edinburgh02

One Week In The UK, Part Two: Edinburgh

From King’s Cross Station, it took roughly four and a half hours to get to Waverley Station in Edinburgh.  The train ride was pleasant enough.  I had splurged a tiny bit on a first class ticket for this ride, so I got a nice window seat and my choice of sandwich and chips during the journey.   Some of the coastal views along the way were pretty spectacular.  At one point, I even saw a bright yellow helicopter hovering over the ocean just off the coast.  Alas, I have no telephoto lens.

On my arrival into Scotland, I checked into the hotel and then wandered around a bit.  I didn’t really have any plans for that first night, and I wound up going to the movie theatre and catching the Dark Knight Rises, which had been released that very day in the UK.

That night, I had a conversation with my partner-in-crime Jenny via text message.

Jenny: How is Edinburgh?
Me: Edinburgh is… under construction.

It wasn’t all of Edinburgh that was under construction, it just seemed like it.  The platform at the train station was under renovation, and the street my hotel was located on was also under significant construction.  It turns out that Edinburgh is undergoing significant work to put in a tram system.  Tracks are being laid down, traffic is being redirected in different places, and construction barriers are everywhere.

Edinburgh had a large set of Olympic rings set up in a park near Royal Mile, the stretch of road that leads to the Edinburgh castle.  Plus there were bagpipers all over.

Imagine my surprise to discover that they still have Police Information Boxes in Edinburgh!  I kept my eyes peeled for Timey Wimey things, but I didn’t see anything else out of the ordinary.

This gruesome looking tower is the Scott Monument, for Sir Walter Scott.  If you climb the 287 steps to the top, you get a spectacular view of Edinburgh.  Also, if you’re tall-ish like me, you get a pretty good whack to the noggin-  the archways are somewhat low.

From the top of the Scott Monument, you can see Arthur’s Seat in one direction. A lot of people make the hike up to the top, as it’s not all that far away.

…and in the other direction, you can see Edinburgh Castle and the buildings along Royal Mile.  As a side note, this is one of the single best photographs I have ever taken.

I was only in Edinburgh from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning.  My entire focus for going to Edinburgh was to see the Hitchhiker’s Guide Live show, which was pretty keen.  This edition of the live show included Neil Gaiman as The Book, and had a special guest appearance by John Hodgman as the meat of the day in Milliways.

After the show, I went to a pub next to the theatre for a drink,  where I bumped into John Hodgman in the men’s room.  This led to a brief and hilariously awkward conversation during which Hodgman was thoroughly polite despite the ridiculousness of the setting.

The next morning, before I headed to the airport, I went in search of a famous statue of Sherlock Holmes, only to discover after wandering around the place it was supposed to be that the statue was moved to storage in 2009 because of the tramworks.  It was supposed to have been replaced in 2011, but the tramworks are very, very, very behind schedule.