We've been busy as bees in Edinburgh, up early every morning and out exploring. A decent mix between activities that will keep the kids happy plus still seeing the things that help us realize that we're really in Scotland is an exercise in fine-line walking. Add to that the prohibitive expense of everything here and we still feel we've managed to pack a lot in so far. We've seen the Camera Obscura museum (fun and the C.O. itself was very cool), The People's Story Museum and the 3D Loch Ness Experience (waste of money) and taken the train over the Firth of Forth to Fife (dare you to say THAT five times fast!) to visit the Deep Sea World Aquarium which has the longest underwater viewing tunnel in the world. It's 120 meters long, the length of a football field, and quite nifty to walk along while sharks and manta rays and tons of silvery fish go gliding by over your head.
We've walked up and down the Royal Mile and explored several of the dark Closes that branch off it, and gotten sucked in to several souvenir shops that sell anything and everything in plaid. :) On Croila's recommendation we spent a great deal of one day riding around the entire city in an open-air tourist bus with a live guide, which was great. Really informative and a fun way to learn a lot about the city and its history. We had a bit of excitement on one of the stretches, when Martin's ladybug baseball cap went flying off and landed in the middle of the very busy main avenue behind us, right in front of the Scott Monument. If you click on that picture link, the cap blew down and landed on the median right by the red traffic lights. But by the time we could stop the bus and get off, we were over 2 blocks away. With Karin and I in the lead, we sprinted back along the sidewalk, dodging tourists and commuters. As we neared the monument, I got a glimpse of something red in the middle of the street, so I grabbed Karin and we ran across the road to the median. Then Karin zoomed up the middle of the road on the median and nabbed the cap! Ta-Dah! Martin was very happy and Karin was very proud of herself for having rescued the ladybug hat.
My calves are really feeling all the hills of Edinburgh and each morning as we set out, they protest violently at the first downhill slope. We've done a ton of walking and EVERYTHING is on a hill here. We've seen bagpipers and kilts galore (Martin is keeping a Kilt Count, helped greatly today by all the graduates of the university and law school in full regalia) and tomorrow, which is Karin's 7th birthday, we'll be heading uphill to Edinburgh Castle and later in the day we'll go underground for one of the many vault tours that explore the catacombs and underground streets that date back to medieval times. Most of the underground tours are about scary stuff, ghosts and witches and such, and have warnings about suitability for children, but this one is apparently tame enough for the kids (and me).
Next stop: Inverness, monster hunting in Loch Ness, and the Highlands!
Bountiful Birthday Wishes, Some Belated, Some in Advance to natooke, geeklibrarian, sithhappens, sandykins57 and lotta!