Update Four - Travel brochure
Dafty looking? Yes.
Okay, before going any further, click here and start downloading this movie...I'll have you watch it later!
Time is cruising by here in Scotland. I've been working a ton (well, okay maybeseveral hundred kilograms...), and I've been spending my time reading, exploring the countryside as
well as the city-scape, and discovering new and exciting clubs and pubs to play in. A few
weeks ago, along with a few boxes containing some of the best (and most expensive, I'm
sure) cookies I've ever taisted, we were graced with the luck of Emily's friend, Jessica
showing up at our door.
I immediatly told her that she could not stay, as I will not tollerate visitors in our flat, but
eventually gave in when she showed us that half of her two reasonably-sized suitcases
contained nothing but treats--things of the comfort of the USA. Did you know that it is
actually impossible to get any sort of decent peanut butter over here? I abhor some of the
'spreads' people put on their bread over here. Rediculous.
Like I said, rediculous.
So what's the best thing to do when you get to Scotland? To be honest, I had no idea, so we
just took Jessica out and showed her the town. Two points of interrest lie in some events that
I had been personally planning on expediting sooner or later. First off was a trip to Arthor's
Seat. From most places in Edinburgh you can see either the Salsbury Craigs or Arthur's Seat,
two jutting pieces of rock that are the remains of an extinct volcano. With a massive summit
of 251m ( 823 feet ), Arthur's Seat is surrounded by 650 acres of Holyrood Park, set just on
the edge of the citycenter of Edinburgh
About halfway up Arthur's Seat.
They actully look a lot more menacing than they really are, as we hiked up and back in an
easy afternoon. But with brilliant views of the city and surrounding country side, how could anyone want anything more? The pictures kind of say a lot, but let me give you some sort of commentary. In the northwest is the center of Edinburgh. You can see the castle and a few other landmarks in the area. As you scan around to the left, you can see the medows, huge spreads of brilliant green grass, and I've yet to figure out what that huge circus-looking big-top is.
Edinburgh Castle, A few miles in the distance.
A big top?
Keep cruising around and you'll see the south country side, which eventually runs into the Firth of Fourth. Contuning around is the eastern 'burbs' and eventually the Palace, residence of 'Her Royal Majesty,' the Queen. An interresting note on titles here, which are yet another curious oddity of the UK, and all that remains of the old class system, less the queen. I've met a few people of 'royalty' here, one of which works in the pub down the Royal Mile. Her father is a Lord and mother a 'Lordess' (???). Her passport says 'The Honorable' and then her name. Quite funny, considering this girl is about my age, and is wearing dirty jeans, a t-shirt, a flannel, and a greasy baseball hat. Brilliant!
A nifty 360 degree shot, a compilation of about
13 photographs taken from a small pillar at the top. (Thanks Bret!)
Now, I have to say that my trusty little camera is turning out to be a really nifty little toy. If not for it, this page may not be here today, in all it's...well..beauty? Anyway, from the top of Arthur's Seat, I was able to do a massive zoom shot, in the direction of my flat, which you can *just* about see, were it not for the angle. Here's a schweet progressive zoom:
Zoom! Zoom! Zoom!
Okay, is that video done downloading yet? If so, go ahead and watch it now. The commentary goes something like, 'Hey Jessica! Hey Nick! Hey everybody! It's me, on top of Arthur's Seat...I live just over....there, right there!'
What makes this little jaunt so great is that in the span of a few hours, one can set off on an adjustable-level adventure and end up with glorious views of the city, no matter what the weather decides to do on a given day. Scotland is a bit like Colorado in that an opportune day can present itself for a gread expedition and it could end up cloudy and raining after about twenty minutes. It is for this reason that I carry an umbrella with me almost wherever I go, and learn that if I don't have my umbrella to either walk very closely behind someone that does (this gets mixed reactions) or just get wet.
On this particular day we didn't get wet, but it was cloudy, and we chose the 'high' adventure setting. We sort of took the long way up, meandering around the royal palace, and eventually making our way to the base of the park, zealously asking passer-by's how to get 'up there!' We eventually found our way, and after the above photo ops, we noticed that it would be much quicker if we wend down in the direction of the city, instead of coming up the back side--only to be met near the peak by elderly people and soccer-moms pushing buggies (strollers--it turns out you can actually drive about half-way up.). So we promptly started coming down, quite literally, in leaps and bounds. I've been downhill skiing a good portion of my life, and if it was not for the lack of snow and abundance of rocks, this would have been a great ride. Instead, it was a bit tedious and like skiing in slow-motion. But still immensly fun.
I kept having flashbacks to breaking my wrist by falling
down half of Lone Mountain in Big Sky, Montana.
What's next on the list of stuff to do here? Well, we're in Scotland, why not go out for sushi? Sushi? Yea, sushi. There's this great restaraunt that recently opened up down on Rose St, a stretch of road just off of one of the main drags here that boasts upwards of 20 pubs in just a few blocks. Trouble, to be certain.
Not really. Rose street is limited to padestrian traffic only, making it a nice place to cruise along, poke your head in a few shops, and get some great food withought having to listen to traffic race by, much less worry about getting ran over by the insane bus/rally drivers around the city.
The food comes right to you!
Yo! Sushi! is as modern sushi bar as they come. All of the little plates come cruising around to the bar and tables via a small conveyor-belt that twists and winds its way around the entire restaraunt. Drinks are served by a small robot cart that winds its way around the bar and tables, stopping only if you touch it or stand directly in its way--in which case it politely asks you to move--otherwise it just finds its way about. What fun!
Hurray for raw fish!
Now here's where the story really gets interresting. Although I have no photographic evidence of the following event, none is really needed. After stuffing ourselves with raw fish, we made our way hastily back towards an area near our flat which housed the Guilded Balloon II, one of the major venues for the Fringe Festival. The star act of the Guilded Balloon are two Australian performers with a show called 'Puppetry of the Penis.' All I'll say here is that the show was quite shocking, but also quite excellent. The jokes were pretty bad, but I laughed the entire time. Be sure and check out their website, as this is actually a quite reputable show...'high brow,' if you will.
So after catching the 10:30 showing of one of the headline acts of the festival, we decided that the night was officially young, and proceded to bring Miss Jessica around to the various night-life attractions of Edinburgh, ending in the wee hours of the morning. You, to, should travel to Scotland with me and learn the ways of the force, like your father. Because while the above saga may seem irresistably fun, it was all in a day's work, and it's all part of the show. All I ask for is a week rest between visitors, lest my bank account shall run dry and my body might collapse from the exhaustive fun that is my life in Edinburgh. Well, okay, my days off. Thank you, and good night.