Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Trip to Edinburgh, Day One

I probably should have started this post days ago, but I have been so exhausted from travel and confused from new module set-ups, I just haven't gotten around to it. But now, finally, after two days, I have some coffee in me. So I'm ready to write.

Our group left Saturday morning for Edinburgh, and it was 8 hours of the bumpy back of a bus, a constant view of the English countryside and a crick in my neck. The same goes for the ride back, though this time, it was 10 hours because we made more stops. I will say however that any form of travel is bearable if you are doing it with awesome people, which I happened to be. Carlin, Maxine, JennyRae (another Santa Barbarian) and myself made up the female demographic of the last 2 rows, and Spencer, Marshall and Hirsh made up the male. When we weren't trying to sleep, read or eat, conversations were plentiful, particularly when Marshall decides to ask broad questions about dancing with guys who have hard-ons. What's not to like? (The conversation, not the hard-on... yeah.)

(Side track: Finally talked to someone who has read and seen the absolutely romantic and literary brilliance of The Time Traveler's Wife, which let me tell you is a frickin' relief, because some people ::cough::Kim::cough::Gell::cough::Kait::cough::Ken::cough:: have yet to take my advice and get crackin' on the reading. Spencer is now my new best reading friend until I get a message from someone else saying they've read it and want to give me presents for having recommended such a miraculous book. Anyone who has access to my bedroom and fountain of books has no excuse: it's there ready to read for free.)

But I digress. I've got several posts to do and I'm rambling about great, but unimportant things.

When we finally got to Edinburgh, we were exhausted and starving, but that did not detract from the feeling of finally being out and about in Scotland. Our first mission was to find food, and friends had recommended that we eat at this pizza joint called Mamma's (the blue canopy in the background) in the central market square. The area had just been the location of the Scottish Jazz and Folk Music Festival, which we had missed by merely an hour. Sucks for us.

After eating, half the group walked to the edge of the city to hike up Arthur's Seat -- a very very large hill that I would argue is one of the highest points in the city. Had I known it was going to be covered in sharp rocks and very steep and slippery and freezing cold at the top, I wouldn't have worn my sock-like ballet flats or bought two mini-bottles of wine to carry in my over-sized side-bag. (Wow, that sentence had 4 dashes in it, I'm on a roll!) The walk looked a little like this, without pictures of the pain.

looking up at Arthur's Seat --- one of the 'yield' signs that I love

the progression up the trail, looking out over Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth
(you can see the differences in height by the phallic-like [aren't they always?] building in the distance)

My shoes were virtually ruined, and I had to walk half the speed of everyone else because it felt like I had no shoes on at all, but I made it up the hill not too far behind and I didn't slip or fall once. I even managed to avoid getting a single rock in my shoe. And in the end, getting to the top was completely worth the struggle.

The grass was tall and soft and the grass bed was even more so -- like a mattress! The thought of snakes and bugs and spiders didn't even cross my mind, partly because I was so tired and the grass looked so inviting. The wind was freezing because the ocean was so close by, so we laid down to avoid the wind. I could have fallen asleep, it was so beautiful and peaceful up there. Yet, despite the cold, our TA guide Jacqui passed around some very rewarding Chardonnay.

My favorite picture ever is this one (on the left) that I took of Katrina, with the city and the firth in the distance. As you can see, it's very high up. How could you not want to sit on the grass??
However, the one I like best of me (since I'm full of so much self-love) was this one I stole from Spencer. I had told people on the bus that I wanted a picture of me reading my edition of Wuthering Heights while sitting on a rolling hill of grass.

Even though I'm in Scotland and not Yorkshire, I feel this picture will definitely suffice; this alone was worth the trek for which my shoes/feet will never forgive me.

After heading down, night was upon us and the only thing left to do was party. And let me tell ya: Scottish people know how to party. These fools are crizazy! I don't have any pictures from this night, but even though I only had one mini-bottle of wine and 3/4 of a pint, we danced like maniacs at a pub/bar called The Three Sisters and experienced a Saturday night that rivals a Halloween in Isla Vista (just slightly less crowded, less costumes -- though there were some, for maybe 20 hen [aka. bachelorette] parties -- and more glass on the ground.)

For only being in Edinburgh for 6 hours, it was a pretty jam-packed night.

More to come. Pictures, etc.

1 comment:

  1. we should start a collection of us reading great pieces of literature in gorgeous places (re: my pic in my ashland blog)
    miss you!