Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Beginning of the End: Edinburgh

The final driving leg of my journey was the trip from Carlisle to Edinburgh, which was the final destination on my journey; I'd be here for four nights during the legendary Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which is very similar in most ways to Adelaide's, only on a far larger scale. It actually was the chance to go to this which began my thinking about travelling all those years ago.

As per the previous journey, I decided I'd do some narrating along the way. Here's the transcripts:

Okay, in today's fun installment of Jamie Gets Lost in Scotland. I mean there's a particularly good reason for this; it's not *just* my incompetence, although that of course is a factor, um, yeah. Um, TomTom decided it would not do the search function that it usually does rather well. And so I didn't want to sit around and try and work out how to fix it, I wanted to actually get going, because I wanted to, I needed to be in Edinburgh, you know, reasonably, sort of early afternoon kind of thing to check in and give the car back, that sort of thing. Um, so off I set. Eventually I sorted out with its owner how to fix it. I didn't realise it actually had a reboot function and I didn't know where that was, because there isn'ta manual, which is really fucking handy, but anyway.

So, driving north from Carlisle to Scotland, and what I wanted to do was take a slightly scenic route, so I wanted to take a particular one, which was the 702. Um, not exactly sure where that goes, but it goes near some interesting, what do you call it, forest-y national park sort of thing. So when I found the sign for the 702 I turned off and went on it. Unfortunately it turned out I was going south on the 702. I mean, I realised at first and thought, all right, well, I'm definitely going the opposite direction that I Was going before, but is that because it hooks around and, no, it's not because it hooks around; I was just going the wrong way on it. So, yah. Now I've worked that out - it took me a while - I'm going what I hope is the right way, and I will end up in Edinburgh sometime this afternoon, not too late. I mean, it's been a fun drive, through the wet and kind of bleak - well, bleak ; you know, well, empty of people anyway - um, and things other than sheep and low stone walls, um, sort of surrounds of country Scotland. So, yeah. I mean, I'm enjoying myself.

Okay, we are back on track. Now, where I am is...somewhere. Um, yeah. I found myself, I'm still on my scenic route, the 702 to Edinburgh, and I just stopped in town because if I didn't I Was going to die of, you know, whatever happens when you don't go to the toilet. Bladder failure or something. Delightful. But I stopped at a servo to go to the toilet. Thank god it had a toilet. A lot of servos here *don't* have toilets, which I think should actually be illegal. I think if you qualify for a license to sell petrol you should have a toilet. If you, if you make people - I know, I don't object to it being for customers only or charging people, whatever the hell, that doesn't bother me in the slightest, I'm happy to  buy something at a servo every time I stop to go to the toilet, that's not unreasonable. I understand people not just wanting to be there for the sake of being a public toilet, and that's not what they're for, they're a business.

The person in front of me was obviously a regular, a local, and had a conversation with the guy, the operator there. Couldn't understand a word they were saying. Honestly. And technically, they were speaking English. They were just speaking with a really thick Scottish accent. And, damn. That's going to be, I'm possibly in for a fun time here; I had enough trouble in England for crying out loud. I understood them but they couldn't understand me. No, I suppose actually sometimes I couldn't understand them. But mostly it was them not understanding me. so, yah.

Now I'm somewhere. Not, I'm not all that far from Edinburgh, I'm only 27 miles from Edinburgh at this point, but it's sort of a bit hilly and very wet still, sheep country mostly. There's paddocks and then there's those big sort of cylindrical tubes of hay, bales I suppose. It's quite pretty; I wish it wasn't raining quite so much, it'd probably be prettier, but meh, that's Scotland. I can't complain too much. And that's that.

Some photos from that leg of the journey. It was raining heavily most of the way, so unfortunately there aren't many.

I made my way into Edinburgh, dropped off the Vauxhall Corsa - with a full tank and without a scratch - and wandered the conveniently short distance up the road from the Avis office to the B&B; that wasn't even a piece of good planning on my part, it just turned out that the B&B was in the same street.

The owners were home; I got shown to my room and given a shot of whisky - I don't know if that's what every B&B gives its guests - and, after unpacking, I headed off for a wander around Edinburgh, which I found to be one of the most amazing places I've been, stunningly picturesque and filled with the same amazing energy Adelaide gets when the Fringe is on here - only on a much larger scale.

I took a few pictures along the way.

Below is a picture of Holyrood Park, which is effectively downtown Edinburgh - you can't see it if you walk down the hill the way I did, so it was quite a shock to see it as I turned the corner - "Holy freaking crap, there's a big rock in the middle of town!" (or something like that) was what went through my mind at the time.

This is the Holyrood House, which is the Edinburgh residence of the reigning monarch. You can go inside but I couldn't find the time.

There are some very cool lampposts outside Holyrood.

Harry Potter devotees will probably know about this place; for those unfamiliar, this is one of the caf├ęs where JK Rowling wrote Philosopher's Stone

I was impressed by Felicity Ward's poster - or, more specifically, the cockatoo on the poster, which appears to be ogling the woman in the next poster over.

I found some food and made my way to see my first Edinburgh Fringe show, I Promise You Sex & Violence; after that I realised I could, if I ran, I could make it to a performance of One Man Star Wars. So, run I did. After that I made my way back to the B&B.

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