Pandas, koalas and dinosaurs - those were my goals of the day and I did not fail, because Glyn and I went to Edinburgh zoo. We took the bus as Saul had warned us that parking was stupidly expensive and places not always guaranteed.
We were super lucky in that we were able to see the very elusive female panda because her bed was being cleaned and she was stuck outside getting annoyed. As soon as she could, she was off and glad to see the back of us. By complete contrast, the male panda was totally laid back, lounging in a large tub, chowing down on bamboo. It was impressive how quickly he stripped down that bamboo, but given that this is all he does, he should be pretty deft at it.
The koalas were so sleepy and adorable, they are the ultimate tree-huggers. You have to be completely quiet near them lest they actually wake up and crap themselves because of your presence.
Other animals included lion, tiger, pygmy hippos and of course Scottish Wildcats. The zoo is on a hill, so everything is up or down. We went right to the top to be confronted
with strong winds and rubber dinosaurs, some of which squirted water at us and stared me out. Glyn had a Scottish beef burger and the two ladies that served him assured us that it never stops raining in Edinburgh and that it is ALWAYS 4 degrees colder in Scotland than it is in England. That is a fact, we must check the weather daily and it will be proven.
The penguins were a bit idle in that they couldn't be arsed to go on their world famous Penguin Parade, but I guess they were busy sitting on eggs which seems to be a full time chore for them at the moment. The sun shone intermittently, but the wind also blew sharply with a few showers and a lot of the animals thought it best to stay in and sleep. We still managed to see most of what we wanted and spent many good hours there.
By the time we got back to Princes Street, the afternoon was drawing on, so we went to the National Gallery which was nearby. There's quite a good few well knowns in there including Monet, Van Gogh and Degas. But they have a
rule where back packs have to be held by the handles and I soon got fed up carrying it and almost tripping over the straps a few times.
Charles Dickens thinks that the Scott Monument looks like a Gothic spike wrenched off a church and wedged in the ground, and he was unimpressed. Bizarrely, I agree with him, BUT I was impressed. What a great idea to wedge a Gothic spire into the ground! The guy who designed it was thinking ahead about tourists and the spiral stair up it are claustrophobically narrow with low ceilings. They get narrower near entrances and in some places I was scraping both shoulders on both walls. It was impossible to pass anyone. Walking down the steps, my backpack got caught on the steps behind me and dragged against the walls.
It was worth it to get to the top, with great views across Edinburgh and more wind than Glyn's bum after a beany curry.
The day was topped off with a lovely homemade veggie lasagne for me, Helen and Maisie, as cooked by Helen. Glyn and Saul shared an entire chicken.
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