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Edinburgh Blues

Last day in Edinburgh. Tomorrow morning, I fly out at 9am… per Edinburgh Airport, that means I should be there at 6am… ouch… So, today needs to have an early conclusion so I can be done packing and all that fun stuff. I left with a 32 pound backpack, and I don’t think I’ve added enough to it that I should worry, but keep your fingers crossed none-the-less.

Forgotten Tidbit

And I really should kick myself for this one, but I literally had less that two minutes of time left on here (and the shop was closing) last night, so I was rushed. On the last full day of the backpacker tour, one of our stops was to Loch Ness. Actually, Fort Augustus is on the Caledonian canal and has a view of the Loch as well. But near sunset, we actually stopped at the infamous home of Nessie. If nothing else, I think I got some rocking pictures of the sun setting on the Loch. No Nessie sightings despite Rab’s Nessie chant and dance that he had us do. I look forward to some of the pictures that were taken of that. Had to be a sight. I had never really read up on Nessie, but apparently there’s actually over a thousand years of history of sightings and sightings at other Lochs. Rab left it up to us what we wanted to believe about the Beastie, but he said that he’d been on boats that had sonar sightings of something down there.

Back In Edinburgh Again, And I feel Fine…

Sort of anyway… The night I got back I was fighting off a cold and taking my Airborne. We had several sick people on the bus by the time it was done. And I was right there at the end. Cough, sinus drip… yum… First night in, I slept, and I slept LATE…

My first day back, I decided to get out of town again. I had some intentions to take a train up to St. Andrews, but I started looking at the schedules. It’s a train and a bus. The train alone takes two hours. You can just do a bus, but that’s three hours… I didn’t want to kill that much of a day on a return trip. St. Andrews will have to wait. So I still wanted to see the coast, and I took a train to North Berwick, a little seaside village half an hour from Edinburgh via train. Even in the off-season, quite picturesque. I can imagine that during the summer, it’s really something. Like most places around here, it has history going back thousands of years. It used to be, ironically, a stop over for pilgrams on their way to St. Andrews. Go figure!

I got some beach shots, wiggled my fingers in the North Sea (hope you didn’t think I’d take my shoes off and wade!). And I wandered around town. Had some chips for lunch and sat and watched the waves break. Real sleepy place in winter, but I suspect in summer a different manner. Almost the whole stretch of houses that faced the water had rental signs in them for holiday-seekers and there are multiple golf courses around it.

My guidebook indicated that there was a castle east of town, Tantallon, built in 1358 by the Douglas Family. Book said it was three miles… hmmm.. no signs… I could do that in an hour easily… but not without some idea where I was going. Found a bus stop and the castle was one of the stops – problem solved! Sort of…

The bus was literally waiting there, so I hoped on. The castle wasn’t far off, but civilization died off rapidly and we were shortly in idle farm fields. Once there, I checked out the castle for a couple of hours. I literally climbed up every wall that was allowed and wandered around looking at the ocean views (the castle is built with two sides facing out and the other two were left open because they are sheer cliff drops). Not the most remarkable place I’d visited, but I was literally the only person there, so it was nice not being buffetted about by crowds for a change, hence the two hours.

Finally done, I got my prerequisite fridge magnet and asked the curator when the next bus was… just missed it… Then he looked at his watch again and said maybe not, if I hurried. I had to have missed it. I had a view of the road the whole time I was walking down from the little visitor office and never saw one. I waited by the side of the road for another 20 minutes before deciding I’d rather just walk. It was 3pm. The sun is down at 4:30pm and I wanted to be back in town before that happened. And sure, enough hoofing it along the little paved path on the roadside, I was back into town just as dusk hit. I did a little shopping and hopped the train back here to Edinburgh.

A little TV and then bed… yawwwnnn!!

Last Day Wandering

Last day can only be described as a ramble. I had thought about going down to Leith Docks to the shopping centre there or to see the Queen’s old yacht, Britania. In the end, I just wandered around and did some shopping and took some photos in between the dark clouds (partially sunny today with ocassional showers). I found the local Forbidden Planet, and got some Doctor Who stuff (yes, it was time to let my geek flag fly – oh wait, I did that when I wore my Batman t-shirt on day 4 of the backpacker trip). Also checked out the graveyard at St Cuthbert’s, an 18th century church. This place has a tower left from the days when they had to guard against body snatchers (taken and sold to the local medical school). This is also where I managed to take a spill on some mossy damp steps. Glad to say that it was just my dignity and not my body or camera that was injured in the fall.

Dropped back by the room and dumped the purchases I’d made, including some CD’s for some Brit music that I won’t really get to listen to until I’m home (wahhhh!!). One was a CD for a Scots band, The Fratellis, that was playing as one of the acts at Hogmanay and I had intentions of hearing them, but of course that didn’t pan out The other, The Automatic, I heard a song of theirs on the radio several times while here. Listened to enough of both albums to be sure I’d like them.

After that a ramble up to Edinburgh castle for some dusk photos, and I think I got in some good ones. Very dramatic sky this evening, clouds and the last remnants of the sun before setting. Plus the castle lights were already on. The only thing left on my plate is dinner, no pun intended. After that, packing and early to bed. I’d thought about a museum nearby that has late hours on Tuesdays, but I think it’s better to end today on this note before I wear myself out. I’m sure I’ll be back again someday. And tomorrow will be a long day. Flight to Newark and then to Atlanta… wheee!

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