Day 11: Rembrandts, Monets, and a Volcano.

Edinburgh Travel Blog

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Because of the booked-out weekend at the hostel, I had to check out at 10am.  Said bye to the two cool German guys on their ad-hoc hiking trip into Northern Scotland, and got their contact info in case I ever drop into Hamburg.  ("We will show you great time!")  After finding out there was another room available, they told me to come back after noon and check back in.  Oh well, two hours to kill, and what better place to hit up than some museums? 
I'm kind of a sucker for museums.  Maybe it's just because I haven't been to many, but I feel like a impoverished art major on his first trip into the 'big city'.  (By the way, british novels don't use double quotation marks for spoken sentences, just the single ones 'like this'.  In the words of the great Bill Nye the Science Guy: 'Now you know').
The National Gallery of Scotland Museum is part one of five National Galleries of Scotland, and when they opened up the doors at 10am I was the first excited schoolboy in.  There were a lot of cool Renaissance era masterpieces, plus works by Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Rafael, Monet, and El Greco.  Gotta admit, the latter has a cool style coupled with a catchy name.  What a genius.  Good collection.  It made me appreciate the fact that I payed attention in Art History 101 way back in the day.  (Monet's haystacks are just as amazing in person, by the way).
Walked up Carlton Hill and saw the (fake?) ruins of a greek-looking temple.  Frankly it looked like someone got a giant Dremmel cordless saw and sliced it off nice and cleanly.  The cemetery atop the hill contained a Scottish-American memorial for the soldiers that gave their lives in WWII, replete with Honest Abe Lincoln's copper statue staring down at you.  I bet you money the 'gravewalk tours' that are so popular here come up and scare the bejeezus out of you when hired grunts jump out of the crypts and gravestones to scare customers. 
Miranda, the Seattlelite from last night, happens to have packed the exact same socks on her trip, which has been going on strong for the better half of 4 months.  I brought six pairs of socks, thinking I was roughing it.  She brought TWO.  Just two.  They're Coolmesh double-layered synthetic moisture-wicking blah blah blah socks, so she taught me to take them into the shower and shower with them as hand-mitts and then let them dry overnight on the foot of the bed.  Genius!  And the best part is, her socks have been going strong for over 19 weeks!  I'm glad I made the right purchasing decision.  ;)

Got out the shorts and running shoes and headed east on the Royal Mile and past the new Parliament building, determined to run all the way to the top of Author's Seat.  The guidebook said it's only 825m high (pff, cake).  Guess what, Mr. Unit Conversion Failure?  That's 2,700 feet up an extinct volcano!  None the wiser, I started up anyways, a little pissed at how steep the trail was.  Much, much later, I was panting up the same stone steps that have probably been there since the 1700s.  Perfect view from the top, though.  Gorgeous, actually.  The ocean, the brilliant green , the beautiful surroundings.  If it didn't get so cold in the winter I'd live here.  Future summer home?
Took off on the bar crawl with the rest of the backpackers from the hostel.  Nothing like rolling 30 deep into a small pub, my friends.  Our pub crawl leader (guide? usher?) was nothing short of a coked-up long-haired version of Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters fame.  A valuable lesson learned today:  ALL accents are 400 times harder to understand if the person comes from a small village or town (as opposed to big-city folk).  Our friend Tim hailed from a small (pop 10,000) town outside of Cork, Ireland, and I kid you not when I say I nodded and smiled more at what he said than were I to listen to some Swahili dude.  I'd get the first, 17th, and maybe 54th word that came out of his mouth if I was lucky.

Danced with the girls from the pub crawl, fun stuff.  The woman's touch has a powerful force, especially when you don't get it very often (sigh).  Finished the night on a high note, and the friends I had forged here in Edinburgh would be all be going away the next morning.  Happy travels, and good night.
SweetLeilani says:
Miranda IS a genius!!!
Unit Conversion failure - hahahahaha, that's funny - and also something I would do! I'm surprised you had a hard time climbing the steps since you live in high altitude... those stairs must have been pretty rugged??? And the comment about 'cold in the winter' - heck, ya otta be use' to it by now - Idaho and all!
And a woman's touch??? Hmmmm... does that mean we can merge well on the dance floor but just not in traffic? ;) (Just givin' you a hard time)

Posted on: Jul 08, 2007
portia says:
Did you see the Vermeer at the National Gallery of Scotland? If you love art, and it seems you do, you might want to see all the Vermeers in Europe, that would be way cool! (another one in London owned by the Queen, and one in Dublin on this side of the channel)
Posted on: May 28, 2007
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