..We are much farther north than Montreal, and the days are light longer. Well, "light" perhaps not operative word, as is mostly gray, rainy, chilly, windy, overcast. Did accidentally see the sun for a few minutes.
.. A farmers market on Saturdays. With outdoor stalls. What are they thinking? See above comment about weather.
..Streets with traditional names, named for what was once sold there, like Candlemaker Lane. But what pray tell was found in Grassmarket? Earlier predecessors of Amsterdam style cafes?
..Some pubs have traditional names like "Kings Head Arms," which is nice. Some of these names seem to have carried over when they were converted to strip bars, which is weird. And no, Gentle (if perverted) Reader, I did not partake.
..Lot's of statues and monuments, especially along Royal Mile: Hume, Scott, Adam Smith, etc. honoring Edinburgh's tradition as a center of scholarship.
..They are aware that folks in some countries (most of them) drive on the other side, which makes it a danger for tourists crossing the street. In some areas like near the airport, they paint a note on the street telling pedestrians "Look left," or "Look right," with an arrow. It's only written in English, so I guess it's okay to run over francophones. In most of the city, you are on your own to figure it out. Sometimes you forget, or figure it out but then it turns out to be a one-way street in the other direction. Fortunately, Edinburgh drivers, unlike Montreal ones, actually try to refrain from running you over.
..Pipers everywhere, playing for the tourists. Of course, considering how far pipes carry, might only be just 2-3 in the whole city, and it seems like they're everywhere.
..Walked into a model shop. In addition to the usual animals, tanks, planes, etc, they were selling a scale model of the RMS Titanic. Whattheheck? Who would want that? And what would you do after you built it, smash it with an ice cube?
..Local soda called Irn Bru, pronounced like "iron brew." Good, tastes like cream soda.
..Prices always seem reasonable, until you realize they're in £ not $. Even though you know that, you still automatically value it in dollars.
..Much of it above my head, or at least irrelevant to me, but still getting a lot out of it. Have met a number of important researchers in Cutaneous Lymphoma, and some collaborations might ensue. Some of the talks gave us ideas - nothing of immediate use, but ideas often have to churn around in the back of the mind before they bear fruit. Other talks were simple inspirational in feeling the passion of the speaker. That was especially true of Elaine Fuchs, one of the keynote speakers, who even started her talk by saying that you have to find a job/career that excites you. This is someone with 100s of publications in journals like Cell and Nature.
..Just knowing I was taking part in an event with scientists from all over the world meant a lot to me. Science has always been international, even when nothing else was. When I was a Resident, I was writing a paper, and found the original reference to something, which dated from the early 1800s. Back then, you could go into the historical stacks at the McGill medical library. I remember the feeling I had, holding that almost 2 century old journal in my hands, reading the original article that I was citing, and feeling myself part of a river of knowledge flowing down through the centuries.
MY COMINGS AND GOINGS
..Breakfast included at hotel. Had the Scottish Breakfast, which included haggis. It actually wasn't any worse than any other Scottish food. Okay, that sets the bar pretty low.
..Walked into a couple of antiquarian bookstores and map shops. Half wanted to get some thing but didn't. I confess to a sort of brain freeze in those places. I need nothing, but want everything.
..Picked up a some bottled water for my peregrinations. Buxton Water. Buxton was an old spa town (like Bath) that I visited some years back with WWC and Dad when she took part in an international Gilbert and Sullivan festival. (I guess I get to UK for international events these days.)
..Edinburgh Castle. Can't go to Europe, especially UK without checking out a castle or two, and this is a big'un. Enjoyed it, but have seen quite a lot of castles by now, so a bit less of a thrill. Enjoyed the military museums, of course, and watched them fire the one o'clock gun. (Guide claimed they fired a gun at one instead of noon to save on powder - fire only one shot instead of twelve. No sure I believe it, but makes a good story.)
..Had lunch one day in Glass and Thompson, which is featured in some of Alexander McCall Smith's novels. Enjoyed the literary connection, but really a very ordinary, rather modern cafe.
..Did get a proper jacket to go with my kilt. The reception the first night, I wore it with a regular suit jacket, which just doesn't look right. For the reception last night at the Scottish Museum I had the proper Charlie Jacket.
..A kilt is certainly not a skirt, but did get some appreciation for what women go through. No, not the cool breeze, the risk of an upskirt, or should I say upkilt, which is worse, since if you are wearing anything under it, it is not a kilt. The sporran somewhat protects against that view when seated. It also protects against a shot in the goolies. Add that you can use it to carry a condom, and it can protect the goolies in more ways than one. (And again, Gentle-if-perverted Reader, I did not partake. I'm a one woman man these days.)
..Scottish Museum. Very cool Victorian era building, with a three story, open ironwork truss, vaulted ceiling. Several of the pieces exhibited were classic 19th century machinery. In many ways that was the golden age of machinery. Today we have electronics and automation and machines, but then they had Machinery in all its metalwork beauty. I appreciate the functionality of the former but admire the esthetics of the latter. Yeah, I have a steampunk side.