Sunday, May 29, 2011

[L.E.P.A.K series: Edinburgh] Chap 7: Up the Royal Mile

Seeing the number of times we literally went up and down the Royal Mile, the more befitting title would be “Up and Down the Royal Mile” but ... oh well. :)

Anyway, continuing on from the castle. We came down to Edinburgh’s Camera Obscura and World of Illusions where we surprisingly had a really fun and educational time. Hahaha. Sounds so much like a school’s field trip.

Now if you’re wondering what’s a camera obscura…

This is a Camera Obscura!

It sure looks very simple don’t you think? Well, of course it does. This ‘technology’ goes all the way back to the 10th century. The one here in Edinburgh had arrived around the 18th century, which still gives it over 300 years ahead of us, no? So for something so old, we really weren’t expecting it to be all kinds of amazing but it turned out to be more delightful than expected.

It’s like owning the biggest spying camera and using it
to spy on people out on the streets.

Our host was a pleasant lady who kept telling us how lucky we were to arrive on such a sunny day. Edinburgh haven’t seen sun for quite some time now and today just so happened to be all bright and cheery. It was then that Nana and I started to believe that we brought the sun with us from home, especially after my dad told us that it had been raining back home while we were away for the entire week.

At the end of the commentary, our host even let us ‘play’ with the passer-by reflected on the projection dish. Using a simple folded card we can actually ‘pick’ a passer-by up and ‘place’ him or her back into the scene. It’s hard to explain but it sure makes one feel
very god-like ‘powerful’ to be in control of this ‘little people’. Though there’s also the thought of us being ‘picked up’ by other visitors later on while we’re strolling outside.

The Camera Obscura was located at the very top floor of the building. After the show, we headed on down floor by floor where various illusions were exhibited. The best thing about illusions is that they’re interactive and you get to play along and experience them.

The best and probably the most famous one of them all was…

...the Ames Room.

Or more commonly known as the Shrink and Grow room whereby two persons step in,
stand at each corner of the room and from the outside appears to be…


Pretty nifty huh? Too bad my modest camera could only capture that much but still, sooooo cute and cool at the same time. *grins*

There’s a whole lot more stuff going on in this place.

Like the funny mirrors. :P

And scary head on a platter. Hahaha.

Even the toilets make you think twice before actually using them.

There was also this crazy maze filled with mirrors where you see reflection upon reflection of yourself until you don't really know which is real.

Don’t believe me? Watch this video I took where I went after Nana.

In all that craziness, I actually banged into one of my own reflections. Malunya. I might not be as smart as I thought I was after all. Hahaha. OMG! Half a post later and we’ll still at Camera Obscura? Okay, okay. Let’s head out to the streets now.

The thing about a place being that old is how much history there is in every
building and monument you see. *sigh*

Not to mention, the people there sure are an expressive bunch too.

This was our next pit stop.

We went on one of the Historic Walks organized by Mercats Tours. For your information, there are a few tour companies organizing similar types of walks and tours in Edinburgh. So, do your research and find one that suits your taste and well… time. :)

St Giles Cathedral.

One of the many closes along the Royal Mile which
looks out to the newer part of town.

There you can see the Scott Monument too.
So you can imagine how much walking we did for that day.

Hume. Smart man, interesting story, couldn't remember it in detail.
LOL. Fail memory.

Down the Grassmarket.

And up the stairs back to the Royal Mile again. The Edinburgh Castle was a pretty sight from this angle, especially since the sun has begun to set.

Finally we reached the top of the stairs and the sign mocked us.


Go figure.

Our first McDonald’s meal in the UK. Hahaha.

It’s a shame we didn’t get to try any of Edinburgh’s local food. I really wanted to
try Haggis but we couldn’t decide on the many cafes down the street. Not to mention
we were too poof from all that walking that all we wanted was to spend the next
hour or so sitting down, resting our poor feet. That’s when we decided McD’s was
the best choice since we can order our burgers and just hang-out as long as we want
without having a waiter glaring at us.

McDonald's Chicken Legend with Salsa sauce.

I always make sure to try flavours that are not available at home whenever I travel.
Chicken Legend with its awesome name turned out to be a disappointment though.
I know the picture I took makes it look reaaaally good. But it was a little bit too dry,
a little bit too bland and not the least memorable. Till today, I still talked about how
awesome the Ebi (Prawn) Burger was in Japan and how satisfying to have McBreakfast
come with bacon and latte. Even the unique mince meat rice burger in Taiwan gets
a point if not in taste, at least in creativity.

After a somewhat good rest, we head out again for our last itinerary for the day.
The Murder and Mystery Tour. *shivers*

On our way, we met Mr Bagpipe! Finally. I mean how can you be in Scotland
and not see a man in a Scottish kilt and a bagpipe?! *grins*

The now much deserted Royal Mile.

And finally our guide, Adam Lyal (Deceased) arrived.

Yes. He’s dead and now he’s back to share his tales and those of others. A funny guy
he is but not a very punctual one, too. He came later than scheduled because of the delay
of an earlier group. So Nana and I ended up leaving half way through the tour to catch
our bus back to London.

That marks the end of our one day tour to Edinburgh. A lot was done in that little time
we had. I need to come back to Edinburgh again one day, some day. To finish the tour,
to eat haggis and to venture out of the city and to the countryside, to see lochness,
the lake and all things pretty. Edinburgh is loved and I’ll leave you this time with
another video. Do turn your volume down a bit before you hit the play button. Till then!