Days 6-10: Scotland – The Wolves of Eisenhower… & Other Plaid Things

Day 6 –

When we took the step off the train in Scotland we immediately smelled baked goods. This automatically activated an “oh boy” from Mickey who made a beeline for the cookies stand. After this we left the train station and stepped back into the medieval times. We could see the castle over looking the valley below and our feet crossed cobble stone roads. In searching for our hostel we walked through the skinny paths between buildings leading up to the top of the hill. Our hostels location was perfect as it was right next to the castle making it super easy to find our way back to it just in case we got lost. After we’d ditched our things at the hostel we decided to take the climb up Arthur’s seat! Which basically everyone we had talked to about Edinburgh said was something we absolutely had to do and man were they right. Both of us had been looking forward to this part of the trip and we decided to take the hard way up. Well I guess I should say that Mickey convinced me that’s what we should do… It was definitely difficult and technically the trail was closed because of falling rocks but that’s never stopped us before. The day was quite perfect for this hike, there were a few clouds in the sky but plenty of sunlight illuminating the surrounding countryside. The view was absolutely spectacular. There were people running all over Arthur’s seat getting a workout in and man if that was where my runs took me I’d definitely get out more. As we were climbing down(the easy way) there were cliffs on each side of us and looking up Mickey said, “I’m still waiting for the wolves of Eisenhower to track us down..” I of course laugh because Eisenhower is absolutely incorrect but it does give a funny mental image as he was looking for the wolves of Isenguard.

That night we went on another pub crawl through the Sandemans company and had a great time. Scotland’s pub crawl was quite different than London’s as it revolved quite a bit more around conversation as opposed to dancing. We went to a total of seven bars in the area, one called whistle binckies that’s famous for their catacombs in the basement, and our favorite pub in Edinburgh called Pilgrim. Pilgrim was great because of how they involved travel in the interior design. The bar itself was build using old luggage cases with a wooden top, all the seats on the walls were old airport chairs and the tables were made from trunks with glass tops. That night there was a really good guitarist there who tossed out a great vibe for the place. My least favorite was a bar called Frankensteins where at midnight they cut the music and played scenes from Frankenstein while an automated robot “Frankenstein” was lowered into the middle of the bar and was brought to “life.” Like I said it was absolutely my least favorite. We met a solid group if people once again from around the world and ended up making some sweet friends with people going for their masters at the university of Edinburgh. Sandemans should really hire Mickey and I to promote their pub crawl because throguh the trip we have recruited so many people to join up with us.

Day 7 –

Woke up this morning to go on the free tour where our guide Sebastian was giving his first ever tour. It was alright, both of us by this time were feeling quite tired and had a hard time focusing on the very cool stories we were told about the history of Edinburgh. I did enjoy the one about Deacon Brody who was the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. We ate at the tavern named after him and their story says that by day he was a pious, wealthy, and much respected citizen and in 1781 was elected Deacon Councilor of the city. But at night he was a gambler, a thief, dissipated and licentious. He was hanged in 1788, ironically at the gallows he himself designed. I have more to that story if you like to hear it ask me about it!

We did our touristy stuff at this point in the trip where we bought flags and patches along with other various things. We went on a hunt for Mickey to find a leather bracelet that felt like it took around 5 hours… I’m not real good at this whole keeping track of time thing though so it may have only been 45 minutes or so. But we happened upon a local band playing their hearts out with a bagpipe! They were pretty solid and rather fun so we stayed and watched for a time. At dinner that night Mickey ordered the haggis which I did try and found it to be tough but not gross. Now that we know what it is however… Why is that a meal? Without much else to do at night we thought we would hit the pub crawl again but after the first three pubs neither of us was feeling it so we ditched the crawl and went for kebabs and chips and cheese. That is seriously the best late night food ever… Gonna need to open up a kebab joint or something because its so good. We then went and hung out at the hostel where a crew of backpackers were having a sweet jam session with the guitars left at the hostel and everyone joining in singing along. After awhile of that we tried falling asleep while a thunderstorm of a snorer had a concert in the bed next to us. (Earplugs people… Required if your staying in a hostel)

Day 8 –

I messed up on our hostel booking and didn’t realize we were staying another night in Scotland so we had to check out of our hostel… Thankfully they had a few beds open so we were able to Shnag those for only £13 each. We spent an hour and a half, which is mickeys limit to sitting around, at a cafe Nero where I was content to spend the entire day. Instead of sitting around however we climbed Caltons hill which isn’t as tall at Arthur’s seat but has the attempted Parthenon on top of it otherwise known as the shame of Scotland. On the trek back we grabbed some wicked good ice cream! Then crashed at the hostel for a fabulous nap, after the nap we got dinner and went on the pub crawl again. I didn’t stay all the way through this one because all the late nights were catching up to me finally.

Day 9 –

This was our last day in Edinburgh which was terrible in Mickeys eyes because he loved this city. He thought that it was so great that we didn’t have to take a bus anywhere or hop on a train, that it was just us and our feet making the trek. We both really enjoyed the overall atmosphere of Edinburgh especially the quaint feel of the royal mile. I wasn’t overly sad to see it go however. I’d have enjoyed staying longer absolutely but I enjoy the hustle of London and I like taking public transport all over the city. It makes it so much easier to see so much more in the short amount of time we were traveling. It didn’t help that we didn’t want to spend much money and both of us were already tired of the touristy type of things. So instead of dropping £20 on the castle tour I slept some more in our hostel common room and Mickey climbed Arthur’s seat again. We then had some kebabs with chips and cheese and then grabbed the bus to the airport for our flight to Spain!

Extras. So I’m currently in my hostel at Madrid! We only have two more nights on this fantastic vacation so I’m going to get right on writing the Barcelona portion of my blog so hopefully you will read that tonight as well! If not you’ll know it took me too long and I have gone on a fiesta!

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