Sunday, May 9, 2010

May 7, 2010: Eating My Heart Out, Or At Least A Sheep's Heart Out

Today was my last day in Edinburgh, and also my last day in Scotland.

The plan today was to finish up some last minute souvenir shopping, go on my final tour bus ride, and try to view as many museums and art galleries as possible all before 5 PM (A.K.A. when Scotland shuts down).

My first goal was to purchase a specific item that could only be acquired at a specific location (and also apparently a secret location), some ways from where I was staying. This of course involved taking the bus all by myself for the first time since coming to Scotland. Fortunately, like most major cities (outside of Alberta) Edinburgh's bus system is excellent, and so I had no problem finding any number of buses that would take me to my intended destination. To be 100% honest though, I shouldn't say I had "no problems", since I cheated and asked the woman at the front desk of my hostel to look up the buses for me.

After a successful shopping trip I boarded the fourth of the four major bus tours of the city centre. "Why are there four tours?" I hear you ask. Well, one of them goes to the sea to take visitors to the Royal Yacht Britannia, one of them concentrates more on the New Town, north of the poop swamp, and the other two take more or less the same route, but one is run by a live tour guide, while the other tour is given by a recording in multiple languages, and has a "Spooky Stories" option for children. Today I used the "live guide" version of the latter two options, but I had trouble hearing over all of the Swedish, German and French tourists who talked the whole time. I wasn't too bothered though, as by this time I had heard most of the stories two or three times already.

After the tour I went to The Museum on the Mound, which is another name for the museum inside the headquarters of the Bank of Scotland. (It seems to be a trend in my travels that I must visit the National Bank's museum in each country I visit.) From The Museum on the Mound I went to the National Museum of Scotland. I had wanted to visit the Royal Museum of Scotland too, but it was closed at the moment and undergoing a 47 Million GBP renovation. (The Royal Museum holds artifacts from around the world, while the National Museum mainly contains artifacts relating to the history of Scotland). I had also hoped to visit the Royal Art Gallery, but it took me 3.5 hours moving quickly to not even finish the National Museum (I only got to the sixth of seven floors before the museum closed).

(At the top: the earliest complete surviving Scottish Firearm - the Breadalbane gun from 1599. To put things in perspective, the small gun on the white background is at least 12 inches long.)

(The Scottish version of the guillotine, The Maiden.)

(In the 18th Century some men attempted to go to University to train to become midwives. Naturally they weren't trusted, and so they sat in this booth called a Sedan Chair to give them respect since the luxury of being carried around on poles by others was typically reserved only for kings.)

(A horse drawn hearse.)

(Hand operated vacuum cleaner. It's probably still more powerful and effective than the vacuum cleaner at the climbing gym [inside joke].)

After a full day of sight seeing, I stopped in to my favourite pub on the High Street (Royal Mile) to have one last meal of Haggis, 'Neeps, and Tatties (sheep's innards cooked in sheep's stomach, with turnips and potatoes), and of course some Irn Bru with which to wash it down.

While I had meant to type all of this down on Friday when it happened and post it soon afterwards, my hostel had a massive party and so I couldn't access the "Wi-Fi room", hence the late update.

(Misc. picture: Edinburgh one-ups the tiny openings to garbage cans in Seoul, by completely boarding off the opening to this garbage can on the Royal Mile.)

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