I was lucky enough to be picked up by a friend, and did not have to bother with airport to city transportation. We drove to his house in South Queensferry, which is actually where I stayed while in Scotland. We had some time to relax before our dinner plans, so I enjoyed my first (of many) cup of British tea. We then took a bus to Edinburgh, and went to the Golf Tavern for a beer before dinner. This was quite a cozy pub, with really interesting and unique interior. Dinner was American food, believe it or not. TriBeCa actually made a pretty impressive chicken burger, with delicious fries. We went opening week, and they did not yet have their liquor licence, so we were permitted to bring our own drinks, which was a funny and interesting thing to do. After a filing dinner, we drove to Grassmarket, which is a historic marketplace that now seems to be lined with pubs. When we arrived at the pub, I was very excited because the song playing (if I remember correctly, the music was live) was one of my favourites from the movie P.S. I Love You. The excitement ended quickly thereafter, and I fell asleep around 9PM in a crowded and noisy bar, somewhat uncomfortably, on my friend's shoulder. Suffice it to say, it had been a long day and I was worn out.
Saturday morning was a slow start, but we managed to make it out of the house, as I was eager to explore Edinburgh further. I started with a cup of Starbucks, which was significantly cheaper than in Copenhagen. My friend accompanied me to the National Museum, which was free and quite interesting. I don't have anything exceptional to say about the museum, but it's a good way to spend a couple of hours. As we were leaving the museum, it was starting to snow lightly, which was sort of magical in the darkening sky. We stood around for a minute, joining in the surprise and awe with everyone around us, separate but feeling together. I tried to catch some flakes on my tongue, and then we made our way down the streets of Edinburgh so that my friend could take me to the Castle. It looked really beautiful and impressive lit up, and because it is on a hill, we got a view of the city at night as well.
On the way back to South Queensferry we stopped in Falkirk to see The Kelpies. Two giant horse head statues that are lit up and change color every few minutes. I was more impressed with The Kelpies than Glasgow. I would recommend stopping by if you're in the area and it's practical for you.
Dinner was fish and chips from a greasy little place on the other side of the river from South Queensferry. I feel it worth mentioning how appalled I was at their lack of tartar sauce. Never in my life have I eaten fish and chips without tartar sauce, or at least dark vinegar, which they didn't have either. They had white vinegar, and brown sauce, which apparently is Scottish, but I was not satisfied. I settled for ketchup, and they thought I was nuts.
We parked the car by the Forth Bridge, which is just as impressive at night as during the day. (The Forth Bridge is an UNESCO World Heritage Site).
After exploring out in the cold, we went into a cozy little cafe near the palace for a coffee and a treat. It's called The Coffee Neuk, and it's great value and prices.
After a day of walking absolutely all over Edinburgh, I was exhausted. But didn't want to miss out on the football match that the boys were going to. Well that turned out to be a roughly hour drive to Forfar, where we missed the start of the game, and then the floodlights went out, so the game was canceled. The night ended up being an hour long drive to McDonalds.
I was secretly glad that the game was canceled, because I was freezing and there weren't any seats.
The following day, my friend and I hiked Arthur's Seat, which led to a beautiful view of Edinburgh. It wasn't too difficult getting to the top, and was oh so nice to be able to hike after months spent in flat Denmark. The way down, however, was a trip. I saw a dead rabbit, started crying, lost my focus, and slipped and fell in the mud. That was wonderful.
But the pad thai we had for lunch made me forget all about it. Hooray for good Thai food. Five stars for Ting Thai Caravan.
That night I did something that I never imagined I would do.. In the spirit of experiencing new cultures, I tried haggis. I more than tried it - I ate it. Seconds, even. As long as I wasn't allowing myself to think about what it is, I was actually enjoying the taste and texture of it. Along with mashed potatoes and turnips, it made a pretty nice dinner.
After the gallery, I went to see the Writers' Museum, which was unfortunately closed that day for some sort of restoration. It was a shame to have missed.
I then continued up to the Royal Mile, where I found a cheap little cafe with great food and very friendly service. After enjoying some time off my feet, I continued down the Royal Mile to the Museum of Childhood. Yet another free museum, and really cool to see so many old toys and how they have changed over the years.
That night I cooked dinner for my friend's parents, to thank them for so kindly allowing me to stay in their home for a week. I got to try traditional Scottish food, so I made them some Danish food!
The next morning it was off to the airport, and back to Copenhagen after my little vacation. I cannot say that Scotland was one of my favourite countries, or that Edinburgh was one of my favourite cities. But as always it is a joy and honour to see into another country and culture, especially one with so much rich history. And this time I was particularly blessed to have a local showing me around.
What's up next? In a couple of weeks I am joining my host family at their summer home in Sweden. Let's see if posting this here will keep me accountable for writing a timely post about it.
I am creating looking forward to the cellphone-free time and quiet reading.
This whole time my MacBook has been autocorrecting my words to the British English spelling. Must be in the spirit of my writing about the UK..