Saturday, June 19, 2010

Edinburgh--Still Here

By Claire
We had another HUGE day in Edinburgh. I'm talking about leaving the campground at 9:30 am and getting home at 9:30 pm. Sometimes even I can't believe how much we can pack into one day. We have become very efficient travelers.

We started with the National Museum of Scotland, a must see. I liked it better than the British Museum; it's better laid out and very manageable. Even so, we spent about 3 hours there, taking a break midstream for lunch. They have great free "highlights" tours of the place and it's free to get in.

National Museum of Scotland

We began with a special exhibit of the Lewis Chessmen. These are medieval chess pieces carved in walrus ivory, discovered in 1831 on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland.

They were used as models in a Harry Potter movie and for a Harry Potter game.

We joined the free tour given by an excellent guide and lasting over an hour. By then we were ready for lunch and a place to sit down. We left the museum and found a decent place offering pies. Chuck has been obsessed with finding the Scottish version of his childhood Swanson's Chicken Pot Pies. Look no further.

My spinach pie--delicious, I must admit.

Steak pie for the man.

Refreshed and recovered, we went back to the museum to try and take in some of the 6 floors available to us. We started with the roof top terrace for some of the best views of Edinburgh. Again, we are enjoying some of the best weather we've had all year.

Back inside, we agreed to split up and meet in an hour. I covered a lot of ground in my hour.

We're talking totally plaid here. This is a tartan suit from 1744.

Remember back in 1996 when they cloned a sheep? These are the remains of Dolly--she was the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell.

I really enjoyed the communications exhibit.

The Rai Village of Papua New Guinea use slit gongs to send important or urgent messages from village to village. Every adult has his or her own signal, so the villagers know who the message is for. Mobil phones do not work well in Papua because the land is covered with jungle and mountains. The drums can be heard over 20 kilometers away. Today, some drummers use a reggae, rap or heavy-metal beat instead of the traditional rhythms. It was fun to try it out.

In a town in Scotland in 1845, John Tawell murdered Sara Hart by poisoning her drink with cyanide. He escaped to London by train. Police sent his description over the electric telegraph, which had just been installed to send messages between stations. Tawell was arrested in London. He was convicted of murder and hanged on March 28, 1845.

When Rebecca Fyfe was adrift in the sea off Bali in February 2001, she sent a text message from her mobile to her boyfriend back in Britain, on the other side of the world. It said, Call Falmouth coastguard, we need help. SOS. Her boyfriend alerted the coastguard in Cornwall, who contacted the Australian authorities. They got in touch with rescuers in Bali. All the crew and passengers were saved. Rebecca holds the record for the longest-range phone rescue.

This is a table television and radio receiver from 1938 with a 5-inch cathode ray tube, using a smaller more efficient version of the tube on top.

I was bemused by this wanted poster of Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745 wearing a tartan suit. The government put a price on his head of £30,000. Diana Gabaldon fans, this is the guy who lost his bid to regain the throne of England and Scotland at Culloden Moor, Scotland in April 1746.

Chuck really enjoyed the Jackie Stewart exhibit.

We left the museum, hopped a bus to New Town using our one day passes (£3 each) where we visited another National Trust site, The Georgian House. This is an 18th century house that gives a vivid recreation of life at this time. We really enjoyed the 16 minute video with actors playing the parts of the people who once lived here. Although grand and upscale, they had no running water or flush toilets. They bathed infrequently and used a lot of perfume. It was a beautiful place and every room was decorated with the furniture of the time.

We decided to see if we could make it in time to see the inside of the Scottish Parliament building. It's been very controversial because of the cost and the style. I thought it was quite interesting and we enjoyed seeing the very high tech debating room. I love the chairs for the public to view the debates.

This photo of the Parliament building was taken on our next excursion, hiking up Salisbury Crag.

When we arrived at the Parliament, we saw a large hill and realized that we were near Arthur's seat, another goal of ours. We asked one of the security guards inside the Parliament how we could get to Arthur's seat, a wild piece of highland landscape in the center of the city of Edinburgh, about a mile to the east of Edinburgh Castle. The hill rises above the city to a height of 823 ft. and provides excellent panoramic views of the city. Like the castle rock on which Edinburgh Castle is built, it was formed by an extinct volcano system approximately 350 million years ago.

Salisbury Crag, on the way up

This was a very spontaneous decision to hike up this hill. My ankle is not completely healed and I was wearing my Merrill clogs, the only shoes I can fit my foot in and the shoes I was wearing when I sprained my ankle. So, I wasn't completely prepared to do this very steep hike. We bought a couple of bottles of water and headed up. And up. The views were spectacular and it began to level out.

Holyrood Palace and the Firth of Fourth in the distance.

The trail leveled out.

The farther we went, the more we realized it was a long, steep way to the top. I asked a man coming down if this was the way to Arthur's Seat. He told us it was and we ended up in a lengthy conversation and decided to head to a pub together instead.

Trail down.

The three of of caught a bus to New Town where we walked around for a bit taking pictures in the incredible sunshine. It was 6:30 pm by now but people were still out enjoying the day in the park.

We took David to Henderson's and enjoyed conversation and great food. He is an American from Mill Valley in California who has lived in Chile for 25 years.

Goat cheese and onion tart

Black-eyed peas curry

New friend, David

We said goodbye, going in different directions, and made our way back to our campground. I am still amazed at how long our days are. I took this picture at 9:30 pm on our walk back from the bus stop. We found out today that we are the same latitude as Moscow. We're looking forward to even longer days as we head farther north.

As long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself. ~ The Declaration of the Arbroath, 1320 [said to be a model for the American Declaration of Independence]


Karin said...

LOVE those chess men! And the long days! I remember those kinds of days when living in Ireland. Can't imagine living on the equator. Boring......

The food looks yummy delicious! New architecture (Parliment Bldg.)doesn't exactly turn me on, but the old stuff sure does. Claire, take care of the foot!

Karin on Paros

Anonymous said...

DAVID is sitting in my GRANDMOTHER'S chair!! PLz tell me where that was taken ~ Henderson's? There's no place here for the full story, but I almost jumped out of this chair when I saw that foto.
David also looks very familiar ... we went to Mill Valley all the time. Ask him if he knew an Andrea and/or John Milewski. We lived near there about 30 yrs...

I'm so lucky I didn't catch-on to ur blog until Istanbul. Now when ur trails end, I won't be as disappointed b/c I can go back into the archives. Plz DON'T take down ur blog, it's an invaluable resource. Is there a time limit?

Chuck and Claire said...

The photo of David in the chair was taken at Henderson's, 94 Hanover St. I don't know if we'll see David again but will email him about you. We have no plans to take down the blog but don't know how long it stays up. I assume Google Blogger has something to say about it. Glad you're finding the blog informative.

elisabetta said...

Thank you! And i did leave my name, guess it didn't stick. It's me Elisabetta in Italy! ciao*