Tuesday morning. More lugging of the luggage (I packed like such a girl for this trip and will not do so again!), this time on the tube to King’s Cross Station to connect (with three minutes to spare! brilliant!) with the Intercity high speed train up to Edinburgh. A pleasant enough way to spend 4 hours or so; writing, gazing out at blurred countryside; coffee. But with impatience, these hours can start to feel long.
Arrival at the Station in Edinburgh finally; around 4:30 I think? (16:30 there) Rain. A Search for Cowgate, a street which was not shown to be under South Bridge on the map Anders consulted. Bad map. So, a longer walk than anticipated, but- BUT! Even with luggage, and in a chill afternoon rain- here is a city which captivates instantly. One climbs the seemingly interminable Waverly Steps to Princes Street, and BEHOLD. A city like none I’ve ever seen. A city of such severe contrasts and such beauty; it is otherworldly. Here I will stop with this nonsense; look out for a link to photographs in the near future.
So, we reach the Cowgate Tourist Hostel (dreadful name to begin with), to find that our reservations had been muddled, so the proprietor assigned us to an unoccupied six-person suite. Suite; wrong word. The hostel (the Hostile Hostel as it would come to be known by us) was made up of apartments, each with several rooms, a shower room, a toilet room, plus a kitchen (the only spot in which smoking was permitted). The room we entered was dank and dour, had three metal bunk beds (oh yes- bunk beds), two wonky wardrobes, and– nothing else. Not a stick of furniture or decor otherwise. But! At least there was a view to a construction zone out the window! Ha! We cast off the initial woe, dressed for dinner, and headed out in search of a phone box to connect with fellow Park Sloper, Ben, who also happened to be in the city; his last night in Edinburgh. He’d left a note with reception.
After finally connecting with him, and a couple of pints to shrug off the rain, we set off to find a pub still serving dinner, and found ourselves upstairs at the Deacon Brodie’s. Oddly enough, it looked like early bird special hour at Denny’s (the clientele- not the dining room)- perhaps a tour group? But our food was brilliant, especially as we’d not eaten since breakfast. After dinner: much tasting of various cask ales and single malts at a pub down a close called the Jolly Judge, followed by an absurd turn at the open-after-hours (that’s after 11 or midnight over there, kids) Apex Hotel Bar. Toward the end of our evening there, we were accosted (not literally) by a very drunk and seemingly half-gay elderly gentleman, whose wife (beard?) had passed out on one of the hotel bar couches. He bought us [unwanted as we were trying to leave] drinks and treated us to a terribly surreal wind-up for our sort of Mindwalk (with-pints-and-single-malts-poured-on) evening.