First, if you spot some strange characters, it’s going to take me a bit to get used to the UK keys again, so bear with and all that jazz.

With each trip, I seem to be more haphazardly packing at the last minute. This one was made worse by a Christmas gift gone wrong. One of my gifts was a new lens for my camera. Well, of course, turns up defective. My luck ya know. So, day after Christmas, I called and explained the problem with the lens and that I wanted a replacement by Thursday as possible as I was heading to the airport Friday morning. Oh, no problem, I was told. No problem if they had mailed it that day. Or if they had mailed it the next day and sent it anything other than GROUND… right… ground, the day before… I can at least say I’ve had remarkably good luck with them over all, why I’m not dragging names into it. But Thursday found me calling around various camera places in Atlanta until I found… ding.. ding… same lens, same price. Only fun part was is the company in question is really mail order but you can pick up in the evening, which is what I did.

So, I finished packing and obsessing over what I might not have packed (oh, like a belt, for instance) about 1am. And slept until 6:30am… and then was making sure the house was all shuttered down again. Not hard since I was only there one night since Christmas.

Made it to the airport with no difficulty. The flight to Newark was remarkably trouble free (my only other experience with that airport was not so good). I sadly had a 5 hour layover in NJ… tick.. tock… tick… tock…

Flight in was mercifully pleasant since I could not, no matter how little sleep I’d had the night before or how tired I was in the airport in NJ sleep. Landed here well before sun-up (which is like border-line 9am) and got a bus in to town. I really hadn’t experienced Edinburgh’s late sunrise last time. Between landing in London and the sleeping in every day, I’d never noticed. If I was working, I wouldn’t like it so much, but as is, I can sleep in and still see the sunrise! See, there are always perks.

And today was just beautiful. Bright sunlight, temp around 50, which is way above normal. The last time I was here, the highs never broke past the 30’s. So, on top of the New Years festivities, everyone is out and about. The shorts are a little scary, but I guess it’s warm to them…

Other than dropping my bags off and wandering by Edinburgh castle for sunrise, I have one acheivement for today thus far. I climbed Arthur’s Seat – this ginormous stone outcrop at the bottom of the Royal mile. Arthur’s seat and the outcrop that Edinburgh castle sits on are both the remains of ancient volanoes. I had read before hand that there were two ways up, the easy way and the hard way. For some reason, I must suffer on my vacations and I took the hard way up. In fact, about halfway up the FIRST hill, I cursed myself… Oh, who am I kidding, 15 feet up the hard way, I cursed myself. Little did I know.

I hit the top of that first crest. The view was fabulous, I wandered around the side a bit and saw the path descending. I thought that must be the other path… all this fuss over nothing??? A guy behind me must have also thought it ended as he turned around. I went ahead and climbed down thinking to complete the route… and I hit the bottom and saw the NEXT peak… gulp… and people were up there… I found the zig zag path and figuring in for a penny, in for a pound… up I went… about the top, the wind off the river really picked up… wow… this is insane! I’d yet to see one person ahead of me come down, so I figured I’d keep on as long as I didn’t have to re-trace that wind-blown path… When I go to the top…

I saw… yes… another… even higher… peak… This has to be a joke.. but… yes… people up there again… So, I found the path… and I hit a point that I thought you’d have to be a billy goat… Two guys who had caught up to me had the same looks… but they forged on… Once I saw them suvive, up I went… why yes, I guess if everyone was jumping off mountains, I would, too… And up I went gripping the sides of this crevice. I should state (before my Mother has a coronary) that I wouldn’t have, in fact, fallen off a mountain, but it would have been a terrific way to fall ten feet and get pretty banged up… soon, it all flattenned out, and I was at last at the peak… I crawled up to the little marker just so I can say I was there. And then I scooted, literally, my butt down the worst part of that hill. I finally found the easy path back. It definitely would have been better. The last piece was bad no matter what you did, but yes… if you go up Arthur’s Seat… when you see the path split… go left… unless you have hooves… then go right!

Afterward, just strolled around a bit, a very little bit as my feet have developed at least two blisters on day one. I’d say it was a new record, but I’m sure it’s not.

Tonight is the “Night Afore” celebration… a small street party, this year in a German theme I believe over in New Town. By now, I should be able to check into my hotel. If I lay down and wake up, I’ll do the Night Afore. Otherwise, I’ll make it without going somehow…

Since it’s Friday and a lot of you are getting this at work, here’s an early Happy New Year everyone from the capitol of the Scots!

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