Monday, September 28, 2009

Art Galleries and Dean's Village

About a week ago, I decided that instead of staying inside bored out of my mind, that I would go to a few of the art galleries. What is absolutely great about the art galleries and museums here is that they are free. So I went to the National Gallery of Scotland and the two Modern Art Galleries.

The pieces of art in the National Galleries were great. I especially enjoyed the paintings done of Scottish landscapes. It makes me want to travel all over the country. Here is an example from the Highlands (It makes me want to be a bag-pipe playin', kilt wearin', haggis eating shepherd):

Here are a few more:

The Modern Art Gallery left a lot to be desired (There really weren't a lot of exhibits). It was filled with some pretty weird/intersting stuff, like this giant metal man:

And this sheep in a box of formaldehyde:

What made the trip out to the Modern Galleries worth while was the fact that it was located near the Dean Industrial Village. It is a cool little area in the west end of Edinburgh that I stumbled upon accidentally on my way back home.

When I saw the clock tower there and realized that a lot of the houses looked like places Hobbits would live I had to venture down into the village:

Who wouldn't want a cool bridge to walk across to get home. If only it was a draw bridge with a moat!

Now that's a moat!

The strangest part of Dean Village was when I came across this ominous dark statue:

Truth be told it had the head of Dean (my Dad) on it. As soon as I looked at it a bright light shone out blurring the features so it can't be seen in the photo (but I swear it was him), and his voice boomed out, "If you grow it, I will come." Which is why I'm currently growing this beard and wearing my "Dean Westacott Lumberjack shirt":

"I'm waiting Daddy! Sorry Mom, the statue said you guys would be here, so you'll have to get over your fear of flying!"

Doors Open Days, Dog Pubs, and the 20p to Pee!

Whoa. Another new post. Totally unexpected. This isn't going to be another month long lull!

On the 26 and 27 of September it was Doors Open Days in Edinburgh. These Doors Open Days are happening all over Scotland this year as part of the Homecoming celebrations. Homecoming Scotland is an events programme celebrating Scotland's great contributions to the world, the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns’ birth, Scottish contributions to golf & whisky, plus their great minds and innovations and rich culture and heritage. So during Doors Open Days, many historical sites are opened up to the public for free so that people can explore areas that are normally closed off to the public or usually charge an entry fee. Katie and I decided that we wanted to go and see the old lighthouse in the Harbour area of Edinburgh.

The journey started off pretty well. As you can see here, I was very happy:

The reason I was so happy was that I was on a double decker bus...AND I WAS ON THE TOP DECK! It wasn't the first time I was up on the top deck of a bus in Edinburgh, but for me, it is always totally awesome (although, that night I had a terrible dream that I was driving a double decker bus from the top deck, up and down Bellamy Road in Scarborough from Bendale Bible Chapel heading north towards the 401. It was actually terrifying. I kept smashing into things).

However, once we arrived at the lighthouse, we realized that it wasn't as cool as it had sounded.

The building was pretty neat, but the vantage point from the top of the lighthouse wasn't that amazing. Especially after waiting for about an hour to get to the top (we stayed up there for about 4 minutes before we went back down).

What ended up being the best part of heading down to the Harbour was the view of the waterfront. We were able to walk along a footpath next to the shore and get some pretty nice pictures of the beach, fishing boats and me!

Wait! I spoke too soon. This photo below was actually the best part. Katie saw this place and took a picture because she made a hilarious Star Wars joke about it. I know, I can't believe how good she is getting at picking up Star Wars references. She hates the movies, but can't help but make these observations because she knows it's really the only way she can make me laugh hard! She makes me proud. This is a home for the aged that was clearly founded by Master Yoda because of the backwards talk...I died laughing. I just imagined Yoda presenting this idea. "This slogan, how about? Help the aged, we will..."

When we finished up our walk around the Harbour, Katie and I went and had a beer at a pub. After we each had a Fuller's London Pride (great to be able to have my favourite beers on tap over here) we looked over and this is what we saw:

(Re-enactment. This is not the actual dog or pub, but you get the idea)

A dog was just chillin' out in the pub. It was so weird. It would come in and hang out by the bar, and then head back outside, and then come back in. After that I decided that I would only go to pubs that have dogs from now on because once you've been in a pub with a dog you can't go back to dogless pubs.

Well, things got a little weirder after that. As most of you know, after a beer or two you usually have to take a pee. So on our way home we ended up looking for a public washroom to use. We finally found one at the Princes Street Mall. But it was a pay washroom. I had to pay 20p(ence) to pee! Never had to pay to pee before. But I guess there's a first time for everything.

When we got home we had chocolate bars and milk for dinner. It was a great day!

Arthur's Seat

So, it has been quite a while since we have posted anything, so I figured today was as good a day as any to fill you in on some of the things we have been doing. Katie has been at school and has been very, very busy, hence the lack of posts here. I, on the other hand, have been unemployed for a long time and was busy looking for work. But now that I have secured employment and have some stress free time on my hands before I start work, I thought I would post some stuff.

On August 22, one of the last things Katie and I did before she started school was we headed to Holyrood Park. Now we did a post on Holyrood Park before, but we hadn't actually headed to the highest peak in the park, Arthur's Seat. It was absolutely amazing (actually, the first day Katie went to school I went and climbed it again). Here are some of the pictures:

About halfway into the park we noticed that there was remnants of an old building, so we decided to head up the hill to check it out.

It turns out that it was an old church called St. Anthony's Chapel.

After I took this picture of Katie in the doorway of the chapel, I wanted to climb to the top of Arthur's Seat. However, Katie did not. So I devised a plan. I said, I just wanted to go a little closer to Arthur's Seat. And every so often, just like Lando, I would say, "Higher. Just a little Higher!" Obviously Katie caught on after a while, and said, "I know what you're doing. You're going to say just a little higher until we're basically at the top!" To which I said, "Yes, and now that we are this far we can't turn back! So obviously my plan is working."

Needless to say, we made it to the top and Katie was happy because we were able to get some awesome photo opportunities:

Holyrood Park is definitely my favourite place so far in Edinburgh, mostly because it is absolutely beautiful, but also because anytime Katie does a superhero stance, like in the photo above, it makes me happy to know I'm not the only nerd in this relationship (...I told Katie I wished I had my beach towel with me for my picture because it was so windy up there that I could have tied it around my neck like a flowing superhero cape).