Sunday, July 18, 2010

So I'm Staying in a Palace...

Well, what can I say? The place that we're staying for the duration of our time in Edinburgh was a palace in the 18th century, then known as Dalkeith Palace. Just outside the little village of Dalkeith (which kind of rhymes with donkey, with a "th" on the end), which is just outside of Edinburgh. But while getting to say that you've stayed in an 18th century palace is cool (at one point in my trip planning I almost thought about coming back one night extra so I could stay the night in a Jacobean mansion-turned-hostel in the middle of London), I am kind of missing the good old dorm rooms back in London.
Here's why: while I already love Scotland dearly (pretty much Love at First Landscape), there are some things that I kind of like which aren't currently present. The first thing is plumbing. I love old houses, but I might love living with good plumbing a little bit more. While I'm thrilling at the sight of each new intriguing nook and cranny (I just used the servant's staircase!), I just might thrill more at good plumbing that isn't so intriguing. In fact, I am pretty sure that we will end up hanging out pretty frequently at a certain pub in town not only because of its good food and prices (and an award-winning menu, as it turns out), but because it had a really nice ladies' room. More than two stalls. Flushed easily. Good lighting. It won the hearts of all at our table. Another thing is personal space. I am an introvert, and while I can be outgoing enough, it's almost essential for me to have some personal space that I can retreat to. So even when it's a tiny dorm room, I don't mind that much. Here, I am sharing a room with five of my friends. Yes, it could be very much worse. But even though we all love each other, we're looking forward to having seperate living space when this is said and done.
Now that I've had my gripe-fest, I promise I won't complain any more. Because it is cool to be staying in an 18th century palace-turned-dorm/hostel, even with shared space and eccentric plumbing. And Dalkieth is a charming little village, with three churches and a Blockbuster. And by golly, this is why we call it An Adventure!
Since there are only two computers between several classes' worth of people, I cannot promise that I will be able to update this blog until my return to London. But you can be sure that I will be more than ready to tell you about my adventures in Scotland, including visits to the National Library of Scotland and the Central Library of Edinburgh tomorrow, and the first Carnegie Library in his hometown of Dunfermline and the National Archives of Scotland the day after. On Wednesday we have an "independent research day," which means that the night is paid for but there's nothing scheduled that day, so all of the people in my class will be touring around Edinburgh one way or another. Then on Thursday morning we all drift off to our own adventures. Mine will be getting to the train on time that morning! I think I can promise that if nothing else works I will be able to post on next Monday, when I return to our faithful dorms in Stamford Street and the excellent computer lab there. Until then, I'm going to laugh my way around 6-to-a-room, 2 girls' showers to the floor, and all the plumbing eccentricities.
Image courtesy of the excellent Wikipedia page on Dalkeith Palace, now known as Wisconsin in Scotland, because it is the site of the University of Wisconsin's study abroad program.

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