Friday, February 25, 2011


When Jerry, Carol, and Jonathan were here, we took a train up to Edinburgh Scotland.  The countryside, even just from the train, was beautiful with rolling green hills everywhere.  But other than the train ride, we spent the whole weekend in the city.  I think we all have plans to take another vacation to Scotland so we can explore more both in and out of Edinburgh.

Anyway, Alan and I are quickly coming to realize that it's difficult to sightsee with a now-4-year-old.  He's too big to just strap in a stroller or backpack and carry where we want to go.  But he's too little to walk as far and as fast as we would sometimes like.  And he's just not all that interested in the history of United Kingdom castles and cathedrals.  So our visit to Edinburgh probably doesn't look much like Edinburgh.  But we had a great time, which is key.

First, here is Edinburgh Castle.  Alan, Coop, and I didn't go in, but the others did, and they really enjoyed it.
It sits atop an extinct volcano, which I think is cool.  And it also holds the One O'clock Gun, which is fired every day at (you guessed it) 1:00pm (except for Sunday, Good Friday, and Christmas).  You can read more about the castle, if you're so inclined, here.

While Jerry, Carol, and Jon were touring the castle, I was left with these two grumps:
(Cooper tires quickly of all my picture-taking.  Too bad for you, bub. Better just deal with it.)

We three found the perfect place to spend a couple of hours -- Camera Obscura and World of Illusions.  "Camera obscura" is Latin for darkened chamber, and it refers to a series of lenses and mirrors that can project an image into another surface.  Sort of like a camera + periscope.  The camera obscura in Edinburgh was actually set up in the 1850s, up on the roof of the building that it's currently in.  We started our visit with a show to demonstrate the camera obscura.  The tour guide panned the camera 360 degrees around the city to give us a bird's eye tour.

The rest of the building is now an optical illusion/magic museum, and Coop had a great time.  (Ok, so did the grown-ups.)

This was some kind of computerized floor mat that responded to touch (or stepping).
So the picture here is like you're looking into a pond -- water ripples, big rocks, and little fish swimming around.  Wherever you stepped, the water rippled and the fish swam away from you.

This was a traffic scene and Coop caused all sorts of car accidents by stepping on the vehicles.

There was a whole floor of holograms, which unfortunately don't make for great photos.  And an entire room of those magic eye things that I still can't figure out.

Here's Alan's head on a platter:

And GIANT Alan with tiny Cooper:

Notice that when it's Coop's turn to be BIG, he flexes his muscles.  Well played, son.

One whole floor was various light/mirror displays including the maze of mirrors:

After we left Camera Obscura and the others were done in the castle, we took a double-decker bus tour around the city:

Other than a stop for lunch and a stop to buy a souvenir, we didn't really see much else.  This trip anyway.  But we started a list of things to do next time!

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