Monday, June 28th was my wedding anniversary — and our first morning in Scotland.

We ate in the basement of the hotel – fruit, toast and tea and then met the others and walked down to Holyrood Palace – a palace used by the royal family since the 15th century. In front of the palace is a smaller structure that is said to be Mary’s Bath House (as in, Mary Queen of Scots), but no one really knows what it was used for.

The Palace stands at one end of the Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle is at the other. Anne told us that all the security barriers in front of the palace are a rather new addition – similar to what’s in front of the White House.

We didn’t have time to tour the palace, but wandered over to the Scottish Parliament Building.

One thing I noticed about Scotland – there are a lot of very old, grayish brown buildings. So, it seems when they build a new building they make it ugly in it’s contemporariness. Like they can’t build something in between the very old and the extreme new.

The parliament building fits into the contemporary category. The bamboo attached across the front is a particularly interesting concept. The architect said it was to “merge into the natural background,” but instead it has generated the nickname of “toothpick building.”

Although Scotland and England are united – there are still sensitive areas.  The establishment of the Parliament Building also brought about more independence to Scotland in areas such as health and education. But there are many other areas where Scotland is still under English rule. Many Scots would like to be completely independent – but not happening in the near future.

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