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O Fim duma Viagem

Edinburgh by Daylight

UNITED KINGDOM | Tuesday, 12 August 2014 | Views [346]

Once we were off the plane, we were brought through lines at an airport which were long, but otherwise painless. Than we were left on our own to find our luggage (there was a conveyor belt, but it was being ignored in favor of two guys bringing over several bags at once) and the tram. After a bit of wandering, we saw signs pointing the way to the tram.

The tram was there when we arrived at the stop, but we still had time to buy tickets, get on the tram, and get our luggage in the compartments. Our seats were dictated more by necessity of sitting down before a moving tram made standing much more difficult than by locational desire.

Someone came around to check and punch our tickets. At every station stop after that he would walk back to where we were (at the end of the tram) and then look disappointed that there was no one new on board.

Once we were off the tram, we picked one direction and started rolling. We soon rediscovered two things- parks in Britain are seldom public, and traveling with your luggage is much more painful when you're not prepared for it. My parents were going from Edinburgh to a car and then staying on an island. I was traveling all over Scotland by train and bus. We had each packed and gotten mentally prepared accordingly. My main concern as we traversed cobblestone streets was for the wheels of my suitcase.

We found a cafe and stopped there to wash the taste of airplane coffee out of our mouths and wake up with proper coffee. My parents got an Americano and I got a Velvet Mocha. Mine was the best.

Velvet Mocham. Mmm.

After we'd been at the cafe for a bit, we decided it was time to walk around some more, and get some more sunlight. So we picked up our suitcases and went out again. We headed toward the rough direction of the apartment we would be staying at, hoping we'd be able to leave our luggage there.

Along the way, I noticed an interesting building and suggested we headed there. My mother reluctantly agreed, even though it would turn out to be the wrong way. It turned out that I was right, thus justifying the strategy of always heading towards an interesting building. (Two days later: “Sabrina? You realize this isn't our apartment, right?” “But... Sir Watler Scot Memorial. So. Pretty.”)

When we got to our apartment, we found that it wasn't ready. We hung out for a little bit at a nearby Premier Inn. It wasn't really the kind of lobby that you can hang in (or hop around from. If you're ever bored on a rainy day in a big city, go lobby hopping) and so we moved from there to a much larger and friendlier lobby- the Hilton.

The Hilton was split into two parts. On the left side of the street, which we tried first, we found a small inn where a couple of people were staying. No major lobby. Across the street was a lobby. And a cafe/restaurant/bar (could be all three, depending on your wishes.) And beyond that were more places to sit. We found one that was comfortable and settled there for a bit. Then my parents went off to look for a place to lunch and/or a show.

They came back with both. There was just one problem- we didn't want to have to carry our suitcases. We wanted to be able to go for an unencumbered walk before lunch. If we wee staying in the Hilton, we could check our bags, but given we were only staying in their lobby, we couldn't. Or could we? My father and I went over and ask.

“We'd like to leave our bags here.”
“OK. What's your room number?”
“Well.. we don't actually have one. We're staying in an apartment. But we are Hilton Honors members!”
“So... why can't you leave the suticases at your apartment?”
“We're not able to check in there yet.”
“All right..” (She reached over for the luggage tags.) “So you're not actually staying here then?”

We exchanged stubs of luggage tags for six bags and were on our way.

I had fish and chips for lunch (couldn't wait too long before indulging in some of the milder local foods) and learned that I liked Guiness. The latter was hardly a surprise, given my enjoyment of other stouts) but it was my first time really tasting it. So much for the theory that it's an acquired taste.

During lunch, a man came over to talk to us. I'm not sure if it was the tiredness or the noise of the pub or it was simply his really thick accent. But I could barely understand what he was saying. Which was especially problematic because he was talking to me. I was knitting a glove, and he was asking me questions about it. (Even in English, I have no idea how to explain the function the cable in circular needles serves when I'm using the magic loop method. That sentence probably only makes sense if you're a knitter, thus validating my point.) From what I did pick up, his mother used to knit him socks, though he never learned how. He can crochet. And he's a size nine, in case I finished the gloves and wanted to make socks.

When we finished lunch, we went around for another short walk, then headed upstairs for our first show of the Fringe. Peace, Tolerance, Surveillance, and Drones. It was a free show.. I didn't expect much from it.
The audience was small- us, a Scotsman, a couple from Belgium, and two siblings also from Scotland. We were supposed to begin by introducing ourselves by name, hometown, and an interesting fact about our hometown. My mother went first, only to realize that there is absolutely nothing interesting about Warrenville. Then I went with “Chicago is the hog-butcher to the world” quote (the erformer had never heard that.) Then my father went with “Milwaukee is known for beer.” (He had heard of that.)

He began by talking about the recent plane crash in the Ukraine with the Aids researchers on board. He went from there to mentioning that the three people who know the secret ingredient of Coca Cola are not allowed to travel on the same plane, then went into a long rant about why Coke even has a secret ingredient. Then onto some flawed, if semi-amusing interpretations of Aztec history and the start of World War I, and that was about it. On the way out, he asked how we, as Americans, felt about it. Given it felt like more of the show had been about Coca Cola than anything else, that's all we could really answer.

By this point, our apartment should be ready. We confirmed this, then went back tot he Hilton to get our stuff. It was much too early for sleep, so out we went to explore Edinburgh. We walked along to Prince's Street, found a lovely open air craft market (not yarn, but a fair amount of jewelery and a lot of pictures. Including highlnd cows. I love highland cows) and walked on to the Royal Mile. The Royal Mile was crowded and hectic and wonderful, but not on that little sleep. We finished that and headed back towards our apartment, looking for dinner along the way.

We found it at a Spanish restaurant. We all had different levels of appetite at that point, so the tapas option was perfect. There was flamenca dancing going from 9:30-late, but we decided to give it a skip just this once.

Once I was back at the apartment, it was a struggle against sleep. A part of me knew I could, but the rest of me had decided it would be better to wait until the sun wet down.

The sun goes down late in Scotland.

Tags: coffee, drinks, fringe, hilton

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