Not a great night. In fact, the worst nights sleep in a long time. Basically got 3 hrs sleep after the show, then my new bunk buddy in the top bunk decided to go a little nuts from 4am to 7am, by which point I left the room as the hostel had unlocked the kitchen.
God it's times like this that I wish I had money. They say money doesn't buy happiness, but when you've had some young kid have essentially 3 hours of near constant seizures above you, money buys a hotel room. ( It wasn't actual seizures, I checked. He was fine, just a noisy asshole)
So on that note I got myself organized for the day and decided to stick with my original plans to leave the city and go to Linlithgow Castle.
There is so much to love about Linlithgow. Many Stewart kings have contributed to parts of the castle creating this interesting architectural effect. Fun facts: Margaret Tudor learnt of James IV's defeat and death at Flodden here, and Mary, Queen of Scots, was born here.
Historic Scotland who caretaker the property have enabled the local kids to volunteer here as guides during their school holidays, so when I arrived and learnt one of the tours of the castle was about to set off, I just had to join in.
The kids were quick and to the point. It would be interesting to see how their summer volunteering will impact their future connection to history.
After my tour I went back and explored the castle at my own pace. This means I spent another 3 hours wandering, sitting, meditating and photographing every inch of the castle I could reach.
In the photos above you'll see some of the lovely countryside the castle overlooks, there's a large lower kitchen as well as a upper kitchen (there was a lot of feasts and hosting at this castle as us was a royal residence) a great hall and a chapel. This castle also had three floors that have since worn away and been destroyed by time. It makes for a wonderful experience to stand on the ground floor and slowly build the layers above you with your imagination.
The castle also features some beautifully decorated statue holders. I could only find one in the main courtyard, but many preserved in the chapel.
Another fun fact: a fireplace wasn't built into the Chapel as it was thought the sound of the flames would create the wrong atmosphere for worship, instead the chapel antechamber had a fire. The entrance was separated from the main Chapel by a tapestry so the heat could still penetrate the space.
(Once I return home from my trip I'll be able to update and annotate my photographs of what is which. At the moment I am doing this blog off an app on a cell phone.)
Moving through to the Presence Chambers you see this wonderful symmetry in the floors belonging to the King and Queen. You also see what extra amenities and comforts the king had versus his wife.
For example, the Kings first presence chamber features a great window overlooking the rolling hills, whereas the queens has no outward facing window, but one facing inward over the courtyard. The Kings bedroom has a large fireplace, the queen only a small one, maybe a third of the size of the Kings. He also gets a separate closet space in the floor to keep some of his precious jewels and riches, and the Queen? Nothing.
I also spent some time exploring the castles wine cellar, a very large cool space. And due to water being unsafe to drink during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, this makes sense as wine and ale were predominantly the forms of hydration.
There is also a wickedly preserved oven in the lower kitchen that I was quite excited by. The beautifully domed terracotta interior is in remarkable condition.
It was sometime during this day that I realized that right now at this point of my life ( maybe only these six weeks while I am travelling) I am living the life I want to live.
I get to wake up and I'm not beholden to anybody. I can eat breakfast... actually, I'm not going to brush over that!
I've never been good at eating breakfast and I've always wanted to be. I am someone that wakes up and normally has to get ready and go, doing my best to pack lunch the evening before and if not then it is the morning of when it happens.
That eliminates time I have for breakfast, so often in the last few years I buy a coffee somewhere, and that's it tillmaybe 1pm or 2pm when I finally get a chance for the first meal of my day.
It feels like a luxury here to wake up and read, or go straight to the kicthen and prepare a meal, even more so to sit and eat that meal with no time constraints. My time is mine alone to talk to others, listen to the radio or my own thoughts, or watch a bird in a tree outside the window.
The chance I have to hold onto this feeling all day has been something I am grateful for.