September 7, 2005

Scotland Chronicles – Day 4 – August 23 – Dean and Modern Art Galleries

While my dad was out perusing the countryside on his bike, having survived a fall on the cobblestones the previous night trying to ride back to the B&B from the bike shop, in the dark, we took to the galleries. My sister and brother arrived from DC today so our brood was slowly beginning to fill out. Predicting jetlag for the sibs we determined that a quite day would be best.

The National Galleries of Scotland offer free entrance with an additional fee for special exhibitions. This means that anyone can enjoy the artwork and the facilities, regardless of income or willingness to pay to view art. Being cheap I pretty much refuse to pay for extra exhibitions unless I really love the artist. (Our final few days in the UK we went to the Tate Modern to view the Frida Kahlo exhibition and it was worth the price!)

We started at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art which is situated in a residential neighborhood in an old school administration building. Last time we were in Scotland Stephen and I visited during a snow shower and it was beautiful. Behind the gallery building is a secret walkway along the water that takes you into “downtown” Edinburgh. It soon became the favorite passage for our Aunt and Uncle who walked throughout the city during their visit.

Directly across the street is the Dean Gallery, another school administration building reclaimed for a new use. This one has a wonderful café, gift shop (note, I may be cheap but when it comes to food and commerce I go all out – with Stephen’s cash. Is it bad for an arts administration professional to say that paying for the experience of viewing art is not enough, I need to get something tangible for my investment.)

Out front is a landscape installation which takes up the entire green and is somewhat reminiscent of an Andy Goldsworthy but with a golf course kind of feel. We walked all along the installation’s banks and waterways. The area also features a community garden which was in full bloom. Sibs Marlene and Matthew took a wee nap downstairs and we got the picture – time to head back to the B&B.

Today is also when the weather took a slight turn for the worst. Up until today the temperatures could pass for late summer, but the skies opened and down came the rain and with it some much colder weather. For the next several days it certainly felt like winter had started. Escaping from the rain we took cabs back and ordered Indian Take-Away. So yummy. Then we all napped in what was quickly becoming “our B&B”.

That evening we went out to dinner with the Duncans and we had a grand time getting to know each other and our various food habits. Some are Kosher, others are vegi, a few don’t eat dairy, others want hot water with lemon but not tea. We determined it would probably be easier to carry around a laminated instruction card and hand it to the waitperson as soon as we arrive.