Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Day 5: Engines of History

June 25, 2014

Museums don't open until 10:00 am, or at the very earliest 9:30, so we started off the day with a stroll down to the new town, where we found the Conan Doyle pub across the street from the writer's former residence.

In front of the house, there was a statue of the great detective himself, no doubt contemplating some interesting clue.  

After strolling and admiring the Georgian architecture, we headed for the National Museum of Scotland.  The building was fabulous:

We wandered around for some time.  We'd especially wanted to see a special exhibition on the invention of logarithms, which turned out to be off the main gallery.  Although the museum has some splendid general interest areas, we concentrated on the parts to do with Scotland.  We fell into conversation with one of the museum demonstrators and in addition to seeing a mill steam engine demonstrated, he also started up their Newcomen atmospheric engine for us.  (They don't actually run steam in the museum, they cycle the machinery using a modern system- I'm sure the museum's insurance company insists!)

From there we did some additional walking, strolling out past the University of Edinburgh and through The Meadows.  

As it got later, we turned back and found more music, this time in The Captain's Bar, which someone had told us about in the pub the night before.  We found ourselves singing along with some humorous Canadian songs, played by a fellow who turned out to be Grant Simpson, fiddler for the Scottish group North Sea Gas.  We had another delightful musical evening to finish our last day in Edinburgh. And now I really want to see North Sea Gas play as a group on their next American tour!  


  1. If you ever make it to my neck of the woods, you need to check our Hamilton's Museum of Steam and Technology. It's a very small museum, but the pump house is cool.
    In highschool, I wanted to do my co-op at the city's largest (and coolest) museum - Dundurn Castle - naturally, all the spots got snapped up quick, so I got stuck at the museum of Steam and Tech. I thought it was going to be a total downer - I had a blast - best four months of high school! - Here's a link - http://www.hamilton.ca/CultureandRecreation/Arts_Culture_And_Museums/HamiltonCivicMuseums/SteamMuseum/

  2. I have enough Scottish ancestry that someday I need to go there, too; thank you for the virtual vacation!