Time Travel: Edinburgh, with Museum


Polished cross-section of bony limestone, which I wanted to steal.  It probably weighed a ton.

This morning, after another session trying to get the correct password to work at the guest house, to no avail, I headed to Waverly to try to get my railpass in person.  On the way there, though, I got sucked into a gigantic used book sale put on by the Christian something-or-other league.  It’s probably a good thing that I’m traveling; lots and lots of fascinating stuff.  There were many gorgeous old bindings.  I saw some wonderful samples from the l700s on up.  I did buy myself a present, a trade book from 1869, for 4 pounds.  It’s Dante in Italian, very small but thick, quarter-bound with a vellum spine and a shiny paste paper loosely resembling vellum.

Then Waverly, where great huge crowds of people were queued up.  I took a number and pulled out the Lonely Planet, and found that internet access on a rented computer was five minutes away. I got out of there.  2 pounds later, I had checked e-mail, ordered the railpass (which still hasn’t been confirmed) and had my credit card denied by a hotel in Glasgow, the night before the flight back, because it was an American account.

Then, I stopped in to the National Museum of Scotland. I confess that I don’t really enjoy most large museums, so I expected to just duck in and out, check on some information I needed for the research part of my trip, and shoot a few of the Lewis chessmen for Linda. But, it was fascinating, one of the best I have ever visited. I spent hours there. It’s historical, cultural, geological, a natural history museum, and an art museum both in the artifacts displayed and the manner of their presentation, much of which could be called contextual installation work. It traced the development of Scotland from pre-pre-history, well before humans, via reconstructions, large dioramas, and geological samples; and then, as humans entered the timeline, it traveled through all their permutations, presenting a plethora of excellent artifacts that have been found here.  And, it continued on to the present. They allowed a non-diner go out to the open-air rooftop restaurant, for some great city views, as well.  Excellent.


Pictish carvings.  I love the accuracy and economy of the line.  It was good to  see them in person.  I’ve also long been fascinated by the little creature in the top of the second photo.  The other carvings are so very accurate, so what IS he? There are a number of carvings of him, all the same. Sometimes historians call him the ‘elephant’ but that can’t be right.

Evening was spent attempting to use the wireless at a Starbucks, then not quite two hours at a massive cybercafe; they closed while I still had just under 30 minutes to go! I lost a pound. They wouldn’t extend it till tomorrow.  They were Russians, I think.

I had a very late sort-of dinner in the room to save money (Hmmm. I buy a book I can’t read because it’s beautiful, and then eat cheap stuff.  Feed the soul first; that’s me.)  Yogurt, fruit and oatcakes, with jelly filched from the breakfast room.  And then, I tried to plan the rest of the trip. Frustrating.  I’m going to be locked into a schedule, won’t be able to just stay longer when I find a place I like. I need, oh, a year or more here! It’s 1:30 and I’m signing off for now.

                                           Now, what man wouldn’t look great in this?


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