When the Parental Units Come to Visit


Alright, update time.  My parent’s showed up on August 30th, and only just flew out today.  This concludes my time of touring like a real American.  I hope I don’t bore you with details, but I feel as though some people will be curious about the time they were here.  I’ll write a non-detailed, non-list blog entry to make up for this.

They flew into Edinburgh and took the day to try to adjust to the jet lag.  I marched into the hotel from the flat I had been staying in to find my mother down in the lounge.  She was happy to see me.  Not just because she was seeing me, but also because it meant she could go up and go to bed.

We spent four nights in Edinburgh and saw the sights.  I had already seen a lot of Edinburgh, just from walking around the streets.  So I was able to act as an informal tour guide leading them into and out of restaurants and pubs as well as to the local attractions.

So what did we do in Edinburgh?  Well, took a bus tour and saw the major sites of Edinburgh and then picked what we wanted to see.  We saw the Edinburgh castle; the Holyrood castle, where the Queen stays when she visits Edinburgh; and the Edinburgh Art Museum.  They also consented to me dragging them down to the Mela festival, a festival that features international food, music, and dance.  We saw a play, African song and dance, and belly dancing. I think that maybe, just maybe they were glad I’d dragged them.

Edinburgh castle marked the third castle I’ve seen since being in the UK.  It was quite huge, ancient, and full of tourists.  My favorite part of the castle was the wee little chapel at the top called St. Margaret’s Chapel after a Queen, and who  was later canonized as a saint.  It was the oldest building in the castle dating from 12th century.  We also got the see the jewels of Scotland including the Stone of Destiny that Scottish kings have been getting crowned on for centuries.  It’s shrouded in mystery, as no one is entirely sure how or why it was chosen, only that it was.  It literally is just stone in the shape of a seat- not exactly something you’d pick out for a king (or queen.)  That makes it even more intriguing.  I found this beautifully simple.

We also had plenty of food and drink and enjoyed walking around on the Royal Mile, and even found a place to taste scotch and listen to traditional music.

Next after Edinburgh was Glasgow.  We took another tour bus and spent just one night there, but saw the Botanical Garden, which was absolutely lovely, and the Glasgow Cathedral and the Glasgow Necropolis.  The Glasgow Cathedral is the oldest building in Glasgow dating from the 12th century.  The Necropolis was huge and on a giant hill overlooking all of Glasgow.  My mother isn’t too keen on climbing steps, so I ran up by myself and felt like I was in a playground with all the huge grave stones and the view overlooking the city.

After Glasgow we headed down to York, my favorite city on the tour.  York manages to be quaint, beautiful, welcoming and fascinating without being touristy.  For example, where the Royal Mile in Edinburgh is littered with tourist shops in between the castle and the parliament building, York has beautiful unique little shops, pubs and restaurants stretching in all directions from the center of the city.  Chocolate shops and tea shops and crafty shops and a market etc etc etc.  I felt like I could have explored for a week and only touched the very surface of it.  But other than that, we toured the Railway Museum-where my engineer of a dad nerded out and my mom panicked because I was sitting on a bench by the door and she couldn’t find me (don’t tell her I told you.)  We saw Clifford’s tower, part of the York castle that has since been destroyed, and we walked part of the length of the city wall.

Oh, and we had drinks at “the most haunted pub in Britain.”  The Snickleway Pub, as it was called.

Here’s our I’m-in-the-most-haunted-pub-in-Britain faces:

And people wonder where I get it from.

After York we were on to London.  The first day we just kind of slept when we got there, but then went to Trafalgar Square to find that they had set up a giant screen where they were playing the Paralympics.  They also stopped to have a band called La Fanfare En Petard, a French angry brass hip hop band.  They were awesome.  I definitely
suggest them.  

The next day, for some reason, my parents had decided to book a tour that lasted 10 hours.  I expressed my concerns that I might actually die in the middle of the tour, but consented to try.  I actually enjoyed it quite a bit-and didn’t get too tired or overwhelmed with information.  We saw St. Peter’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, drove by Westminster Abbey, and went up into the London Eye, a huge ferris wheel.

But wait, that’s not all.  The next day we went to the British Museum, then the day after we went to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and then to the Roman Baths.  I was glad to go to Winsor Castle and the Roman Baths, but was absolutely thrilled to go to
Stonehenge, a mysterious monument built over 5,000 years ago.  No one knows why or what it’s function was, only that some of the stones were brought there from Wales, and the arches line up with the sun on each month.

I can honestly say, that by the end of the tour, I was toured out.
But I loved getting to see my parents 🙂

Yes, this is a picture of the three of us.  Look in the background.

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2 thoughts on “When the Parental Units Come to Visit

  1. Stone Hinge comment: Makes me wonder how they knew there were going to be 12 months in a year 4000 years ago.
    Mary Alice, I got to the end and wondered why you posted a picture with only you and Dad in it. :-O

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