Today was a free day, so I took my time getting out and about. Once I did, I journeyed over to the National Museum of Scotland. It was so close to the Hostel we are staying in. I have to admit that even though it was nice, I did enjoy the museums in London more. As I looked around the displays, my eye was caught by a large glass artifact. It was a lighthouse built by Thomas Stevenson, and exhibited in Paris in 1867. The Stevenson family built or rebuilt every lighthouse around the coast of Scotland! Between 1786 and 1938, five generations of the family designed and built lighthouses in some of the most difficult conditions imaginable. Their designs saved lives and cargo from being lost on rough and rocky coastlines. The families success in Scotland drew worldwide attention and their business took them around the world. In 1868 they exported an entire lighthouse system to Japan.
As I was about to leave I came across another really cool lighthouse. This one was called Inchkeith Lighthouse, and was built in 1803. David A Stevenson designed a dioptic lens in 1889. The lens was used until 1985, when the last lighthouse keeper was withdrawn and the light was automated.
I then came across a painting with a gentleman sitting at a table with a globe on it. It was a portrait of Alexander Dalrymple. In 1795, he became the first Hydrographer to the Admiralty and began to develop the science of recording and charting the oceans. The charts were eventually developed over 150 years to form more than 4,000 charts, that were used to provide a guide to the safe navigation of the world’s oceans. Alexander Dalrymple’s work meant that the Royal Navy had the most accurate sea charts in the world. This paved the way for the rapid growth of the British Empire.
A really awesome some quote on the wall at the museum!
I then made my way to this really good restaurant called Nandos. I highly recommend it for anyone looking for great food. The atmosphere was hipster. Walls on the way to the toilets were made of old doors. I thought it was pretty neat. After lunch, I went to Greyfriars Kirkyard. It is a really old gothic looking graveyard. It is famous because of a dog named Bobby. This pup belonged to John Gray, who was a watchman for the Edinburgh Police. The two were inseparable for two years before Gray died of tuberculosis in February 1858. He was then buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard, and Bobby would spend the rest of his fourteen years sitting on his master’s grave, he never spent a night away even in the worst weather conditions. The gardener and keeper tried many times to evict Bobby, but in the end took pity on him. Eventually building shelter and feeding him. In 1867, the Lord Provest of Edinburgh paid for Bobby’s dog license, making him the responsibility of the City Council. Bobby sadly died in 1872, and could not be buried within the cemetery itself because it was consecrated grounds. Instead, he was buried just inside the gate of Greyfriars Kirkyard, not far from his master’s grave.
After the walk through the cemetery, I really needed some caffeine. On the way back to the Hostel I saw this cute little cafe called Aroma Coffee Bar. Mmmmmm…. another tasty treat for the day.