Foregoing our usual caffeine run, Ron insisted that we visit Dynamic Earth: the mother of all great adventures. This had really peaked his interest and we saw it each morning as we headed to our coffee junction. The very modern building stands out from the base of Arthur’s Seat, the closest thing to a mountain in the city. The building is in competition with the very unusual design of the Parliament, but holds its own being so close to the traditional architecture of Holyrood Palace.
Entrance was part of the Pass, so we saved a hefty 8 pounds 95. What we had not realized until it was too late, was this exhibit should have come with a warning label, “Those over 16 years old need to be accompanied by a child.” As you enter, you will find yourself in a large room with various scientific displays that are specifically aimed at young inquiring minds. You are then led by a guide into the next room to ‘start your adventure’. When the door opens, you are entering a huge elevator that ‘takes you through time’. Once you have embarked on this time travel, you are held hostage in the exhibit until you have transgressed each successive exhibit. We scuttled our way through each room that we were free of a guide, until we reached a place where we were dependent on the guide to open the next discovery room to us to make our great escape. We left our initial group thousands of years behind us and caught up with a group of Japanese tourists who were light years ahead of the rest. At one point, I felt like I was living the movie Logan’s Run. Living is learning and I blame Ron for this learning experience, though it did reduce our pass balance to 13 pounds 25. From here, we bee lined it to to The Elephant House for our morning lattes. It was fun to be where JK Rowling rocked her baby in the carriage as she jotted notes and names for her first Harry Potter novel. It is a popular place with locals outnumbering tourists if the accents overheard were gave any clues at all. The place was hopping, but we were able to get a table in the back room with the view of the castle in the distance. Two museums always get my attention in Edinburgh are the Royal Museum and the Museum of Scotland. These museums are both free and are actually connected to each other. You can go from one to the other from inside. The Royal Museum is housed in fabulous Victorian building. The collections are diverse, but span the arts, sciences, and industry. In sharp contrast, the Museum of Scotland is an extremely modern building in architectural style. It is truly an ethnographic museum, which tells the story of the Scots: the people and the culture. I love these two museums and visiting here without seeing them again would leave me feeling empty. Since the museums were free, there was no need for our Edinburgh Pass or so we thought. However, the Royal Museum had an exhibition called “Beyond the Palace Walls” Islamic Art from the State Hermitage Museum. The entry was 6 pounds and the Pass gained us entry. Honestly, this is not an exhibit I would have paid to see, by the name. We have been to Islamic countries, giving me the impression I had seen enough. I was overwhelmed with the beauty of the exhibits, but photos were not allowed. We probably spent close to two hours in this part of the museum alone. We spent most of the afternoon in these two museums. With the entrance to the exhibit covered on the Pass, this brought the balance down to 7 pounds 25. Having a coupon for a two for one dinner provided by our free Haggis Walking tour, at Belushi’s restaurant, we stopped there for our day’s nourishment. The next event was the Cadies and Witchery Tours – Ghosts and Gore Walking Tour at 7:00 pm. Our guide, Alexander Clapperton (deceased) was the former Director of the Edinburgh Cemetery when he was alive in the 1840s. This hour and a half tour was entertaining, education, and just plain fun. As we roamed parts of the city, we met other ‘deceased’ inhabitants of the city who shared their stories as well. This tour is highly recommended for the wit and cleverness of the tour guide and his assistant ghoul. They may be deceased, but they are effervescent with enthusiasm when showing the city. A secondary reward was the book souvenir presented to each of us, Adam Lyal’s Witchery Tales: The darker side of Edinburgh. The fee of 7 pounds 50 was included in the Pass, but it would have been worth shelling out the money for had it not. This further credits our Pass now starting the savings of 25 pence. For further information visit their site at www.witcherytours.com or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org . Dealing with the dead and their lively energy, brought our tired bodies back to life too. We walked around the Royal Mile for some time, and then wandered over to the Hard Rock Cafe. We visit the HRC in every city we go to that has one just to buy a pin as a souvenir. Nearby is the Oxbow Bar. We had to stop there for a beer too. Ron is an Ian Rankin fan, a mystery writer from Edinburgh. His character, Rebus, hangs out in the Oxbow Bar, but we found that Rankin does as well.