Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Scotland 9

Wednesday, 20th June

They have a 24 hour day here, and I don't just mean the sunlight. The hotel room clocks don't have am/pm; right now it's 21:58. As for daylight, we're further south now, at Stirling, and by 12:30 it was as dark as St. Louis in the late evening, which is to say that it was deep blue way up in the sky, as though a city nearby was causing a slight glow. Further north, I never noticed it getting even this dark, here in the week of the summer solstice.

We woke to cold rain this morning, after yet another night of Ada in bed with me, nursing. (Look at her sleep: almost unbearably precious!) We had a hot breakfast in the sunroom while the rain pounded down all around us, then loaded into the vans. No Stirling Castle this morning; we headed east instead.

The babies slept all the way to Falkland Palace, then I nursed Ada for a hour and a half as we explored the place. Much of the palace is in ruins. Some of the "newer" (16th Century) building has been restored and decorated with original furnishings. The keeper still lives there (in converted stables) and the tennis courts are still used, as is the Catholic chapel. Note: the Queen is the head of the Anglican Church, but she owns a Catholic church! The docents here were so interesting, informative, and helpful!

Did you know that it's rumored that if Charles becomes King, he might call himself George VII to avoid the controversy over his Christian name: to count Bonnie Prince Charlie or not?

Falkland Palace was yet another place we didn't expect to see and ended up loving.

On this vacation we will hopefully see castles in every state: the ruins of Armadale, open rooms full of lichen and ferns; partially ruined and partially habitable Falkland; intact and partially restored Stirling; and, hopefully, the fully habitable - and current royal - Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.

The weather cleared up. We got to Stirling Castle and had lunch before our guided tour - very interesting and informative that was - and then we had a little time to walk around before meeting back at the vans.

Paul had Ellie in the backpack at Falkland, sling at Stirling, and his back is really bothering him. (I had Ada in the sling at Falkland, Snuggli the rest of the day.) I'm stiff too.

The four of us explored the Palace, then walked the north ramparts. Amazing views.

After a stop in the gift shop, we drove over to the monument to William Wallace (Braveheart). 246 stairs to the top, after the bus ride up to the base. Paul had Ellie in the backpack (thank you, Phil and Amanda!) I had Ada in the Snuggli, and we climbed them all! Then walked back out rather than taking the bus back down to the car park.

Next, we headed back to the awesome hotel and plopped the girls into the big bathtub together. Both loved the experience. We ordered "room service" pizza for Ellie and put them both down by ten after 7, only slightly late for drinks with my family in the bar.

Less time in the car today!

Tonight, I ordered the Guinness pie and creme broulee. Paul had the fried Camembert, beef stroganoff, and banoffee. It's easy to see why our pants are tight despite much walking with heavy children all day! That's without even acknowledging the shortbread in the car.

Note that the awesome hotel has a baby monitor, which makes our dinners 100 times more fun! Here's hoping that Ada is willing to sleep in her own bed some tonight (she's not, right now). Tomorrow: tweed suit shopping for my dad, Callandar House, Balquidder and Rob Roy.

Now back to my Scottish mystery novel. 22:23.


Aaron Proctor said...

Awesome blog. Putting you in my blog roll as I'm new to STL

Aaron Proctor said...


Sarahlynn said...

Thanks, Aaron, and welcome back to StL! If I ever get around to updating my blogroll, you'll be on it . . .

Amanda said...

I almost forgot. What did you think of the Wallace talking head at the monument?

Sarahlynn said...

To tell you the truth, I barely noticed it! I stopped briefly to catch my breath there, but mainly just ran up and down as quickly as possible (with a baby in the front back, so not very quickly at all on all those steep stairs!) without spending much time on each landing.