abbey. One of my favorite moments was looking up through one of the openings and seeing the vaulted ceiling of what I assume was once a bell tower. The vaulted ceiling was formed by many slender pieces of stone. I thought that as just incredible!

Augustinian Abbey

Augustinian Abbey

Vaulted Ceiling

Afterwards, we walked around Edinburgh and eventually stopped somewhere for a pint and to warm up, where we continued to talk, and getting to know each other. We continued our conversation over dinner at a pub called Ghillie Dhu, which served up some really good Scottish foods! (I’ll share more about my experiences at the Ghillie Dhu in a separate post)

The evening thoroughly exhausted, and looking forward to the next day’s adventure!

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