Friday, August 24, 2012

Palace of Holyroodhouse


On our final day in Edinburgh, we visited the grounds of the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Our visit included the Queen's Gallery, the palace, the gardens and a walking tour of the nearby Holyrood Park. The Palace of Holyroodhouse was where Mary Queen of Scots spent alot of time. It is also where Queen Elizabeth awards honors to Scottish notables including the Order of the Thistle. Sean Connery was knighted by the Queen at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in 2000. 

  Thistle & Heather


Holyrood Park 


Arthur's Seat 


Walking through Holyrood Park

 Looking towards Edinburgh


Palace of Holyroodhouse

Remains of Holyrood Abbey

Friday and Farewell

Calling all Harry Potter fans. This is the cafe in which J.K. Rowling wrote the books. It's called the Elephant House. There are tons of pictures of Rowling all over the wall on the left. Fortunately for me and Lindsey, this little place was convenient to our flat. We enjoyed many a sandwich and pot of tea here during our stay. And they have a nice after dinner drink composed of hot chocolate and Bailey's Irish Cream. Yum!!

And, the bathroom walls, ceiling and floor are covered with lovely accolades to the books and writer. Very charming.

Yesterday was our last day for the book festival. We heard Ian McEwan discuss his new book Sweet Tooth.  I know he's not for everyone, but I loved his book Atonement and this new one is about the Cold War. It was interesting to hear him talk about being an English writer.

I've acquired a stack of new books. I'll probably have to ship them home there are so many. Edinburgh has been wonderful and spending time with Lindsey and books made it extra special.

Off to London to meet Steph and Jim tomorrow. I'm looking forward to the train ride from here for a bit of reading time and hopefully sightseeing along the way. Who knows what's in store in the next week?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Wednesday's adventures

Aunt Laurie and I have spent most of our time at Charlotte Square Gardens  where the Edinburgh International Book Festival is taking place. But on Wednesday, without an event to dictate our schedule, we spent time exploring more of the city. 

 This is what I would call 'home base,' a Guardian sponsored chair in Charlotte Square Gardens.

 National Museum of Scotland 

Each night from our flat we are treated to the bagpipes and fireworks coming from the  Edinburgh Military Tattoo , which takes place in the stadium next to Edinburgh Castle. 

My favorite place to have a tea break is eteaket, a tea boutique that serves tea and scones on mismatched porcelain. Here is the aftermath of afternoon tea. I forgot to take a picture of all the lovely food before I tucked in.

Princes Street Gardens is a lovely green space, which also serves as an escape from the busy sidewalk traffic along Princes Street. There are many statues and memorials throughout the city that honour notable Scottish men and war heroes. 

Detective Inspector Rebus on the case

On Tuesday evening, I had the great pleasure of listening to Ian Rankin speak. As a fan of his novels, especially the Rebus series, I was thrilled. The moderator for the event had planned an evening of 'Desert Island' style questions for Rankin related to Rebus. To name a few: favorite one liner, favorite joke, Rebus' favorite song, best bar scene, favorite description of Siobhán, favorite scene in all of the series. For a crowd of Rebus fans, this was heaven.

Rankin was forthcoming with humour and honesty. It was obvious that he cares for his characters and his readers. As he signed my book, The Impossible Dead, he asked where I was from. I replied Portland, Oregon. I asked had he ever been to Powell's. He remarked that he done gigs at Powell's and enjoys staying at the Heathman hotel. He will be starting a U.S. tour in January to promote the long awaited next book in the Rebus series, Standing in Another Man's Grave. So exciting!

 Here is Rebus' favourite bar, The Oxford Bar. Be advised, it does not have a foot rail, and the bartender may be cross if you order a gin and tonic. 

Fleshmarket Close a.k.a Fleshmarket Alley: the scene of a gruesome murder in the Rebus book of the same name. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Good Day in Edinburgh

As you can see from Lindsey's photos, we visited the castle yesterday. It was a lovely sunny, slightly cool afternoon which made the hike up the hillside pleasant. The castle itself is impressive with buildings spread across the top of the hill with fantastic views of Edinburgh, the Firth of Forth and the North Sea beyond.

Last night was a big night for me. We had tickets to the sold out China Mieville event. I wan't sure what to expect since he always looks so dour in photos I've seen.  Turns out he has a great sense of humor and is really quite charming. When he signed my book I gave him a wooden bookmark from Flyleaf and invited him to come see us at the store sometime. He seemed genuinely touched. Maybe on his next book tour he will make his way to Chapel Hill.

Here's a picture Lindsey took of us as we chatted and he signed a copy of his book.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Atop Edinburgh Castle

A view of our flat as we ascend the castle. We are on the first floor, not street level. Our building has the red door.

In Edinburgh Castle, which is a working military post, here is a statue of a deserving field marshall. 

The castle is impossibly old...I forget which century, but Robert the Bruce had it destroyed after he won it from the English invaders. Here is a relatively new addition. 

This is Mons Meg and Lindsey. She scared away any further invaders. 

The views of the city were quite lovely indeed. Here is Old Town Edinburgh from the parapets of the castle.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Day two

Here is Lindsey sitting on the lawn at Charlotte Square as we wait to hear Anne Enright read this evening.  We had a great day of exploring the city today. We had breakfast on Rose Street and then went straight to the festival.  It was a bit rainy this afternoon so we headed back to the flat for a brief respite then went back to hear Anne Enright this evening.  She was marvelous - bright, funny, irreverent and insightful.  Afterward we had a wonderful Thai meal and then went to the Elephant House (famous as the place where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter) for drinks and cake.  What a wonderful day!!

The view from our flat

A view of Edinburgh Castle from our flat in Grassmarket. 

Ways to get around: a taxi, a bus, and a bike. But there is no bike lane. 

Had our first cup of tea on Rose Street