Day 15 of travel, but day 1 of Scotland! Flew in from Iceland this morning. Easy flight on Easy Jet. Talked a little politics with some Scottish girls who were in line with me. I restored their faith in
America Americans (you’re welcome, America). They said they were always scared to talk to Americans, because they weren’t sure who supports Trump. I informed them that Trump supporters aren’t traveling the world with a backpack, so if they saw one of us traveling, they were pretty safe! 😛
Landed in Edinburgh, breezed through immigration. Customs was just waving everyone through. Got out into the exit area, and stopped into a little store for a bottle of OJ because I a) needed some sustenance (I’d only had a pepperoni stick and a granola bar all day) and b) I needed change for the bus so I had to break my £5 bill. Buses only take exact change, and I needed £1.60. Cracked open google maps, and it said to take the Airlink 100 to Princes St, then the city bus 31/37 (I think that was it) to St. Patrick’s Square. How easy is that?! Went up to the counter. The price on Airlink was $6 one way or $10 roundtrip. Roundtrip, please, no brainer! The (very friendly and chatty!) man charged my card and handed me it and the receipt. I asked if this is what I showed to the driver. He said no! He forgot to give me my ticket!! People, never assume, always double check, don’t be afraid to ask questions!! Started walking toward the bus, looked at my ticket. It said one way! Hmmmmmm. I could have sworn I said roundtrip…. Looked at my receipt. £7.50. Went back to the window. He was helping someone else, but smiled at me, so I told him the problem. He handed me a new ticket. People, never assume, always double check, don’t be afraid to ask questions!! 🙂
As I mentioned, I flew in from Iceland. It’s not called that because of its balmy weather…I was in hiking pants with ski pants over them, a thermal shirt, and knee high smart wool socks. Excellent Iceland attire. Death by sweatication Edinburgh attire! It was HOT! Now, let me clarify hot….it was about 16C (61F). At home in Los Angeles, that is known as “9 degrees below 0”, because 70F is my 0, and below that, I’m cold and bundled up in sweats. I guess I acclimatized to Iceland, because I was DYING!!!!! I sat down on the bus. I seriously couldn’t take it, and told the lady next to me, “I swear I’m not a weirdo, but I HAVE to take my pants off!!”. She (and her family behind her) laughed. As I stripped, I told them I just flew in from Iceland. They had, too! So at least they understood. 🙂
The bus drove along gorgeous streets lined with old homes. There were amazing cathedrals that looked like they were built a zillion years ago. Got off the bus at Princes St. and WOW!! Everywhere you looked was some old, medieval looking AMAZING building or castle or statue or cathedral or SOMETHING! I was in love! This is Europe “proper”!! Iceland, I love you and this is NOT a diss, but you are more Europe “adjacent”! 😉 Iceland exudes nature. Edinburgh exudes history. And I love both. I’ve been to several major European cities in the past couple of years- Paris, London, Brussels, Hamburg, Rome, Florence, Stockholm….now, we have to take Paris out of the lineup, because, well, I teach French History and have a passion for “my” French kings, so it would be treasonous for a good royalist like me to compare Paris to any other city. 😉 However, of the rest of them, Edinburgh (at least what I’ve seen from the bus so far) is the most gorgeous! I literally couldn’t stop smiling. Until I walked to my connection bus stop and stood there. And stood there. And stood there…I finally looked up at the little electronic sign and it said “Buses Diverted”. WHAT?! I texted my airbnb host. So apparently there is a huge women’s march going on to celebrate 100 years of having the right to vote, and a ton of roads are closed. I googled the walk. One mile. With a 25lb pack. Uphill. The bright side? I could see some of this beautiful city! (Old me would have cussed, thrown myself on the sidewalk, and had more than a wee temper tantrum…FYI: My goal is to work the word wee at least once into every blog post. 😜).
Oh, but there was a brighter side! I heard bagpipes! Say what?? BAGPIPES!!! They were getting louder as I walked. I was grinning like a cheshire cat! Speaking of which, I saw the damn cutest Alice in Wonderland dress in the window of Cath Kidston on Princes St…thinking hard about it… Anyway, then, I saw it. A huge RIVER of women, winding down the road, holding signs, singing, laughing. It was awesome! By the time I got to the road they were marching on, the bagpipes had passed, so I didn’t see them. But oh, what a sight!! I fell even more in love with the city! Fortunately, my walking route followed the march route precisely. Kept me entertained and my mind off the hill I was climbing with the backpack. Seriously, every corner I turned was a new photo op of some AMAZING building. But I’ll have time for that next week. For now, gotta put this pack down!
By the time I reached the Airbnb I was sweating like an Icelander at the equator!! The lady let me in and she is SO NICE!! She poured me a glass of ice water, and we talked about the topic of the day apparently….politics. Guys, it’s on everyone’s mind. Seriously. (This is the day Trump dissed the G7). She showed me my cozy little room and told me where the grocery store was. Perfect, because I had to shop for my 5 day bus tour that starts tomorrow. If you’ve read any of my previous blogs, you know I ain’t about to be eating out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day for 5 days! Emptied my day pack, grabbed my cloth bag, and headed off to Tesco. FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD!! AT SUPER CHEAP PRICES!! And I can read what it all is!! 🙂 Of course, after being in Iceland, EVERYTHING is super cheap!! Got all of the things I needed, plus a little meal to heat up for tonight. But food is one thing…drink is another entirely. Especially when that drink is my beloved Diet Dr. Pepper!! And they have it!! In a 6 pack!! And it’s only $4.75 (which is still more than the price I pay for a case of 12 at home, but I’ll take it!)!! That would buy me exactly 1 a half Dr. Peppers in Iceland… Grand total for all of my groceries which should last me most of the next 5 days and is far more varied than what I’ve been eating? $27. 🙂 BTW, £1= about $1.30
Happy with my purchases, I came back to the bnb, ate, drank a well deserved Dr. Pepper, took a shower, and settled in for the evening. Tomorrow, at 8am, I embark on a 5 day bus tour of the Scottish Highlands!!