On Saturday morning Reidar and I decided ( I backed down from wanting to go shopping) to go to Holyrood Palace, buy tickets and do the thing properly. We were loaned audio-guides. They're small gadgets, the size of a mobile phone, that you hang round your neck. If you press the right button at the right time, the gadget tells you about the room you're in, and what to look for. You can get optional extra information. I've forgotten which king built it for his wife, but he never lived there. Mary, Queen of Scots however, did. Also Queen Elizabeth stays there when she has official business in Edinburgh. If she's on holiday she goes to Balmoral. It was exciting to be walking round the rooms she uses, although the less formal ones were out of bounds. Visiting Mary's rooms was special too; the spiral staircase to her bedroom was narrow and steep, and it was chilling to think that her italian secretary was stabbed 56 times right there by her jealous husband and his men. There was a portrait gallery, all painted by the same dutch artist who was encouraged to use his imagination about how some of the earlier scottish kings looked. He must have had a strange sense of beauty, or humour, because thet're all plug-ugly!
Beside the castle there's a ruined abbey, which looks quite picturesque, and has been a popular motif for numerous paintings. We also wandered through the pretty gardens.
After that we headed back towards the hotel, along the Royal Mile, stopping just once at the museum of childhood, where we got quite nostalgic about our old toys. The weather was showery, so I got to use my pretty new yellow umbrella with angels on. It was a long walk, so we were glad to get back to our room to enjoy a picnic before getting ready to go to the theatre. The Festival theatre is the oldest in Scotland, and has just been restored after being used for some years as a bingo-hall. We saw West Side Story, and it was a wonderful production, with very good singers and dancers, great costumes and sets, ans a real feeling of energy.