Another morning in Edinburgh. Back in McD’s. Up too early to take advantage of the breakfast provided by the hostel. Haven’t eaten here yet either, so this will probably be short.
I had a good time yesterday. Rode the train up to Dunfermline, which is the ancient capital of the Scots. Really picturesque place but also a moderate sized city where people live and work. Would have enjoyed more time there as I barely saw more than the central town and the Abbey/Palace. I was limited by being on foot and that I needed to get back to Edinburgh in time to get everything done before the torchlight procession. I didn’t have time to do too much willy-nilly wandering.
I virtually had the Abbey & Palace to myself. Could have something to do with it being winter-time and the off-and-on drizzle. I got there near noon and no one was there. Three groups came in behind me. All were disappointed that they could not see the tomb of Robert De Bruce, but I knew that in advance. The tomb is in the church which is still in use and only open to the public during the summer. Many of the ancient kings and queens are also buried there, but the locations are no longer known. Roughly, they believe the old church (which I did get to go in) was built on top of the original church where they were buried. So, I probably trod across their graves. The Abbey & Palace are basically ruins, but it was a lot of fun.
Got back into Edinburgh about 4pm and got my ticket for the torchlight procession and then ran to a Pizza Hut that was right there near where the procession started. I hadn’t eaten anything but a candy bar since Breakfast. I inhaled that pizza. In retrospect, not a good idea. Toward the end of the procession, my stomach was really upset. I don’t know if the pizza was bad or if it was a combo of not eating all day, then eating really greasy food and about 1 hour later walking for two miles or what…
The procession itself was beautiful. I was in the second band of people who walked. The first group had drummers leading them. Our group had a jazz band leading us – I was right alongside them. It had a definite carnivale feel to it. There are a few things they should warn you about – don’t wear clothes for which you have a deep affection. The torches are basically a long cardboard tube soaked in wax with a wooden base and a cardboard ring to protect your hand. Well now, if you held it perfectly upright and there was no wind, all the wax ran down to the cardboard ring. If the wind blew or someone tipped their torch a little, wax went all over. The wind blew… a lot… After I got to the top of the hill to watch them burn the viking ship, my torch finally went out and I began chipping off wax from my coat and gloves. I had a cap (of course the one I liked the best of my hoods) that I think will never come clean. It was still beautiful up there. They burned a viking ship (that the guys dressed as vikings had paraded with ahead of us) and then they launched fireworks – really impressive display. View of the city stretched out below.
And about the end, my stomach really told me how unhappy it was. I found a grocer on the walk back and managed to find some sort of stomach medicine – sounded like bi-carbonate or something like that. Two doses (the recommendation) didn’t do the trick (or I was impatient) but the third did. I also grabbed a coke and the nearest thing to saltines I could find.
After I got back to the hostel, I washed my coat, gloves, and hat. I went ahead and tossed in some jeans as long as I was at it. The jacket seems to have come clean. There’s still wax on the gloves – maybe more will come out in subsequent wash? When I went down to the dryer the next to last time last night, the hat and jeans were still damp, so I left them and carried the rest up. Went back down about half an hour later (had gotten to talking to some of my room-mates from Australia). Jeans were folded up on a table… no hat… opened the dryer, jam packed with wet clothes… It was midnight and I just didn’t care enough considering the shape of it after the wash (not encouraged about the wax coming out). So, I didn’t feel like hunting through someone else’s wash. I may check down there later and see if someone left it on the table afterward or anything. Maybe… Or I’ll just find a Scottish replacement!
Sincerely hope it doesn’t sound like I’m having a bad time. I am really having a great time. And I am looking forward to more of it – even if my feet aren’t!
So, that gets me to this morning. Planning to head over to Stirling and see the Castle. The Britrail pass has come in really handy. I like the freedom it’s provided. I got a Historic Scotland Explorer pass yesterday at Dunfermline Abbey. Any three of the next five days, I can go into like 80 sites managed by Historic Scotland. I did the math on the places that I was going that were included and I came out ahead getting the explorer pass. Still have to see Edinburgh Castle and hopefully Craigmiller Castle (which is also in Greater Edinburgh). Also hope to see Mary King’s Close, an attraction here in the city, a “close” which was covered over hundreds of years ago, so basically a time capsule of what the city was like years ago that was reopened recently.