Relaxed at Last
We slept deliciously late, which is a real difference for me, so I must be relaxed and comfortable. Breakfast was at our leisure without someone making us feel rushed and knowing the kitchen would be open for as long as we cared to indulge ourselves sipping coffee. Merlin, the American manager, decided he could not stand the Nescafe any longer and bought a French press pot to make fresh brewed coffee. He said he had a feeling we would appreciate it more also and we were to help ourselves. No one needs to tell us twice to skip Nescafe over a better coffee.
We are walking more here, as the buses are a little more confusing than London and the walks are not that long. Within twenty-five minutes, we were at The Museum of Childhood. As it sounds, this is a free museum dedicated to the games, toys, hobbies, crafts, and any other imaginable object that can be related to children and their pastimes. Many of the articles displayed, dated back to the 1800’s and went to current. There are five galleries swarming with nostalgia as well as information of childhood amusements from around the world. It is a treasure chest when you want to forget the aches and pains that travel has produced in your aging body and allows you to go back to a more carefree time. We spent over two hours here and could have spent longer. A curmudgeon who claimed that he hated children started the museum. There is no evidence of his being a child hater in this museum.
Within a short distance away is another free museum that my friend Beverly had suggested. It is The Writer’s Museum. This is a small, but potent museum dedicated to three of Scotland’s greatest writers. Sir Walter Scott, Robert Burns, and Robert Louis Stevenson. There is one floor dedicated to each author. Their life is described in detail as well as some of their personal pieces from their daily lives. The fourth floor is dedicated to current Scottish writers, many of who still write in Scots, the native language. I thought it was Scottish Gaelic, but did not see any reference to that, only Scots. After an hour and a half of reading all of the displays, our minds were tired and needed a break.
Down the street is a Starbucks that I had been frequenting without purchasing a thing, so we decided we should patronize the coffee bar. We sat outside and watched the people go by and enjoyed the scenery when a young woman and a younger man sat down at the table next to us. After five minutes, it was obvious that this young man could have been one of Ron’s former clients. The young man was either Autistic or had Tourrettes Syndrome. It did not bother us, but it was interesting to observe without being obvious, how the young woman handled him. He was quite a handful and she was patient, loving, and gentle, but firm.
Along the Royal Mile is a statue with a unicorn on the top. The tradition was that all news that came from England would be announced to the masses at this statue. Since it took horses three days to make the trip, the news was already old when it reached Edinburgh. Out of a sense of tradition, even with technology and news being current on demand, the events are still announced at this statue three days after they happen.
One thing that we have noticed and our friend Anne told us it is true for London, is that a number of churches are closing due to lack of support. It seems the same is going on here too. Those that are still open have supplemented their costs by opening gift shops and many have cafés and lunch shops. Obviously, they have never heard about Bingo.
Ron had wanted to see the ship Britannia, so we questioned bus drivers until we found the correct one to take to get there. It was at the end of one bus route and when we got off, we did not realize that the huge building in front of the ship was a brand new mall. We walked all the way around the building, and then noticed the barriers. We walked through the parking garages and then found the entrance to a large, unadorned, incomplete mall. We had to walk through the mall and to the second level to access the ramp leading to the ship. The ship Britannia was the royal yacht for over forty years, traveling more then one million miles, making 968 Royal and official visits. It is now retired in dock and is a museum. By the time we got there, it was too late to tour it, so we were just admirers from a distance.
Bussing back to our area, we stopped in a pub that Martin the B & B owner had recommended. We were the first customers that evening as they had just opened at 7:00 pm. We had a wonderful talk with the bartender and walked the neighborhood to try to find one of two restaurants that Martin had suggested also. One, Nexus was a small café type restaurant with a very small menu and nothing that really looked appealing. We decided on the Blue Moon Café the second one on the list. This was a small restaurant with very colorful walls in strange combinations, but the menu looked appealing and we stayed. At the next table was a single man from New York. He asked if we were Americans and we started talking. He told us how difficult it was for him to take this vacation that he had planned and paid for months ago. He felt like he needed to leave NY, but on the other hand, he felt like he needed to be home too. He had spent three days in Iceland, then Glasgow, and now Edinburgh. He was from Westchester, but said that he had many ties to the City and every time something comes up, he gets emotional and choked up. He left before we were finished and we said our good-byes with a sense of sadness.
Back home, I knew this was not going to be a good night. I had forgotten my allergy pills in the large suitcases and when I went to use my nasal spray it was the last two spritzes. Within an hour, I could feel the post-nasal drip waterfall starting and the coughing followed shortly thereafter. It was bound to be a long night.