Day 2- Glasgow to Edinburgh
Apparently I’m the best sleeper out of the bunch. My prize was sleeping the most on the plane, however I was still the first to fall asleep tonight. I’m actually writing this on the third as we take a train back to Glasgow. Not to spoil the ending, but we were all asleep by 7:30 last night.
As we got off the plane, I had enough WiFi to connect with Richard Hall, one of my professors from UGA who is over here. He also happened to be the person who taught me how to bird in Central and North America. He was at the botanical gardens in Glasgow and invited us to meet up with him.
Off planing was much less eventful, customs wasn’t bad though we did get pulled aside for questioning. The guy wanted to know if we had weapons on us, and we laughed considering how many flights we had taken (afterwards not directly to him).
We caught a bus to Glasgow from the airport then an Uber (using the bus’s WiFi) to the botanical gardens. We got to the tea room for breakfast. The tearoom was an outdoor patio with tables and little umbrellas surrounded by wonderful lawn, some nicely pruned trees and bushes. Emily and I got tea and a bacon bap (almost like a bacon panini) and Goose, AK, and myself got fruit scones and clotted cream. I’m sure any British reader will be offended by this characterization but clotted cream tastes like a rich creamy butter. It was wonderful. The scones here are different then what I’ve always made at home. They’re darker in appearance (I’m sure they don’t sure all purpose flour like I do…) and we’re much more biscuit shaped. They were probably 3.5 to 4 inches in diameter with a similar height. I’m writing this more for myself in the future. The fruit was something like a golden raisin. I need to look more into that. I wish clotted cream was more available in Georgia. I’ve tried to make it before but the unavailability of the right cream and the long baking time has prohibited it so far. It’s nice to see what it should be though.
The tea was great as well. It was just a breakfast tea. It was served with milk and sugar, with each person getting a personal tea pot. I had the first cup “Black” and the added cream to the rest. It was a wonderfully spiced tea, that wasn’t overly powerful, but warm and comforting.
We talked with Richard for a while and got some suggestions for the last morning when we’re here again. He then headed off to Manchester to head home.
We took the opportunity to explore the gardens and get out into the sunshine for a bit. We went into the gardens greenhouse and saw beautiful plants from all over the world. There were many different rooms featuring vastly different environments, from begonias to epiphytes to cacti. My descriptions I’m sure are vague and uninteresting, but the gardens were quite overwhelming in my jet lagged state. I hope you forgive me. I did take quite the portfolio of photos, and I’ll try to post some to make up for my limited memory.
Ak volunteered to use her data to get an uber but it ended up not working. We walked down a bit to a cafe where Goose and AK got some drinks in exchange for the connection. They ordered an Uber and we went through the city to queens station. The train station was pretty hectic, but we managed to get tickets and get to the platform in time for the train.
I was very unimpressed with the unorderly que that formed for the train. With all the y’all about brits and their ques I expected more. Emily and I grabbed a seat, however we got one of the few seats without a view. The train carried us through the country side with a passive buzz and mild rocking. I’m pretty sure I was the only one not to fall asleep.
We arrived at the station in Edinburgh and it took a bit to get us all up and out again. We filed out of the station and we’re greeted with a cobble stone street, old stone houses, great churches with evil spires, and a huge castle on the hill. It happened to be the town where J.K. Rowling wrote the First Harry Potter and you could feel the atmosphere she used as her inspiration. It was drizzling a bit, so we headed to the hostel. We were staying at the Rock Hostel, just a stones throw from the Castle. The Edinburgh Castle is a imposing fortress that overlooks the city. It’s firmly imbedded in the slippery rock. It hardly took an imagination to be on the lookout for a dragon, or royalty.
The Hostel was rated one of the best mega hostels for a few years now and it didn’t disappoint. We had four rooms in the Scotland Football room. Each bed had a different football team as the name. I was in hearts.
We dropped our stuff and walked back out to the town. We slipped into an alley called Brodie’s Close to a little cafe called the Deacon’s House. We had another scone with tea and a sandwich. The English mustard is a spicy hard ground mustard that really came out in the sandwich. This scone was plane and served with butter and a raspberry jam. It was shaped very similarly as the one in the tea room. We went to an outdoor shop for Ben and Ak to get gas and hiking poles and for Emily and I to get alcohol for our stove. I could only buy it by the liter, though I only needed an ounce for both of us for the whole trip. I’ll leave it at a hostel for some other hiker to find. At the store we met a guy who had hiked a bit of the Appalachian Trail and biked the west Highland way. He ended up giving us a discount on all of our stuff.
We walked by and were greeted by another spectacular view of the castle. We dropped the stuff and went up to your the castle.
By the time we got up there we only were going to have an hour to go through the whole castle and the tickets were 20 pounds each, so we decided not to go in after all. Instead we walked around some more before ending up at a pub called brew dogs recommend by Clay Rowe. It was pretty American than we expected, but everything we had was good.
The rain had started again and we were getting tired so we headed out to find dinner. Not many places were open and didn’t require reservations so we ended up at a a little side street restaurant. Emily had a Hampshire pudding which was sausage and mash in a pastry like bowl and I had the fish and chips. I want to try haggis and blood pudding, but I think I’m going to let me stomach acclimate a bit first. A note about table service here, we haven’t figured out how to get a check without having to stare down and make multiple gestures to the waiter. Maybe they don’t want to intrude, but we have to spend the last 10 minutes of dinner trying to flag down our bill.
We almost fell asleep at dinner, but managed to get back to the hostel before falling asleep. We all sat down on the bed on our phones and next thing we knew it was 7:30 the next day.