14 May 2014: Edinburgh

Edinburgh, from Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh, from Edinburgh Castle

Victoria Street in Edinburgh

Victoria Street in Edinburgh

View from Edinburgh Castle

View from Edinburgh Castle

Overlooking Scotland from Wallace Monument

Overlooking Scotland from Wallace Monument

Three Bridges in Edinburgh

Three Bridges in Edinburgh

I’m always early. I ended up sitting at the airport for what seemed like a very long time because of a delay and an unnecessary need to awake well before a 4:45am alarm. I took two buses to Stansted, flew a lowcost airline and arrived in Edinburgh before lunch.

I checked in to the hostel, took my bunk in a room of ten and closed my eyes for fifteen sweet minutes. Then it’s right back to the grind because I’ll sleep when I’m home (though I don’t believe this either). I walked around and bought a Scottish Pie from Piemaster, though I was left a little disappointed. The minced beef texture and taste wasn’t for me. I was hoping this cheap shop would be my go-to this week, but looks like I’ll be hopping about, as I should. I went for a walk in a little meadow, sat to watch a game that was absolutely foreign to me and then stopped by Mum’s. I had scouted this homey dinner out earlier and knew I should return for dessert. With dinner ripping a £1.15 hole in the pocket, I figured I could splurge for Treacle and Date Pudding. I wasn’t intending on this one actually, but she swore by it and then I found myself counting my meals left here (precisely four) and how many of them can be this pudding (approximately six…).

I went on a guided tour of the Highlands the following morning. We visited bridges, followed by several lochs, the Wallace Monument, castles (Stirling and Duome), and the Katrine Loch. Scotland is incredible. There’s a lot of green and a lot of rolling hills with sheep (Scotland has a 1:40 ratio for people to sheep). I got to hike a bit, but most importantly, I got to feed a hairy coo. There was a week-old coo calf that stole my heart too. They’re like gentle, shaggy Longhorns, so I’m in. It was all a lot of fun, but sitting on a bus all day isn’t exactly my kind of adventure.

I woke up early to climb Arthur’s Seat the next morning. I started by Holyrood Palace, the Queen’s residence in Scotland, and I climbed up a fairly steep path to the top of Arthur’s Seat. The summit sits 822 feet above the city level so the panoramic views kept me there for almost two hours. Some choir class also sang Lion King for me at the peak so that was nice. I took a different route down and ended up climbing up Salisbury Crags as well.

After descending, I grabbed a pork roll from the aptly named shop Oink. The roll had a sage and onion stuffing with an apple chutney sauce and somehow all that came together to remind me of Thanksgiving leftover’s from Grandma Starr’s. That was a happy little surprise. I spent the rest of the afternoon unsuccessfully finding gifts and ended up eating Haggis fritters at Maggie Dicksons on Greenmarket. Haggis is one of those things that sounds absolutely revolting and will make you question your stomach’s strength, but I’m all about trying local fare so I went for it. It was tasty, but if I wasn’t to have it for a few years, I probably wouldn’t cry. I didn’t really enjoy my breath smelling of another’s intestines afterwards.

I didn’t think I’d get along with kilts, bagpipes and Braveheart so well, but it all seems just about right. Except the Scottish accent that twists English into some completely indecipherable sounds and leaves me unable to do anything but shake my head in various directions. But aye, I’ll be back for you someday, Scotland. After another delayed flight, I made it to bed in London by 2am.

Scotland's Bluebells remind me of home a bit

Scotland’s Bluebells remind me of home a bit

Monty Python's Duome Castle

Monty Python’s Duome Castle

Hairy Coo in the Highlands

Hairy Coo in the Highlands

Hairy Coo in the Highlands

Hairy Coo in the Highlands

Mama Coo and her hairy little week old calf

Mama Coo and her hairy little week old calf

Baby coo, a week old and still blind

Baby coo, a week old and still blind

Loch Katrine

Loch Katrine

Lock Katrine

Lock Katrine

Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh

Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh

Arthur's Seat

Arthur’s Seat

View from Salisbury Crag near Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh

View from Salisbury Crag near Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh

The summit of Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh

The summit of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh

From Arthur's Seat

From Arthur’s Seat

Pano of the view from Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh

Pano of the view from Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh

View from Salisbury Crag over Edinburgh

View from Salisbury Crag over Edinburgh

Trail Map for Arthur's Seat

Trail Map for Arthur’s Seat

From Arthur's Seat

From Arthur’s Seat

Oink

Oink

Haggis Fritters!

Haggis Fritters!

Haggis!

Haggis!

Treacle and Date Pudding from Mum's

Treacle and Date Pudding from Mum’s

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