I had seen photos of Edinburgh, but I never expected to make it out of a train station and be confronted with the most epic city I have ever seen. Even to this day I don’t know of another city that has taken my breath away or surprised me in such a matter. To this day, I still claim the city as my favorite in the world and when I ever get the chance, I return.
Edinburgh first 24hours!
Thursday April 29th 2010
Many of you I know are patiently waiting this installment which I am about to present to you, so here goes. I arrive in Scotland around 6pm last night and I mean I crossed the border via train, at this time. It was the most beautiful ride through the country going mainly along the sea coast seeing plenty a green field, sheep and ocean cliffs. I was just grinning the whole way and about cried when I realized I had made it to Scotland, where really a large chunk of my family heritage is from. I arrived in Edinburgh about half an hour later and just from the moment I left the station I was completely engulfed in joy at the sights all around me! This was AMAZING yea I knew it was mostly all medieval city but I didn’t quite realize how massive, dark and beautiful it truly was. I theory it would be great to clean up all the soot on the buildings but I truly think this was take away how great these old giants are! Now I was then required to find my hostel, and according to the website it was all uphill now being in England and realizing what their “hills” were I thought no problem! These people don’t know what a hill is, send them to Colorado and then they’ll learn. Well life has a way of putting one in their place and this happened to me last night! In Scotland when they say hill they actually mean hill, not glorified bump! So here I go with about 60-70 pounds of my luggage (I got a little book crazy) up these hills about half a mile about ready to keel over! I just had to be stubborn and not pay the 5 quid to take a taxi the half a mile or so oh no I had to walk! However it was probably the most beautiful and exhausting uphill walk of my life and though I had to stop about 4 times to breath I could really take in this city and just grin at the thought of being in Scotland, with men in their kilts, bagpipe music playing in the shop and everyone so friendly and helpful! Well I finally made it to the “Castle Rock Hostel” and was kindly greeted by the girl at the front desk and then told about the hostel policies, signed the guest registry, payed for my next three nights and then lugged my junk to my upstairs room. Now even though this is not as fancy of a hostel or even though it’s more of a party hostel I must say that I am really enjoying it a bit more, it’s not as cold and empty. The rooms are single sex which is a plus and they’re warmer and roomier! Along with a good locker and key and the views are even more spectacular. Literally from the front door is the castle, I am right at the very base of it! I am not even a block from the royal mile and it’s so close to everything it’s not really even a ten minute walk to any of the museums, clubs, restaurants etc. Anyway, last night after the climb I was beat so it was a bed early and shower night.
This morning I awoke to birds singing and bagpipes! So, I ended up fully realizing from the get go I was in SCOTLAND! I slept in a bit and took it slow this morning to go out and see things I was too tired to care that much about rushing. I did get out the door about half past ten and went to the writers museum just a block up the hill from the hostel. The museum was in an old house from the 17th century focusing strongly on Robert Burns, Walter Scott, and Robert Louis Stevenson. It was a small museum but free and very well done with artifacts, criticisms and biographical information on various authors. Probably the coolest part was that on Robert Burns where they had a soundtrack playing of some of his poems and letters. The voice actor was magnificent and it almost made me weep at the beauty of his written word. In the Robert Louis Stevenson I had a nice short chat with a gentleman that is really a Stevenson buff! He went on and on about him and mentioned he had been to Colorado to lecture after asking about where I was from. He also suggested what to start with reading on him, Treasure Island just had to be the first!
After the writers museum I decided to check out the free Museum of Scotland, which held some great exhibits on Scottish life and times, I learned a bit more on Mary Stewart (Queen of Scots and her son James the VI of Scotland or James I of England. I learned that she was a child when inheriting the thrown and that French was her first and fluent language being she married into the French court and truly grew up there. Then she was more or less booted off the thrown when her baby son, James, was only 13 months old. Another thing I learned was that many of the Scottish working class were kicked out of their homes due to a rise of wealthy landowners converting their land into sheep farms. Thus, rising to a rise in Scots immigrating to North America. However the gem of the museum had to be the roof top terrace with 360 degree views of the city and sea! It was really spectacular, beautiful, exciting, windy and just great! Oh and to mention it all photos of me are a bit messy, I am waging a war with my hair due to humidity and wind, I have yet to figure out a means to cope properly and didn’t have a problem until getting to England!
After this museum I went to find the Surgeon’s Hall Museum attached to the Surgeon’s University of Scotland and is actually the oldest Surgeon’s College in the world, which the man selling tickets had to mention first off! So I went in and visited some rather gruesome, and fascinating items in this museum! They had baby skeletons to pickled gangrene feet and fingers; then an exhibit on A. Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes influence and then on dentistry and dentists. Types of preservation to the grave robbers it was truly a great museum for a good price of only 3pound for the student rate. Though a little grotesque with somethings for example pickled leg and arm amputations due to WWI bullet wounds and skin cancers it was really really intriguing! A weird infatuation not for the weak stomached. Oh and the cranial deformations were pretty cool! Though tragically sad for those that had to suffer with it, though it really does broaden your knowledge on medicine through the ages, and various medical maladies!
As the museum day drew to an end I headed pack to the hostel stopping at a nice cafe, with a feel of that a bit of Montague’s Parlour back home which I really miss. Though it had 80’s hits playing and had a rustic pine design rather than Victorian. I sat for about an hour reading a couple if free independent papers and getting an idea on night life here which I plan to check out in the next couple of hours!
I am currently sitting in one of the three or so lounges in the hostel and someone is playing some great drum music and looking at the castle walls right out the window. I think some food and a nap are in order then hitting the night life! So ta-ta for now, facebook sucks, as always and is doing maintenance on photo up loader so I hope to catch up on that in the next few days!
Peace and Love,