Edinburgh... The "Jewel" of Scotland

Trip Start Aug 12, 2008
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Trip End Dec 20, 2008


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Flag of United Kingdom  , Scotland,
Saturday, September 6, 2008

When I woke up in London, the first thing I did was go and eat. These free continental breakfasts are great! I know my mother would say I'm just being cheap, but in reality, they really fill me up! After toast and cereal and OJ, I feel really full... I almost don't need to eat for the rest of the day... except to just try some of the good local eatings. It turns out that Victoria Bus Terminal was alot farther than I thought so I was forced to use the Tube at rush hour. And I thought Toronto was bad. As it turns out, I ended up face to face with a nice middle aged lady. She was from Australia, but had been living in London for some time. She knew all about Banff because she had been there before. Those darn travelling Aussies go everywhere! I got off, and of course, had rushed myself just so that I could sit for an hour in the bus terminal. The bus ride wasnt half as bad as I was expecting. I guess all the greyhounding and international flights only make it that much easier to get use to 10 hour bus rides. When I got off at St. Andrews Square, the first thing I did was check my trusty map book. Great. The hostels location was shown by an arrow pointing northwest off the map. I decided to try and walk and get directions from the locals. And here within lies the problem. I dont mind walking. I think that it is one of the best things to do traveling. Now days, there are just to many people that want to hop on a 5 pound bus ride rather than walk. They get to their destination, see the touristy sites and go back to their hostels/hotels and do it again in the morning. I like walking because it gets you lost... you are forced to ask people where you are, start small talk, and many times you end up in a place you had no intention of going but is probably better than the place you where going. Plus you get the added bonus of getting away from the crowds. But... when its 9pm and its starting to rain, walking is probably not the smartest thing. I decided to walk all the way back to the city center and get a cab at Waverley Station. Lucky I did. It turns out its a 15 minute cab ride. From this morning, I know that it is over an hour walk. That night I watch the end of the transporter with some people, but it was kind of akward in the hostel because there was some extremely loud and drunk people. It sounded like they were having fun. I was sort of jealous, but it was not time to go make drunk friends. After that I sat in the TV room, and soon enough some Spainish tourist started talking to me. We started talking about smiles and hugs (turns out they started the free hug movement on facebook!), how different Canada is from Scotland, Languages, Americans, and potential Spanish towns to visit. It was really awesome because they were doing there best to talk English and I felt like they really learned alot! I only wish I could have learned some Spanish. We soon had to go our own ways, because it was 1am. We promised to eat breakfast together, but somehow things usually dont work out that way. We are planning on watching Braveheart tonight. I walked all the way to downtown (as said before) because I had no cash, and didnt want to pay the 11 pound fare again (22 dollars!). I soon realized that travelers checks are not as widely cashable as they make you think. Finally I got them cashed at a travel agency with lots of pretty ladies... It was a good time. The rest of the day I spent walking down the streets. I went to the Scotland art museum and was utterly bored. I really have nothing against art, but it just isnt my thing. There were paintings by Manet, Van Gogh, and many other Impressionists, but I just find art isnt my forte... However, that was soon followed by the Money Museum. This one was free, and it was darn interesting. It talked about the central bank on the mound, which was created from the excavations from the rest of the town, had a display with cancelled 20 pound bills that equalled a million pounds, historical forgery and the lives of bank employees. I was in love. Its crazy the presses that they use to print money. They are so detailed. I ate some beef curry at a place called the Mosque Kitchen, which was in this cool little courtyard, and walked around taking pictures. I came back to the hostel early, so I could wash cloths, buy some hair gel (my hair is getting worked over by this wind!), and go on the internet. I'm thinking I'll hit the hot tub or the gym today. Just some relaxation before I really have to go do some touristy stuff. Im already feeling comforatable with this town and its people. And its only been a few days. The castle is amazing. Im hoping to go on a tour of it along with the haunted tour. Edinburgh is suppose to be one of the most haunted cities in the world. Theres even an area called Portobello. Interesting....
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