Edinburgh Day Two

Second day (only full day) I spent the first part of the day in museums (after a wonderful Vegetarian breakfast in a place called simply “Café”) first the gallery (meaning paintings and a few sculptures) and then the Natural Museum. These are all part of the National Museums of Scotland. The second was certainly better but I did get to see a Da Vinci, two Monet’s, 3 Raphaels and other impressionists (one in particular – “Woman and Child in Garden” by Berthe Monisot, I was surprised that she is not more well-known because I preferred her piece to the better Monet) in the Gallery and discovered a great Scottish artist by the name William McTaggart. I’ve posted some pictures of the paintings I saw that I got off the internet because photography is not allowed in the Gallery. Photography is allowed in the Natural Museum however and I took many photos, some of which are posted below and all of which will probably end up on facebook when I get the chance to log-on. These exhibits were themed around things like the progression of sculpture or music from around the world and then one room (open to the three stories but with balconies around the upper two so exhibits could be around those and still be able to see down below) was all about animals around the world. The best floor was the middle because the focus was on animals that have become extinct either naturally through evolution or unnaturally because of human interference (poaching, introduction of a foreign species). There are so many thousands of species in the world that it may not matter to some how many animals have gone extinct, but I found myself to be glad that animal conservationists have recognized the problem and are working on maintaining the natural diversity of the earth. That somehow just feels like a positive thing to me despite my lack of interest in getting involved personally.

The second part of my day was spent in shops searching for the perfect cashmere scarf. It is the only thing I wanted from Scotland and I finally settled on one majorly purple and green plaid, but with added white and black. There are just so many stores and colors that it did take up a significant amount of time for me. I do wish I had more time in Edinburgh so I could have explored more, not just shopping but just seeing the streets – they are simply beautiful and I’ve realized what a fan of architecture I am since being here. That’s why I did spend so much time walking around London rather than inside looking at paintings. I never did make it to Tate Modern which is supposed to be very good, but I just never had enough desire to see modern art. Anyways, that was my afternoon …

Finally I picked up a quick dinner – paninis are great in this country, and the tea! Wonderful – and then went off to a showing of Starlight Express by Andrew Loydd Webber at the Playhouse. I was quite disappointed with the show actually. On the inverse correlation of talent to special effects, this play rated quite poorly. That it was performed on skates was very cool and I’m not referring to that – though I wasn’t particularly impressed by it since I used to watch Extreme Rollerskating – but rather that there were constant lights flashing and videos that played (in 3D – glasses and all). Being blinded by various colors in various fashions annoyed me more than anything and while I understand the point of having it, it took away from the performance greatly for me. I did like that the music was played by a live orchestra and some of the songs were ok, but I was deeply disappointed by the main characters as an adult. But Webber wrote it originally for his children and watching it as a child would, I can understand why it is appealing. The Cinderella storyline is compelling, but the main female characters are extremely “blonde.” I’ve nothing against making a character sexy, but being ditzy to go along with it doesn’t suit me well. I want my female characters strong internally if not always outwardly – I believe that is why I am so drawn to Wicked and Phantom of the Opera. They both have strong female leads – Glinda, Elphaba, and Madame Morrible in Wicked and Christine and Madame Geary in Phantom. There may be some tension between the genders, but the females triumph in their goals. I guess I’ve never thought of that before… Mostly I think I like a strong character in general, I would rather see Rusty somehow end a much stronger “machine” (he was a steam powered engine/train). His triumph just didn’t suit me because of the lack of strength. However, once again as a child, I’m sure this show is much more appealing and would be very enjoyable. It’s very child friendly and I do recommend it for that reason, but for adults who enjoy strong dialogue and plot, I would advise choosing another show. And thus ended my one full day in Edinburgh. I left early the next morning and would be more regretful of it had I not been so internally pressed to get home.

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