We woke up, had breakfast in the hotel, and set off for our last full day in Edinburgh. Our first stop was the National Museum of Scotland. There were a significant number of technology-related exhibits. I believe Jaeger’s favorite exhibit, and the main reason he wanted to go to the museum, was Dolly the cloned sheep. They didn’t seem to have as much about her as I expected. Not even a children’s book in the gift shop!
Calvin seemed to find a fair bit to keep him interested. They had a good mix of adult and child-oriented exhibits. In addition to a lot of technology they also have exhibits devoted to Scottish history. Even then, by the time you progressed to modern day, it was all about Scottish contributions to industry and technology. We spent the whole morning at the museum.
After the museum we stopped by the National Library of Scotland. Calvin was fairly hungry by this time so we didn’t get a chance to look at many things in depth. We spent most of our time in the John Murray exhibition which was pretty interesting. He was a publisher for various famous authors such as Jane Austen, Washington Irving, etc and the library set up a very nice exhibit to display his collection. The room was fairly dark with one wall containing a bookcase and a fireplace. Overhead was a chandelier and then scattered throughout the room were glass encased costumes representing various authors and then digital screens that allowed one to scan some of their correspondence and pointed out various relevant details of their lives.
For lunch, we grabbed pastries at the Piemaker. They had a variety of pie sandwiches (kind of like turnovers) with various fillings inside. I got a Moroccan vegetable filling, Jaeger got the vegetable filling, and Calvin got the Mac & Cheese filling. Then we got Apple and Cherry pastries for desert. The entree pies were pretty filling so we just shared the apple pastry and saved the cherry one for later.
After lunch we retraced our steps as I had seen that Edinburgh’s public library was right across the street from the national library. We first went in the brand new children’s library. The library just opened on Thursday. Such luck 🙂 It still had the new library smell. The rooms were bright and cheery. I made Jaeger get pictures so you’ll see bits of it when he gets around to posting them. It consists of 3 main rooms: juvenile books, easy books, and a crafts room. I read Calvin a story written and illustrated by Quentin Blake and then we left to find the adult “Central Library.”
The Central Library was very traditional looking. It was pretty small but it looks like they have a fair number of branches so that maybe that isn’t surprising. (Plus, Jaeger keeps pointing out that Edinburgh only has about 400,000 people so it’s probably not fair to compare it to Seattle.) I’ve never heard of the ILS they were using. I’ll have to look up more info when we get back home.
After the library we went and wandered around in the graveyard of the Greyfriars Kirk. The graves were pretty impressive and I was a bit sad we don’t do gravestones like that anymore. The church itself was closed to the public today. We were debating what to do next when Calvin announced he wanted to visit a church so we went in search of another church.
The second church we went to was the St. Giles Cathedral. It had most of the components of a regular cathedral though it didn’t have as strong of a cross layout as I’m use to. However, it did have the arched ceilings so Jaeger explained the structure to Calvin while wishing that there was a reasonable ecopy of David Macauley’s Cathedral (apparently a Kindle copy does exist but all the negative reviews of the book are about the ebook).
After the cathedral we continued down the royal mile to the Scottish Parliament. The building was not what I expected. I thought it would be something traditional but instead it’s very modern. I’m not a huge fan of how it looks on the outside but the inside looks very light and spacious. We tried to explain the concept of parliament to Calvin but I’m not sure he got what we were talking about.
Calvin was definitely flagging by this point as, to be honest, so were we. So we decided to look for supper. We settled on a Thai Indian (?!) restaurant that worked out well for everyone. Calvin scored a free scoop of ice cream. After supper we trudged back to the hotel.
At the hotel I had Calvin sit in the bathtub and let him eat a good part of the cherry pastry which was now a bit smooshed (he won’t die of sugar deprivation today). I also learned that my really cheap $10 tablet did not survive the Atlantic crossing. It has taken to flashing random colors now when one tries to turn it on. Oh well, it was an interesting experiment.
Now I need to pack up because tomorrow we’re off for the highlands! Our train leaves at 9:30 so we’ll need to wake up a bit earlier than we have been.
For a parallel account of our third day in Scotland, see Devolution.
Jaeger’s Pictures from May 17.