11:51 AM, 8/31/06
Nothing quite so poetic to write today (as opposed to yesterday’s post). Things have been pretty uneventful here in Edinburgh. I’m trying to figure out what the heck I’m going to do with myself. But more on that later.
After a beautiful morning watching the sun rise over Edinburgh, I settled in at a coffee shop (the Elephant place I mentioned earlier) for some writing. Eventually I got geared up to be a tourist again (I’ve been enjoying a bit of R&R time here in Edinburgh while I work on my novel and write emails/blogs). In the early afternoon I visited Edinburgh Castle. It was like 10 quid to get in (about 20 bucks), and I must say, it wasn’t worth it. I enjoyed walking around the castle, strolling along the parapets and reading the history of the castle, but as far as castles go—a bit disappointing. I’m not sure what I expected, perhaps something a little more medieval, more archaic. Instead, Edinburgh Castle had a whiskey bar, a restaurant, and at least three gift shops that I counted. It’s real difficult to take in the grandeur of history when there’s signs pointing to the gift shops at every corner.
The castle did have some interesting displays, telling how it had been used as a prison to house prisoners of war, and how they buried the crown jewels of Scotland during World War II. There was a royal hall that was quite beautiful, lined with all manner of weapons, and then the crown jewels were quite nice. In the end though, I was expecting more. I’m not really sure what I was expecting, being that it’s a castle in the middle of the city…that’ll teach me to have high expectations.
With the rest of my afternoon, I visited the Royal Museum of Scotland (mostly because it was free!). Free is always good when backpacking. After the small fortune I spent in Ireland and London, I think I’m trying to recover a bit while I’m here in Edinburgh (not that it helps when you’re buying pretty girls drinks ☺, ah well, what can I say—). The Royal Museum was interesting, although much like any other general kind of museum. It had the same kind of stuff that I saw in the museums in Sydney. They had a fantastic insect collection with all manner of butterflies, as well as some other cool natural histories displays. After walking around Edinburgh Castle though, my knees were feeling a bit wobbly so I didn’t end up staying at the museum too long. Instead, I returned—where else—but to a coffee shop. I did some work on my novel and got to talking with a girl from Ireland who was over here for about a year. She gave me some good tips on the city before I left to return to the hostel.
Back at the hostel, I made a sad attempt at cooking. Now, I’m not that bad of cook, but when you have limited resources (and Italians and French cooking all around you), it becomes something of a shameful affair. Dinner quickly transitioned into drinking a bottle of red wine, which I took over to a group of fellow travelers and joined in conversation. The crowd was all English speakers, a fellow from Sydney named David, a girl from Melbourne (Australia) named Kim, a Canadian from somewhere in Alberta named Christy, and a kiwi (New Zealand), by the name of Jess. I spent most of the time talking to David and Jess. Dave gave me some good suggestions on Scotland, highly suggesting I take a tour up to the highlands. (Thus some of my ambivalence right now). I talked with Jess about New Zealand, recalling fondly my time traveling there. She was from Christchurch, a few hours north of Dunedin, the city I was studying in. Soon the bottle of wine ran short and I fell back on some of the Murphy’s Irish Stout that I’d bought the day before. Things kind of wrapped up and people dissolved away by about midnight. I made a glorious discovery though—or rather, Christy told me—the hostel I’d been staying at offered free internet! And here I’d been paying one quid every time I wanted to get online. Ah well, live and learn.
All-in-all, a pretty uneventful day. The most remarkable thing came the following morning, when I woke up and discovered that, in fact, I wasn’t hungover, as I suspected I would be from ¾ a bottle of wine and two pints of beer. I checked out of the Castle Rock hostel, but that’s not to say I won’t check back in. I’m just going to hover around the city for the afternoon, trying to decide what to do, waiting for fate or some equally illusory thing to intervene and take me one way or another.
Tags: Castle, cooking, Edinburgh, Europe, Hostel, Scotland, Travel