It was a free day in Edinburgh
, the captial of Scotland! I woke up early (cant help, my body reacts to the sunlight) and quickly went on the first bus available to the Dynamic Earth. It was a good thing that I went Dynamic Earth so that I can escape the morning rain that seem to haunt me from London
. I bought the tickets, thinking it could contribute to some funds that can help raise awareness of the state of Earth, but I am not sure if it went through cos when the reception asked for my postal code, I just told her I am from Singapore. Anyway, the staff there are soo funloving and humorous.
The highest I can get on the Salisbury Crag in Holyrood Park
I waited for the time machine to come back to 2007 and whilst waiting, I tried my best to absorb the vast exhibits of time there. There were exhibits on the world population count, the number of earthquakes and volcanos etc. When the time machine came, I entered, thinking it was some kind of simulation ride that will take us back in time, to the point of Big Bang when nothing becomes everything. However, a lift just took us down to dont know how many billions years ago, then we went to a hot area to experience how land are form, then cooled down in another area to experience the glacier etc, there is also a real polar experience where the temperatures are cold, and there is an snow block in the middle of the room. I walked around, playing with the exhibits, and came to another ride.
Edinburgh "acropolis" and the giant telescope
I cant remember what is the name, but it was like omni-theater, a dome-shaped screen and I seated myself down so that I can view the screen above and all round me. This was quite an interactive activity. As the audience followed the news in the movies, we get to make decisions and these decisions affect what the future of the Earth is. For example, those present in the show must choose whether to use nuclear power or renewable resources to meet the high demand of energy. Initially, I tried to put what I have learnt into use, by choosing the renewable energy sources. However, as the future unfolds, it turned out that renewable resources are not adequate and can spoilt landscapes. Ultimately, I choose nuclear power. It just dawned onto me how the best solutions are not always the right solutions.
The castle on the volcano
As a buddhist, I draw a conclusion on my experience in the Dynamic earth. As long as the greed of man carry on, the need for energy will never stop, and that is why even though many of us thought renewable energy sources can be the next big thing, in the long run, these energy sources will not be enough to quench man's need for energy. I am guilty of this too, because as I exited the place, it brought us to the gift shop (how convenient!) Thinking I should play a part in being green, I intended not to take a carrier bag to keep all my souvenirs. But, after buying a tattoo cake (I dont know what is it), I realised my bag is too small for it, so here is my guilty part in not being green. I am sorry.
After my excursion in the Dynamic Earth, I had lunch at the cafe there before heading to the Holyrood park to climb the Arthur seat.
Half Moon Battery
The weather was bright and sunny by the time I exited from Dynamic earth. I was fighting hard against the wind when I set off to climb the mountain. But, the thought of coming down on the slippery slope and the possibility of falling down made me somehow apprehensive about the climb. Moreover, I was fighting hard against the wind uphill, things are probably going to look worse for me if I am going downhill as the strong wind might just blow me down the slope, and thats it...Hence, I made the decision to stop halfway and went back to Dynamic Earth to catch the next bus back to Edinburgh City.
Sitting at the top-deck of the bus is a mean thing. I look completely like a mad woman with hair blown all over my face. I had no idea that Edinburgh is sooooo windy!! I came back to Waverley bridge and sat down near the scotman monument to rest and slack.
View of Edinburgh from Camera Obscura
At one oclock, a cannon sounded from the castle and I knew it was the daily one oclock cannon blast. That sort of reminded me to go down to the castle before day's end. So I headed towards the castle. The castle itself was cool. Built on an extinct volcano, it was the central building in Edinburgh. I lingered at the gate of the castle, thinking if I should pay 9 pounds to get into the castle. As there was a long queue at the ticketing booth, I guess I wouldnt want to waste my time queu-ing up for the ticket, so I just took photos of the city at the castle square and the castle itself. Before I walked back, I saw the camera obscura. I didnt know what is it, so I went in. Admission at 6pounds and the staff told me to make my way up for a guide tour first. Not knowing what to expect, I went to the roof and saw the paranomic view of Edinburgh city.
There are boards and signs indicating the buildings in the city, so even though I didnot go into the castle, At least I know that the 2 knight statues at the front of the castle are Robert the bruce and william the conqueror. I also know where is the oldest building in the castle, St marg chapel and also the half moon battery where cannon are placed there for defensive purposes.
The tour began and I went into a dark room. The guide explained that we were in fact in a huge camera itself. So, infornt of me, there is a large disc, where a len located at the top of the building will project lights from outside down. A mirror is used to deflect the light so the guide can actually control the direction of lights, in another words, by controlling the mirror, she can show us anywhere she wanted.
Closest I can get to the Queen in Holyrood Palace
It was interesting cos this is a practical use of simple optics. I was very excited cos it is a different perspective of the city and that was totally not in my intinerary.
When the views of the city was brought into light, I thought I was watching a movie, played by people who were just walking outside the building where I was in. The guide gave a very detailed tour of the city, the famous buildings and the buildings in the castle (those that were visible). We are also able to play with those people walking on the streets by picking them up on cards, creating bridges for vans and cars to drive over. Of course, all these are tricks made possible by the property of light.
After that tour, I visited the rest of the optical illusion galleries. I played with the webcam and for a while, I was very tempted to go and find out where the webcams are located in the city.
Then I went up the roof again to play with the binoculars and telescopes. I point them towards the "acropolis" or the observatory and saw people there. Well, it was a great visit, which gave me a very different view of Edinburgh city.
After the visit at the camera obscura, I walked a little on the Royal mile to catch the bus to Holyrood palace. The guide at the camera obscura mentioned that the Queen was there, so I probably want to get there to see if I am lucky to catch a glimpse of her. Unfortunately the palace was closed, and I managed to see a few guards marching in the traditional kilts. At the end of my tour, I went to Marks and Spencer to buy dinner. As I was walking down, I noticed that a guy who was gathering signatures for a petition against animal testing the previous day wasnt there.
Sunset from my bed
I wanted to make some donations, but since he wasnt there, there is nothing more I could do. I bought my stuff and went back to my hostel. Bethany came back a little while after I came back, and we had a conversation about our feelings of the trip. She will be leaving the group to join another 6 day tour around Scotland, and after her 2 weeks in UK, she will be going to France and wont return home until 28 days later. We were talking about how fast days seems to go, but in fact they didnt pass that fast, and truly, this was the 5th day of the tour! That was when I start to feel sad and just hoping that I can get to stay in Edinburgh, or just have my holidays again from the start. Anyway, I didnt sleep until it was probably 10 and that is marks the end of my stay in Edinburgh.