Scotland – Edinburgh, The City We Should Have Spent More Time In

It is bloody freezing cold.

And I mean, freezing cold.

I don’t usually like being little spoon, but I was more than ok with that this time around.

We wake up to a thick layer of condensation covering pretty much every window inside the car.

The sock of clarity comes to the rescue once again. Trusty ol’ sock, that.

We awake, to see the car park fill up around us, and by filling up, I mean that it is nearly full. Last night, there was a sign up said that tonight was the last night that the car park was going to be free, so we had made the assumption that they were using it for the movie or something. They had already occupied an entire other car park, and it was bloody huge too.

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Shivering, we get dressed and head to find somewhere to have a shower. Our first spot, they wanted to charge us like 7 euro to have a shower. It also gives you access to the pool and everything, but we’re not paying that much. We get the name of this other place, but can’t find it, so we hit up a local, who is more than happy to oblige. We might as well not have had the directions cos I took the first wrong turn that you could.

Mum says I am special.

We get to the community pool, where its only 1.70 euro.

That is a lot more like it.

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The only downside is that it’s not twisty-turny taps. You press the button, which lets you have a pre-determined amount of water, at a pre-determined heat. I’m a bit chilly at this point, so the moment I get in the shower, it feels like the nectar of heaven washing my transgressions of not shower for the past 3 days away.

Its amazing.

But! And here lies the issue… I am very much a hot shower kinda guy. At first, the water felt hot, only because my body and soul were cold. Being that I am warmer, the hot water is now just above lukewarm. I am not so keen about this. I cant for the life of me find any other solutions to the problem, except for the disabled toilet across the room.

I spy through the curtains, that there are two knobs. One for cold, and one for hot. I have been in the shower for a good 15 mins at this point. I have been making the most of the shower, especially since we have paid for it and everything. I just can’t bring myself to get out of the shower, with out being fully satisfied with the temperature of my body.

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The largest monument ever made to a writer

I grab my gear, cover my nuts and head over to the disabled shower. To my delight, there is even a seat for me to sit on. What is more, is that the hot water is hot. I spend equally just as much time in this shower, concluding my body washing festivities. One downer though… I did forget to bring in any sort of hair washing anything, and I have got some ratchet dandruff going on right now. I was hoping to cure this mild leprosy, but alas, Bec must continue to love me and my scalping head until another shower, as I am not running back out the car with a towel around me.

Stick that.

Especially in Edinburgh.

We gather our goods, and go to move the car.

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But! Then our trusty ‘check the time on the sign’ trick comes through once more, and we see nothing that says we will be in trouble if we leave the car there for the day. We just tuck our gear in the car, and head into the city. We walk for about a good half hour to get to the city, and as we get closer, the buildings become seem to lean over you all the more. I say to Bec that I feel like I am walking in a miniature toy town.

The cobble stone roads create what sounds like ripples under the rubber tyres of the cars that pass us. I could only image how loud it would be with horses and carriages back in the day. We zig zag though the narrow Scottish streets, as we drop into shop after shop to taste an imagine the wears that we could buy if we weren’t on such a tight budget.

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We walk through the centre of Edinburgh. Each new country and city that I visit, I try to take note of all the subtleties of each place, and I can safely say that as yet, I haven’t come across anywhere where it has felt the same as the last. Scottish fashion has this slightly less refined look to that of british fashion. Not to say that it is worse, but there are a lot more muted tones. The air of Edinburgh is a lot more laid back than that of London. Its actually a touch like York if I was to liken the atmosphere to anything.

We head to this one particular store for cards and I have to say, these guys have the best collection of cars that you could imagine to have in any one spot. Its utterly brilliant. While Bec is out and scouring the place for the things that she wants to send home, I spend a good half hour just from one end of the wall to the other reading all the greeting cards that are actually decent.

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Nothing like piece of crap puns on cards from 10 years ago. This was a breath of fresh air.

I have run out of things to do, and Bec is still a way off form finishing, so I just head across the road to the perfume shop to see what they have to offer. I walk into the perfume shop, to find that it is a tea shop.

Needless to say, I decide to bail on the tea shop.

I figure I need to kill time somehow, so I head to the shop next door. The shop next door is a jewellery shop, and not the kind where they’re selling paper beads on fishing wire. They have got a room where you sit and try on the watches with your own personal store clerk. This main hostess chick asks me if there is anything that she can help me with.

If I am looking semi decent, I would usually try to see what I can get away with, but I am wearing baggy pants, a jacket with a little bit of last night’s dinner on it and my snap back with a California label stitched on crooked. It crosses my mind, but then I decide that I am better to just level with the chick.

“Oh nah. My mrs is across the road, and I’m just looking to kill some time hey”

“Oh no worries. Is there anything in particular that you might be looking around at?”

This is when I begin to over explain things.

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Completely unnecessarily. I begin telling her how I am travelling and that I might be keen if I was at home, along with a plethora of other useless details that are really not necessary. She’s just looking at me more confused, than I am out of my depth. She is just like, “Oh ok then”. I just reply “Maybe another day then hey?”

“Yeah. The watches are upstairs if you’re keen”

I really don’t know what she needed to hear from her to understand that I wasn’t going to buy a watch. Moreso, a watches that I needed to lose 37% of my appendages to buy.

I have a look, poke the glass and leave.

An experience I could have done without, but thats ok.

I head back to the tea shop. That is a little more in my budget. Whats more, its not going to be weird if I just plonk myself on their seat while I wait, and that is what I do. Its good to just chill.

We have to drop the car off this arvo, so we head back to the car at the leisure centre. Along the way we spot this sign for a market, which seems to be inside an old church. To our suspicion, it was exactly that. This little mini-market in the middle of Edinburgh, inside an old church. The coolest thing out.

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We mish it back to the car and make some food in the carpark like the proper bums that we are. People are driving around looking for a park that we are not willing to release just yet. We tuck in, and eat as much as we can, because we are flying out of Edinburgh tomorrow morning, so we can’t really take it with us.

We hoe down what we can and get a move on to drop the car back to the depot. We find a cheap car wash place, and this guy is some sort of eastern european import, who has made the grand decision in life that the best means of communicating with people isn’t with words, rather that it would be better if he was to just signal with half of one hand what he wanted people to do.

So instance, if he wanted you to move forward, he would just kinda half open his hand, and roll his wrist in what might possibly interpreted as “please move forward”. This would make sense, if he was to be looking at you. But he isn’t. He’s just staring off across the bonnet of the car, to what we assumed must have been a colleague. Except there is no colleague. I look back over to him, and his casual wrist rolling has turned into a vigorous wave, even including a bit of his elbow in the movement now.

We move a bit closer until I am in the start of the big machine which just washes everything for you. He tells me to not touch anything, just to take my foot off the brake. The car is still in gear, so that is what I do. He didn’t realise that the car was in gear, so he starts yelling at me to stop the car. This time, he actually is trying to communicate. Funny that.

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He then comes over to the car, and says “Why you drive forward?”

“Mate, you told me to take my foot off the brake, so thats what I did”
“No. You drive forward”
I decide to up the ante here

“Mate! You are behind me telling me to take my foot off the brake, and ‘just let the car move forward’. That is exactly what I did!”

There has obviously been a miscommunication or a loss in translation somewhere, so he starts to just move the washing arms out the way so we can reverse back out. This time, the car is in neutral, brakes are off. Ol’ mate has the audacity to ask whether my brakes are off.

People…

We finish the wash, and cruise.

We head out to what was meant to be the tough area of Edinburgh, but either the bloke was full of it, or Edinburgh is pretty weak. Either way, it really wasn’t that bad. Naturally, we cant leave Scotland without having a drink at a Scottish pub and trying Haggis, so we cart our bags back into the city to wrap up our very short lived Scottish experience with a drink at a Scottish pub.

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We find ourselves a little spot that we passed a couple times before, and decide that this will be our Scottish drinking establishment for the night. We cart our bags right down the back of the restaurant/bar, and assume our position. Our waiter comes out, and asks if we want anything to drink.

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“What have you got on tap mate?”

“On tap? You gotta be from Australia”

“Haha. Yeah. How’d you pick?”

“Nobody says ‘On tap’ around here”

“Well there you go”

Turns out that the bloke’s name is Lachy, and he is from Melbourne.

You literally cannot go anywhere in the UK with out flipping over a stone to find an Aussie there. He’s been travelling for the last little while, and has fallen in love with Scotland, so just decided to stay indefinitely.

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He points us in the right haggis direction on the menu, and brings us the best coldest beer on tap. Good lad.

We tuck into haggis and a steak and ale pie. Soooo good. And to be honest, my consensus on Haggis really isn’t that bad. I found that it was really just like pie mince, just with a little more flavour. Really not that bad at all.

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We sink our beers, thank Lachy and get a move on to the airport. We are flying out in the morning, and since we have to be here from 5 am, its just easier to sleep here. I’m gonna be blogging anyways, so I just figure, kill two birds with one stone and sleep anyways.

Scotland has been amazing, but there is no doubt that we definitely short changed ourselves. If we had our time again, we would allot a good week and a half to checking the whole place out. Its stunning.

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Come 2am, I head to the other end of the airport for some needed sleep.

All the couches are taken, so we just sleep on the floor.

Come back tomorrow,

Billy

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