Sunday, February 06, 2005

30 hours in Edinburgh

Well, I'm back from Edinburgh -- I thought maybe I'd be able to post something while I was still there, but with just over a day and night to spend there an internet cafe didn't make its way onto the itinerary. I had an awesome time though, and it was ridiculously cheap to take the bus there so I foresee many future weekends spent in Scotland's capital city.

Edinburgh is really, really pretty. In contrast, Aberdeen is really, really ugly. It has a nice personality, though. You just have to get to know it. See, I know where my loyalties lie. But still, Edinburgh is totally sexy. I was so amazed to see actual variations in elevation! And tall buildings! And more than one street where things actually happen! I was the country mouse visiting the big city, marveling over and over at how big it was. Times have changed since I moved away from Seattle, yo.

We didn't have a clear idea what we wanted to do in Edinburgh -- we spent most of yesterday just wandering and taking everything in. We checked out Princes Street, the Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle, and St. Giles' Cathedral. We also visited a coffee shop called the Elephant's Sufficiency where J.K. Rowling was supposed to have written some of the Harry Potter books, but I just googled "elephant's sufficiency"+"rowling" and came up with zero results so maybe that's just an urban legend.

Louis was originally supposed to come down to Edinburgh to celebrate for Becca's birthday with me, but he was running low on money so I ended up getting a fairly large hotel room to myself. I just assumed we'd be staying in a youth hostel because we're none of us burdened by a surplus of cash, but Becca arranged everything and to tell the truth, it's been so long since I've slept in a real bed that was wider than my actual body it was worth the £30. Not only was it wider than my actual body, it was wider than several actual bodies. It was king size, bitch. Hell yeah.

Last night we went on a "ghost tour" of Edinburgh, where a tour guide led us around to visit several places in the city that were meant to be extremely haunted. It was pretty creepy, but I'm always torn over things like this: I have such a hard time buying tales of the supernatural because I'm a natural skeptic, but I really, really, really want them to be true because I like thinking there's still magic in the world and that that magic enjoys strangling innocent tourists. I love being scared, but my bullshit detector never goes on standby. I don't know how "real" the tour was, but it was good fun and we did spend some time in the tomb of a murderer with the lights out for a little while. That was fun.

Also, we met the guy from Little Britain! The Scottish hotel manager who says everything in magical folktale-speak! It wasn't actually David Walliams, but we stopped by a gift shop run by the exact same type and it was kind of scary to see it for real. I just wanted to know why there are two Scottish flags, and he jumped right in and regaled us with the energetic, theatrical version, which I alternatively like to call "the version that takes longer." I don't know how many of you have seen Little Britain, but if you have, let me tell you, this guy had everything but the flute and the midgets. But it was all good. Neat and cultural and informative. I just get a little nervous when someone is talking to me and I realize I'm their audience.

The clubbing scene in Edinburgh was a slight disappointment, but I suspect that's largely because we didn't know where to go. We wanted to go gay for the night, but C.C. Bloom's, the gay bar in Edinburgh I'd actually heard of, was a skanky crack den that made me feel like taking a shower after popping in just to take a look around. We had drinks for a few hours at a bar called Planet Out, which was actually very nice and played AWESOME music but didn't have a dance floor. Ultimately, we ended up paying £7 (!) to get into a straight place called Faith (yet another converted church) that was horribly crowded but suitably hoppin'. I had a dance-off with Becca (which I won) and a couple of gay guys kept hugging me. All in all, a decent night out.

Today Becca and her friends got on a train back to Derbyshire relatively early while Laura and I spent the rest of the day seeing more of the city. I feel like I've been gone for a lot longer than 30 hours, though interestingly I only spent 4 of those hours asleep. What a great city. I love Aberdeen, but now I've decided to have a torrid affair with Edinburgh.

I should have visited Sarah while I was in the neighborhood, but she was off on her own little weekend trip somewhere else. Well, I guess I'll just have to go back next week...


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