Day 2 started with us finding a Red Bull Mini parked in the Travelodge car park. We were so excited! We decided to inject some culture into our lives and headed to the National Museum of Scotland. Was it in the search for the Ming exhibition? Or Scotland through the ages? No. It was to see William Burke’s skeleton. You see we had heard it was in the museum so we hurried in, excited. So excited we got stuck in the revolving doors and had to force our way free. Not quite the dignified entrance we’d hoped for, but frankly, Cat had left her dignity at the airport when she had to un-padlock our suitcase to get out the spare camera batteries out while the case was about to disappear on the conveyor belt, and Lynx’s dignity was stuck to the bollard with her knee skin. We’d never had a desire to visit Edinburgh until we learned of Burke and Hare. We know, most people want to visit a city because of its architecture, or a romantic ideal. We wanted to see the city where the body snatchers lived.
We’re terrible in museums. There’s always so much to look at it, we never know where to go first, which usually results in us standing still and pivoting until something shiny catches our eyes. And we’re always so excited about the exhibitions that we can’t read the information cards because we’re too impatient, so we never learn anything. Neen warned her mum it was like taking toddlers in. Oversized Gothic toddlers who squeal and clap at the sight of skeletons. Neen grabbed a map and we scanned it for Burke’s skeleton, which we assumed would be the jewel in the museum’s collection. It wasn’t mentioned. But dinosaurs were, so we hurried to the natural world section to look for T-Rex. There was a weighing scales where you could see what animal you weighed as the same as. Turns out, we’re somewhere between an emperor penguin and a komodo dragon. The top animal was a polar bear, so the four of us squeezed on to see if we could reach polar bear. We failed. A mum and her 2 kids were watching so we convinced them to join us. We still didn’t make it to polar bear! We called for more bodies. A little girl hopped on and we cheered as the polar bear target was reached.
We resumed our hunt for Burke’s skeleton and decided to visit Dolly the sheep. For those of you who don’t know her, she was the first ever cloned animal back in 1997. Now she’s in a glass case. Personally, we would have preferred for her to be buried. There’s something about taxidermy that really freaks us out. On the way to see Dolly, we spotted a shiny in the form of an Isetta bubble car and scuttled into the exhibition to look at it. Then we saw a Mini, followed by an early example of car. Then there was a case of typewriters and cameras. We nearly forgot about Dolly until Neen reminded us. In the section with Dolly was a game to test your reaction speed. Neen managed to hit 32 targets, Elaine got 27. Lynx only managed 15, barely beating Cat’s score of 12. In our defence, it was pre-Red Bull o’clock and those lights were really hard to see.
Eventually, after wandering most of the museum, we gave in and asked someone where Burke’s skeleton was. He told us it was in the surgeon’s hall and showed us where it was on the map then went on to their site. It’s closed until summer 2015. A howl of disappointment rang out through the museum. To cheer ourselves up, we went to look at more dinosaurs. Then we spotted a tree tunnel in the kids section so went inside and crawled through, to strange looks from nearby children.
Then we visited a childhood museum. In the window was one of our favourite games when we were kids – the penguin race game. Our nan and grampy bought it for us and we would spend hours playing it. We had to buy it. (We’ve just set it up at home and have spent ages watching the cute little penguins climb the steps and go down the slide repeatedly while making penguin sounds. Mum “I don’t know how that kept you amused as kids.” Us “it’s keeping us amused now.”)
Next we hopped on a tour bus and went to Dynamic Earth. We got over excited at seeing the big plastic dinosaurs outside. Dynamic Earth was really cool. It teaches you all about how the earth was formed, about volcanic eruptions, glaciers and takes you through different time periods. Normally it’s not a topic that interests us (not enough blood and gore for our liking), but it was a fascinating place and well worth a visit. Even if we did fall asleep during the super volcanoes video. Not through boredom but through not sleeping well and not drinking enough Red Bull. There was one little girl of about 8 or 9 who stared at us so much we were forced to take a different tour. It was either that or charge her a staring fee.
We got back on the bus and went to another of our favourite pubs – Jekyll & Hyde. There are cabinets with skulls, medical equipment, there’s chandeliers, gargoyles and the place is painted purple with black furniture. Like our room. The toilets are hidden behind a fake library wall. If we had a castle, the inside would look like this. Then it was back to Frankenstein’s!
At 9 we headed out for the Witchery Tour. It was brilliant. One of the best tours we’ve done. It was led by Adam Lyal (Deceased) and his sidekick “Steve” who at first was dressed as a plague doctor, with football socks and daps. Cat was accused of being a witch and put on trial. Her thumbs were placed in thumbscrews as she protested her innocence, to the cries of “witch!” “Burn her!” and “guilty!” from Lynx and Neen. There’s always one heckler on the tour. As the tour moved through the streets, we were accosted by “Steve” in various disguises, but the football socks and daps were a giveaway. He was hilarious. Don’t think we’ve ever laughed so much on a tour. It’s the first time we’ve ever seen a skeleton monk perform the Smooth Criminal dance and flash his thighs at us.
By the time we finished the tour, a thick fog shrouded Edinburgh. Eerily perfect for a witchery tour. We stopped to take photos and met 3 people who were on our tour. When we returned to Travelodge, the people we’d met were staying in our Travelodge! One of the guys said “are you stalking us or are we stalking you?” Cat replied “we’ve been stalking you for a while now, we’re so good at it you’ve only just noticed.” He replied “we’re on the 4th floor.” Neen said “we know.” After that, we bumped into them at the same spot in Travelodge (the lift) every day for the rest of our visit and even encountered them on the street. But we did learn that the Witchery shop has a card case made from Burke’s skin. So maybe we’ll get a glimpse of him after all…
Leave a comment
No comments yet.