Saturday, 22 October 2011

Scotland Day 1 - Travel to Edinburgh

I got up at 6.15am and then Clare gave us a lift to the train station at 7.15am. Unfortunately I didn't have time to pack properly, but thought I'd got everything I needed.

The sun was rising as we left, and was a nice purple colour, though the sun didn't actually start to rise above the horizon until we had left on the train. The train journey was quite nice, going through some interesting looking places. The East Midlands Parkway station had a power station next to it, and later on we saw power stations further away on both sides of the trainline.

There was also a place in Yorkshire, which I can't remember its name, but had a large Victorian station, when I didn't think it was a major town.

We switched trains at York, and got the train to Edinburgh. Durham had a nice looking cathedral. Going through Newcastle it had some nice bridges going over the Tyne. Berwick upon Tweed looked a very nice picturesque seaside town as well.

When we got to Edinburgh station we had to try and figure out which exit was nearest the way we wanted to go. Then we went to our hotel, using Mauser's phone's GPS for navigation, though most of it was all along one long road.

I had brought a wheel suitcase but the pull-out handle at the top was broken. It had a cloth handle at the top, so I thought this would be okay. But actually it was very awkward and I kept hitting the case into my legs. My arms also got worn out quite quickly. My slingbag would keep sliding off to the right if I was pulling the case with my right hand since I had to lean down to hold the case handle. So this was another problem.

Eventually we reached the B&B, so I was very relieved. The woman at the B&B showed us some info about the buses and where nearby attractions were. After putting our stuff in our room we then walked all the way back to the city centre.

We walked up Callow Hill where there were a couple of large monuments and good views over the city. Next we walked down and went along Prince's Street, which is the main shopping street. The street was currently closed and covered with roadworks as they are installing a tram system. We walked up The Mound, which goes to the Royal Mile, and saw the way to Edinburgh Castle, and a large church, which is now 'The Hub'.

We walked along the Royal Mile to the long street around where the street changes from being North Bridge to being South Bridge. We walked along the street and saw a takeaway on the other side of the street offering Cheeseburgers for £1.30, so crossed over to have a look at it since it was about 6pm and we were hungry. But before we got back down to the pie shop (we had to walk up a bit past it to get to a crossing), we saw a restaurant that did oriental meals for reasonable prices. Since it is always difficult to buy from foreign restuarants in foreign countries (since the staff don't always speak English), it seemed sensible to eat at a foreign restaurant here as the staff would speak English. So we had a meal there, they did Japanese, Chinese, Cantonese, and various other asian dishes. I had a cantonese dish that was Pork, with a sauce that was meant to be spicy (but wasn't very hot actually), vegetables, and rice. Mauser had one that was Pork, Chicken and Prawns, along with vegetables and rice. We got a free pot of green tea with the meal, and it cost £6 each including a £1 tip. The staff all seemed to be Chinese, but spoke good English. I don't think that there would be any advantage food-wise in eating at a restaurant in China.

After our meal we walked back down the street, and then carried on along the Royal Mile, until we got to the Scottish Parliament, which is a modern architechturaly styled building. Nearby was Holyrood Palace, but this was closed, and wasn't even lit up at night. We walked part-way up Abbey Hill, and saw the 'bath house' of Queen Mary.

Then we went back along the Royal Mile until we reached North Bridge / South Bridge, and then went back up there towards the guesthouse. On the way we popped into Tesco to buy some breakfast for tomorrow morning. We had decided not to have breakfast at the B&B as it was an extra £5 per person, and we weren't sure whether we were going to be around at breakfast time or get up too early for it.

Carrying on up the road towards the Hotel, we found there was also a Lidl, and another Tesco, which looked a bit larger than the one we had bought our food from. When we got to the B&B I copied across the day's photos and sorted the panos using Lightroom (trial) as Mauser's laptop doesn't have RAW preview support in Windows Explorer. Then we went to bed.

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