Dave and I went back to the Kelpies yesterday morning, to see them in bright daylight. We also took the opportunity to pop into the cafe next door for a decent cup of coffee, because here's something else we've discovered about our hotel -- the coffee, despite the fact that it comes to your table in a French press, is like brown water.
We left the Kelpies and walked through The Helix, the adjacent park, and along a canal towpath until we got to one of Falkirk's main roads. There we stumbled onto a charity shop that funds a Staffordshire Terrier rescue organization! Well we had to go, of course, and I picked up a couple of books (Anthony Trollope's "The Way We Live Now" and Chrissie Hynde's autobiography) that I may or may not read at some point. Mostly we just wanted to contribute to the cause. Of course we showed off pictures of Olga.
We hopped on a bus toward the Falkirk Wheel, our eventual destination. All the tourism sites mention it, and at first I thought it was going to be some type of big Ferris wheel. But no. It's this:
It's a giant rotating boat lift (the world's first and only!) that connects the Union Canal with the Forth & Clyde Canal -- two waterways that used to be connected with a complicated "staircase" of locks because they're about 30 meters apart in height. A boat cruises into the space beneath that blue Scottish Canals sign, and the mechanism rotates to lift it to the top. Can you picture that?
Well, you don't have to, because we did it -- and I made a little video to show what it was like. (The "lifting" parts of the video are quadrupled in speed because the Wheel moves very slowly.) Once lifted from that lower basin to the upper, we passed along that causeway and into a tunnel, then to another boat basin where we turned around, went back through the tunnel and onto the causeway and then were lowered again.
It's a pretty impressive creation! I had no idea it even existed before this trip, but I'm so glad we went.
Last night we had dinner at a restaurant in town where I tried a martini again. It was only slightly less watery than the one I got Tuesday night. What is it with this town and martinis?! This time I went to the bar and said, "You know, I like my martini stronger. Can I get an extra shot of gin to put in it?" So I did, and my shot (which cost an additional £3) came in a tiny little shot glass, but it improved the drink immeasurably. I think what's going on is I'm getting one tiny shot like that in each martini, and the rest is water. Maybe I need to specify I want a four-shot martini.
After dinner and the bus ride back to our hotel, I walked again to the Kelpies, to see them at night.
The colored lights kept changing, which created some great effects! We learned, by the way, that they have names -- the one with his head up is Baron, and the one looking down is Duke. Apparently they were modeled after actual Clydesdale horses with those same names.