The anti climax of 2006.
Trip Start Sep 12, 2006
100Trip End Sep 08, 2008
I departed Krakow's small, cluttered and slightly disorganised airport on the morning of the 28th and arrived at Glasgow's Prestwick airport soon after 1pm. It was a 30 minute train journey to Glasgow Central, and I was pleasantly surprised with what I saw at the train station - the sea! I hadn't seen it since I left Tasmania almost four months earlier. By the time I arrived in Glasgow it was raining quite heavily, so I abandoned my idea of having a look around and getting some lunch in favour of getting the next bus straight to Edinburgh
As my bus rolled into Edinburgh, I was particularly impressed with the site of Edinburgh Castle lit up on the hill, and that was my first stop the next morning. Dom and Anna both had to work all day, so I had a few hours of sightseeing to do on my own. I decided against paying the £10 entry on my first day, instead opting to wander around the city to get my bearings. It was a pretty dull grey day, but Edinburgh's famous 'Royal Mile' was still quite impressive. This is one of the oldest streets in the city, and ran from the castle down the huge sloping rock to the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
Upon reaching the Palace I was just a hundred metres from the base of the Salisbury Crags and Arthur's Seat, 251m high, and providing what I'm sure was the best view of Edinburgh. It was windy, and the grey clouds looked threatening, but I decided to climb the hill nonetheless. It took a little longer than expected, and it also felt quite odd, walking up a muddy trail to the summit of quite a large hill in the centre of the city. The bare slopes were exactly what I was hoping to see in Scotland, and the view over the city was quite spectacular
The sun was shining the following day, and the five of us went for a leisurely stroll around the city. I retook most of my photos of the Royal Mile, and we walked up nearby Carlton Hill, with its unfinished version of the Acropolis on the summit. I had come here the previous day, but the views were much better on this occasion. We continued on through the new, Georgian part of the city before getting a beer and some burgers in a small pub. It was the best veggie burger and chips I'd had since I'd left Australia. For some reason the Poles tend to prefer small oily French fries to big steak fries. It was a great lunch! Later on that evening we had a fantastic Indian meal before seeing some of the street performances and fireworks on George Street. The food was certainly a welcome change from pierogi and zapiekankas.
Realising it would probably be my last chance, I rose early on the last day of the year and made my way back to Edinburgh's Castle
Unfortunately, that big night wasn't to be. At 7pm we saw that the New Year's celebrations in Glasgow, Stirling and Newcastle had all been cancelled, but Edinburgh was still going ahead. We weren't so confident though. It was blowing a gale and the rain was almost horizontal. Dom, Anna and I decided to make for a small pub between their apartment and the centre, where the Hogmanay celebrations were to take place. Sometime around 9pm Anna's friends Simon and Ella messaged to say that everything had been cancelled. We were still reluctant to believe the bad news, and opted instead to have another Staropramen. Soon after, Anna got another message, this time from a Hogmanay info line she subscribed to officially informing us that the festival was cancelled
We had a pretty leisurely morning back in the apartment, but once the rain cleared Anna and I decided to go for a walk to get some fresh air. Simon and Ella had left for London and Dom was glued to the Simpsons, so the two of us spent a few hours walking through the city, past the castle and gardens, to the old Dean Bridge and then along the water of Leith, past Haymarket and back home
Despite the bad weather, I still had a fantastic time in Edinburgh. Spending new years with some friends from home was great, but the city itself exceeded all my expectations. I'd always had some interest in Scotland's history, and what I really loved about the place was that you could feel it everywhere you went. Even though there were thousands of tourists, I still felt the character of the place, and I pencilled it in as a very possible venue for summer work in 2007.