Bonny Scotland!

Edinburgh Travel Blog

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My new career

Ok, I've been getting way too much feedback that I'm too positive and cheesy in my blogs.  Deal with it!!  I'm still absolutely loving it. 

Dim and I arrived on Monday into Glasgow and caught a taxi to the place that Steff had booked for us in Glasgow - really nice!  We met up with him in a really cool bar in Glasgow - as I walked in, knew I'd like it.  It was an old art deco style place with venetian blinds, red lighting (I'm making it sound kinda seedy but it wasnt) and they were playing Nouvelle Vague to boot.  It really doesnt get much better than that.  Oh, but it did.  We gave them our patronage for a few hours and were well happy by then.

Carding a local
  I was drinking Stella (which is a bit of a thugs beer here apparently) and it was on tap.  Asked if I could pour my own and of course the scottish lad was more than obliging.  I got to pour my first pub beer (not doing a uni degree, I guess deprived me of this skill) and then I started to get orders.  A young guy asked me to get him a JD & coke - of course I had to card him and he couldn't show me any id - no drink for you, young man.  May have found a new career!!

The next day, we took the train to Dumfries which was just over an hour and a half.  Russ told us to go to the pub there - The Waverly Hotel.  Another typical pub in the pouring rain!  Seen a lot of that.

Another pub in the rain...
  Russ met us there and it was the first time that Russ, Steff, Dim and I had all been together since my wedding in '95.  A long time.  We drove about 20 mins to Comlongan Castle which was everything a castle should be (sorry Lauren, no King and Queen though here).  There were a few weddings on so it was a good happy atmosphere all round.  Our room was superb - the full old fashioned four poster bed (for Dim and I to share - and yes she did try it on again) and a rollaway for Steff.  We overlooked the pond and beautiful gardens and in the distance were cows grazing in the fields.  It was stunningly gorgeous!!  We had a quick wonder around and then headed in to get ready for the night.  We met downstairs for pre wedding drinks and then the festivities began.
Our gorgeous room
 

Kari looked gorgeous!!  A beautiful blue/green dress to highlight the colours in Russ' kilt.  They had a lovely celtic ceremony held within a quiet room in the back of the castle complete with an inside water well and candles surrounding it.  A perfect ceremony.  We were led around by the celebrant (in scottish gear) and the bagpipe player (rather cute!!).  Have found that I actually like the bagpipes - I think that must be something that I inherited from my pop, sorry Nan.  The ceremony was perfect in my eyes.  They involved all of their friends and family who were there.  I was shocked (and very nervous) to be called out to tie a piece of tartan around their arms (one of 6 in the ceremony) and then say a few words.

View from our room
  Hey, did you know that that's where the saying 'tie the knot' comes from? 

Afterwards, we had the best meal that we've had all trip - dont worry, photos attached!!  It was great and we finished the night off with a few more drinks in the bar at the castle.  This castle was the real thing - hundreds of years old and, like I said, set on gorgeous grounds.  A perfect spot for a wedding.  Large wooden bannister lined staircases and a knight in shining armour everywhere you look - now that's more like it!  Open fireplaces and, no castle would be complete without it, a ghost.  All in all, a great night - thanks Russ and Kari for the invite and for letting me a part of this special night.

The next day, Tony kindly gave us a lift into Edinburgh.

The castle
  A hilly, cobblestoned town which is spread out over many levels.  With bridges dropping away above 3-4 stories of buildings (hard to describe) it is really set out kinda odd but it works.  We had 2 hostels lined up.  Now, someone once told me that they got to Edinburgh but couldn't stay because all of the hostels were booked out.  You would've thought I'd listen to that, hey, and booked ahead.  Nah, much better to roam the streets with the backpacks and bags till we found our hostel.  Fifth on the list and we were quite happy to take the 10 bed dorm - yes, not happy about that at all but much better than sleeping on the street and, hey, for £13 per night - cheap, cheap.  That's what you get for not booking and coming on the ass end of the Edinburgh tattoo and the fringe.
To prove we were there.

I wont talk too much about the hostel (dont want to bring down the tone of the blog too much) except to say that it stank to high heaven.  Not the whole hostel - just our room.  Luckily we were down the end near the window which stayed open!  It gets chilly at night in Scotland.  There were snorers, farters and (my favourite of all) those who liked to come in at 3am and re-arrange their backpacks - and turn the bloody lights on!!!  Suffice to say I think I'm getting too old for dorm style hostels.  I fancy myself as more a Sheraton type of girl.  Give me a bathroom with little shampoos and conditioners anyday.

We hit Edinburgh the next day to rain.  Getting used to it now, not much you can do about it really.  It doesn't make for great photos and we all know it makes my hair curly (which is much worse) but it kinda suits the place and I dont think it would be the same if it was really hot here.

Back of the castle
  Nice, but not the same.  Our hostel is at the back of Edinburgh castle so we headed up there first thing.  It was £12 to get in and we'd heard from another aussie guy at the hostel that it wasnt worth it and kinda cheesy inside with cafes and stuff.  So we looked around the outside of it and I decided to get bitten by a local - a wasp.  This wont come as any surprise to you, Billy, as bees and wasps have been attracted to me this whole trip.  It hurt!!  Really hurt!!  We're talking muscle spasm hurt.  I grabbed an antihistimine (travel prepared is the moto here) and then we decided to take a load off with the hop on, hop off bus for an hour to let me get over my winging.  The open double decker bus did the trick and showed us all round this great town.
My knight!
 

After that we hit our favourite pub.  A really nice pub with a backpackers menu.  They have spirits for £1.50 and meals for £2.  And, yummy too!  Sorry, for want of showing you pictures of Edinburgh, no pics of these.  After lunch, Steff hit the sack for a nanna nap (not a fan of the 3am re-shuffling of luggage either) and Dim and I took to the Auld Reekie Tour of the underground.  This is a tour run by hard core goths.  Morticia look alikes with piercings everywhere - I'm talking the corset up the back piercings.  Our tour was only an hour long but good value.  She took us ( a small group of about 7 ) down to the levels below the streets of Edinburgh.  We were in the tunnels underground where people used to live.

The ceremony
  We started in a room which told us about forms of torture for people accused of witchcraft.  Scary.  If that wasnt bad enough they went on to talk about how they could accuse kids as young as 5 of witchcraft and had made special torture equipment in a smaller size just for that occasion - not something to tell a homesick mum!!!  On we went to the next vault in this tour.  It was dank, mouldy and dark.  To think that people lived here was awful to imagine.  Especially kids living here - many dying of disease.  That aside, there were really interesting facts about Edinburgh and the history of this town.  We had a little girl of about 18 months on the tour, being carried by mum and dad.  She found the rooms a touch scary (not alone there) and at one stage the tourleader suggested that her dad take her back to the torture room - nice!!  She quickly corrected herself and said 'that didn't come out right'.
After the ceremony

Dinner time and where else to dine but the old faithful.  At such cheap meals, we ate and drank ourselves silly for £9 each.  Being only 4 doors down from the hostel was handy that night.  The alcohol intake didnt really help the sleep though - all of the other people sharing the dorm had the same idea - get drunk and noisy too.  Yay.

So, today we leave Edinburgh - a little sleep deprived but all the more happier for seeing this great town.  It really is a pretty city with loads of history and overly friendly locals - in a good way.  We catch the 3pm train to Glasgow for a night there (and back to my favourite beer pulling pub) before heading out the next day on the 7.30am flight from Glasgow home.  Yep, I love a good 5am checkin.

Remember I mentioned those nice cows grazing in the fields happily...
  Steff and Dim will fly with me to London then head off in a car and explore the Cotswolds as I sleep all the way home.  Gotta say that as joyous a trip as it's been and cramming in as much as we've done - it's been grand and all but I'm missing home now and will be glad to be back. 

Lastly - to Emma, Katie and Nicky - you guys are awesome.  Business Achievers Award winners!!!  What a fantastic surprise.  I got the call from an excited Katie whilst in the car with Tony, Steff and Dim leaving the castle to head for Edinburgh.  I think I hurt everyone's ears.  It was great news and I felt so proud.  Had to wait till we hit the city to celebrate with some half pints (just cant do the fully's) but celebrate I did.

Steff's desert....Mmmmmm
  We will hit the town when I return and celebrate properly but well done guys. 

 

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My new career
My new career
Carding a local
Carding a local
Another pub in the rain...
Another pub in the rain...
Our gorgeous room
Our gorgeous room
View from our room
View from our room
The castle
The castle
To prove we were there.
To prove we were there.
Back of the castle
Back of the castle
My knight!
My knight!
The ceremony
The ceremony
After the ceremony
After the ceremony
Remember I mentioned those nice co…
Remember I mentioned those nice c…
Steffs desert....Mmmmmm
Steff's desert....Mmmmmm
The four of us.
The four of us.
The whole clan
The whole clan
Dim bragged that this meal was big…
Dim bragged that this meal was bi…
In between my wingin about my sore…
In between my wingin about my sor…
Edinburgh
Edinburgh
The games you play when drinking..…
The games you play when drinking.…
A mouse
A mouse
A unicorn
A unicorn
Edinburgh
photo by: vances