Into the Land of Scots!
Edinburgh Travel Blog› entry 9 of 49 › view all entries
December 27th, 2007 – by: TRE69
After breakfast, I gathered up my belongings, checked out, and stowed my rollie bag at the hostel's secure baggage storage.
I wandered around the exteriors of the Middle and Upper Wards taking in the views and the architecture way too much that I only had a short time to look at the exhibits in the Royal Palace and Crown Room and a very brief gander inside the Scottish National War Memorial.
After grabbing my gear from smartcityhostel, I walked down Cockburn Street (the street I should have walked up last night), across Waverly Bridge, past Princes Street, past St. Andrew Bus Station, and onto Dublin Street. I walked up and down Dublin Street looking for 13A which was the number I had jotted down before leaving LA. No 13A in sight...so I rang the door bell for 13 thinking that 13A may be inside...no answer! I was getting irritated, cold, and tired. Eventually a lovely middle aged woman came to my aid asking what address I was looking for. I told her 13A at which she gave me this puzzled look. She replied that she worked at 13 and has never seen a 13A.
30A was another block or so down the street. So as I walked I paid close attention to the numbers...still no 30A! I went up and down both sides of the block a couple of times and I did not see 30A. Perhaps it was the fatigue, my earlier frazzlement, or the bone chilling wind freezing my contacts rendering me temporarily blind that caused me to not see this tiny laminated sign on a wrought-iron gate door saying "30A Dublin Street.
Steve, the co-owner, opened the door. I thought Mar would be there at the hostel already but apparently she was delayed somewhere on her way from Hawaii. Steve led me through the hostel, which in actuality is his home, to the living room/kitchen/dining area. It was deliciously warm inside...a wonderful respite from the streets of Edinburgh!
After I had a chance to rest my weary self on the comfy couch and get refreshed with a cup of tea, I asked Steve if he can recommend a place nearby to grab a quick bite as well as a grocery store. He proceeded to give me in depth directions and a map.
We both were hungry so we went out exploring New Town. We eventually found a tiny soup and sandwich shop which now for the life of me I can't remember the name of but the soups were really tasty and gave us energy to go back towards St. Andrews Bus Station where the nearest grocery store was located. We bought a few groceries just enough for tonight's dinner and tomorrow's breakfast, beverages, and snacks! It was in this grocery store that Mar introduced IRN-BRU to me.
After falling asleep to the sound of rain against the window pane of our hostel room, I awoke to almost darkness. Mar was still napping so I cooked our dinner of fresh ravioli with tomato and meat sauce unfortunately not from scratch but from a single portion packet from Heinz...it actually tasted good...surprising right?...plus it was economical.
Even though the hostel hosts a free nightly pub crawl Mar and I were not in the mood to get wasted especially since we had to wake up early the next morning. Besides, Mar and I had an errand to run...to pick up our passes for Hogmanay Street Party and Céilidh in the Gardens at the will call booth in Princes Street Gardens.
While Mar and I were getting ready to head out, another person checked into the hostel.
We casually strolled over to Princes Street Gardens which was decked out in twinkling Christmas lights, neon lights from carnival rides and game and food booths, and flood lights illuminating the outdoor ice rink. It was so festive out that night. Since we napped earlier, Mar and I had energy to burn so we continued further into Old Town past the cafe where J.K. Rowlings wrote the famed Harry Potter book series. The cold night air was chilling us to the core so we ducked into Sandy Bell's Pub. Sandy Bell's Pub was highlighted on the Travel Channel by Samantha Brown. I was hoping we would get to hear some traditional Scottish music performed by the locals but unfortunately it was too early. So Mar got a beer while I got my first taste of Scotch Whisky, a dram of Macallen.
We headed back towards New Town when my cousin had the bright idea of climbing up Calton Hill. The climb up was made difficult due to the lack of bright lighting around the stairway/paved path to the hill's summit. From atop the hill though, the view of Princes Street all aglow was breath taking even in the frigid night air! We didn't hang out at Calton Hill too long because the warmth from our earlier consumption of alcohol was beginning to wear off. So we head back to the hostel for rest, relaxation, recuperation, and some hot tea!
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