I loved Edinburgh. Great Hostel (Argyle Backpackers), lovely city to walk around, and it felt nicely familiar as Saskatoon and Edinburgh share a general population size and are both University towns. So far Scotland is winning the best country I’ve visited award (the list is short and it doesn’t seem to be hard to beat London).
However, I grew quickly tired of planning my own trip. The details and logistics are time consuming and stressful and I’m apparently not all that good at finding things to do in new cities. I rather knew this about myself and yet apparently I’d hoped that being overseas would make me an entirely different person. It has not. So I’m booking tours. I have one of just Scotland, called The Skye Experience, leaving on Saturday from Glasgow and I lucked out and just barely caught a tour from Education First via Go Ahead that does Germany, Austria, and Switzerland for 14 days starting on the 29th of March! I visited two travel agents in Edinburgh who couldn’t find me a tour beginning at the end of March so I’m well pleased that I managed to do what they couldn’t with persistent googling. And a little bit of parental help, a higher credit limit, and a very helpful Brit working out of Toronto. Ah globalization, how terribly helpful when I need it.
This great tour takes me from March 29 – April 11(12). Since I leave on the 16th from Amsterdam I think I might just head there after for the remainder of the week or if I feel particularly brave I might try to get over to Paris still. That’s a question up in the air. I certainly won’t be visiting Brussels this time, not with the terrorist attacks this week. It’s not that I believe I’d be in direct danger but that it would unsettle my family and the transportation systems there would be slower than a glacier to melt.
On the 23rd I didn’t do to terribly much. I stayed in bed until almost 9 a.m. Roused myself to go see if the travel agents were open yet, they weren’t so I wandered around until I found the Hulu Juice, had myself a tasty Betty Ford and kept going up the Royal Mile until I reached Edinburgh Castle. It’s amazing how this building of stone is perched on the edge of a cliff! I like castles. Here I saw the Crown, Septre and Sword that signify the Royalty of Scotland as well as some interesting history of the castle.
After the castle I finally bought plaid lamswool scarves. It’s THE touristy thing to buy, but so help me I’m a plaid loving tourist. I wound my way back to see the travel agents then and spent two hours being told there was nothing available with my dates and preferred locations, I could go to Spain a heartbeat though if I’d had any interst in Spain at all ( I don’t). To console myself I went to the niche Joe 3 shop down the street by Greyfriers Bobby and bought a sheep scarf. Not a made of sheep scarf an actual scarf with sheep. I’m not kidding when I say I like sheep.
I then meandered all the way back down the Royal Mile to Hollyrood down by the Parliment buildings, odd looking. This lovey area would have been great to explore but it’d already been several hours on my feet so I took a different route back up the hill via an old graveyard, steeply built and as fascinating as most graveyards are. I liked it anyway.
Anywho. Today is the 24th. I left Edinburgh this morning after visiting the National Scottish Gallary. Art is actually not all that interesting to me, but it was a fantastic collection that highlighted Scottish artists. I hopped a train to Glasgow, loving the ease to which that happens. Found out my cell service is much better in Edinburgh and had to look at the convenient city centre maps in Glasgow to find the other station as I got to Queens but needed Central. Once at Central I got another train to Johnstone and then a very bumpy bus to the co-op stop in Kilbarchan. This neat little town is where the Scottish Heritage Site Weavers Cottage is located. About 3 minutes walk from the Airbnb that I’m staying at. My hostess is lovely, and it’s my first time using the system. Unfortunately, the Cottage doesn’t officially open for the season until tomorrow at 1 p.m. But it’s already 5 so I’ll not go anywhere today and perhaps wander the town or something tomorrow morning. Or if my host doesn’t care I could just stay in. I’m an already established homebody.