June 25th 2014: Edinburgh

Today was our final day in Edinburgh. Of course, it started with us packing up, having deep thoughts about our trip and then finally getting out of the apartment. We went to the castle one more time, had ice cream and walked down the Royal Mile to the Scottish Parliament. The building doesn’t look at all like Westminster, Parliament Hill or the Legislature. It’s all concrete, wooden beams and metal, since it was built in 1998. The chamber was a semi-circle, so the Members of the Parliament of Scotland (MPSs) had to turn around to address each other, but it was easy to watch from the balcony where we sat. The MPSs were asking the government about their education policies, which included programs for gypsies and bagpipes in elementary schools. The government’s answers all came back to how they couldn’t do anything when they split powers with the UK’s Parliament at Westminster. The Scottish Parliament acts similarly to our provincial governments, so they have control over education, health, housing and environment, but not foreign policy, defense and most of taxation. After watching the session, we walked down the street, passed Hollyrood palace (since the queen is visiting in a few days, we couldn’t go in) and started to wander up Arthur’s seat, the other volcano in Edinburgh.

Hollyrood seen from the cliffs

Hollyrood seen from the cliffs

The wandering turned into a walk and eventually we had walked a full circle of the cliffs. We didn’t make it to the top, but we got beautiful views of the city and a moment of Highland-like hiking.

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Back in town, Kate and I did the trampoline-bungy jump activity left over from the London Olympics. It was incredibly fun, but I was shaking after my seventh back flip.

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We ate supper (Fish and chips one last time!) at a pub, then grabbed our bags from our last European apartment. We had the tram to ourselves on the way to the airport, watching our last European sunset, then settled in with the other early morning flyers in the very basic Edinburgh airport.

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