14 October : Edinburgh day four

Friday: Climbing the Seat day!! We awake feeling a bit “fumie”– too many whiskeys- and we have overslept! Missed our free brekkie in the room downstairs. We hasten to dress and prepare for the day; Anders recalls a diner of sorts along Southbridge which serves breakfast all day, so that is our first destination. Scrambled eggs, toast, much juice (Anders got the “full English,” [Scottish in this case] as it is known, with bangers, bacon and beans as well). Ready!

We take the east end of Cowgate down towards the Horse Wynd and Holyrood, for a variation from the high street. As we begin up the path, we notice a fellow hippie-crawler ahead of us. He’s eating granola; we laugh. He takes a divergent path finally, after we spot the remains of some old building and decide that will be our first “crawl”. We eye the many pathways leading up, and decide upon one that looks the most friendly. About two-thirds of the way up, however, this seemingly non-threatening hippie crawl suddenly turns into a full-on “Gollum-crawl“! (This was what we had dubbed the impossibly steep pathways up to the Crags which we’d spotted the day before from the Wynd) Having been in the lead, I turn back to Anders and say “Umm, Anders? Our easy pathway has just gone full Gollum.” We laugh like stoners or lunatics and begin our ascent, hand over hand; there’s no looking anywhere, save to choose the next solid spot upon which to place one’s hand or foot. Intense, and made the more difficult as we ‘tards are still laughing like idiots the whole way up. Finally we reach the ruins; remainders of what was once St. Anthony’s Chapel. We snap some photos, but are only mildly interested, as our climb has gotten both our heads away from sight-seeing mode and into full hippie-crawler mode. This challenge was a corner turned; a new and exciting perspective for we city-dwellers.

I won’t describe the remainder of our way up to Arthur’s Seat, nor back into the vale (down some very Gollum steps) and up to the top of the Crags; I will say only that spending the day in such an atmosphere and busy focused on choosing one’s footing, the occasional pang of vertigo, the view all round from 800+ feet up– it’s such a high (no pun intended)– one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done. I shall certainly try to incorporate days like that into future travels- so f*ing brilliant.

Another excerpt:
“I felt a sadness as we returned to pavement–
felt a loss at the ease of it”

Dinner at the Black Bull along the pub/hotel row (at which point I finally sorted the map with the territory in my head, as here, too, was Apex City Hotel bar, from first night when I left navigation to the boys) There was a group of friars in the pub, surrounded by interested parties, many of whom wished to have a photo with them. Hilarious. God, where did we head after that? Aha! Yes, it was Friday night, along that pub row, so we hung around for a bit- next stop was The Last Drop, where, hysterically, we ran into the friars again (we’d noticed their absence as we exited the Black Bull). Then a drink at Finn’s (aka “Finn McCool’s”), where I talked with our bartendress about New York a bit, followed by some exploring off the row and towards the home base; we landed briefly at a Pub known as Doctor’s, which was chock-a-block full of university kids. We are “oldsters” in there (bah!), and the lights are very bright, so we don’t tarry long, though it was interesting people-watching. We wind up, of course, having last call at Bennet’s, where we see our Grace again, and have one of the local men snap a photo of the three of us.

Yet another night whereupon one falls immediately into deep and deserved sleep as the head hits the pillow.

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