Dream trip Day 97 Scottish fry up, train to Glasgow, Drygate Brewery

Even though my hostel was literally across the street from the city’s main train depot, or is it train station? At what point does it become a depot?

At any rate, I had all afternoon as it was a 1 hour train ride so I had to kill some time due to the late afternoon check in.

I had talked with one of my friends about a beer that we felt should have been easy to obtain in Scotland: McEwan’s Scotch Ale. Turns out it is made by an English brewery.

Using a beer finder app, I located a bar that a user reported had McEwan’s beer, plus they served breakfast. I’d need both things before heading to Glasgow.

I packed up my bags and headed into the overcast day. A few turns and I was at the Black Rose Tavern.

This was the pub I should’ve gone to most nights, it was real Scottish pub/music venue!

They had an all day Scottish breakfast consisting of eggs, hashbrown toast, haggis, black and white pudding, fried tomato and mushrooms. It was sooo much food!

This was one of my favorite meals on my trip. It was the 1st of many UK style fry ups that I’d have in Scotland, Ireland and England.

This was my first encounter with pudding, aka blood sausage. It came in black and white options. I presumed the black was the one made with blood, while the white was just a regular breakfast sausage. Both are delicious especially when dragged through the runny yolk of a fried egg.

Again, haggis isn’t bad and I enjoyed having it again. A nice Scottish meal sendoff from Edinburgh!

I did get a McEwan’s but not their scotch ale, it was a draft lager. My group of friends back home discovered this beer and hounded the bar where we visited to carry it. That was years ago, the brewery stopped exporting it for some reason.

Making my way back to the train station was easy, the hard part was finding the right place to buy tickets, then finding the correct track.

Lucky for me, Scotland has an intern program so there were people all over the station desperate for someone to ask them a question.

Not only was I pointed to the right booth for tickets, I had enough time to get the next train to Glasgow.

I was quite fortunate with my trains, but soon enough, I’d stumble like we all do.

Only an hour trip which flew by as fast as the countryside. A lovely country, made me wish I went up to the Highlands to see more.

I’d selected a YMCA style hostel near the tracks, but I only elected to stay 1 night so I could check out the place and that part of the city.

It was about a half hour’s walk through the bustling downtown. I arrived with still time before my check in time so I elected to wash clothes until they would let me into my room.

After washing I was able to check in. My room was empty when I got into my bunk for a nap, then was completely full when I awoke.

I noticed that there seemed to be 1 person who never left their room. They would arrange their bed with a sheet door so they wouldn’t be disturbed.

Some would be on their phones chatting, skypeing or just playing games their entire stay, from what I saw. At least I would have some stories other than hey remember that time we talked when I was in Scotland? Yeah that was cool….

I got dressed and mapped out a route to the nearest brewery, Drygate Brewery.

My route took me through an industrial part of town with not many houses, but I soon faintly heard music.

I saw a pub across the road I was walking and they were blasting Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35. You know that song: Everybody must get stoned.

Well this was a karaoke version lead by a man with the most stereotypical Scottish brouge I’ve heard to this point.

He was also adding in lyrics in between Dylan’s so it went:

They’ll stone ya when yer walking down the street (tha bastards!)

They’ll stone you when you’re tryin’ to keep your seat (cunts!)

They’ll stone you when you’re walkin’ on the floor (wankers!)

This is what I heard all down the street, big grin on my face. What a welcome to the city!

After turning away from the loud pub, I was on a main thoroughfare with lots of shops, pubs and restaurants.

Another right hand turn and while I thought I was heading the wrong way, the empty lots and warehouses gave way to the brewery.

It was a 2 story building with several picnic benches on an outside patio.

I made my way through the large indoor bar. In the back was the store where you can buy beer to go.

This would never work in Texas. The current law, unchanged since Prohibition, requires a 3rd party distributor. You can brew beer but you cannot just sell it directly to a person.

Sparse crowd out tonight, a week night and early at that. I’d soon learn they closed early too.

I picked up my pint and opted to sit outside, there was another group of guys out there as well as a table of girls, maybe it was a mixed group.

The sun went down just like the beer in my pint glass.

I sauntered back to the bar where I was informed this would be my last beer, but I could buy 2 if I liked.

Opting to taste a couple beers, I selected my final pint and sat down inside.

A girl came in and ask me for a lighter which I lent her. I’d gotten into the habit when traveling of carrying a lighter as it is a good way to meet people, start a conversation.

“You from Glasgow?” I ventured.

“Have to run, thanks for the light, cheers!” Came the reply.

I returned to my beer. Sometimes it works, sometimes it don’t.

The walk back was a bit concerning due to the low light. They really needed to upgrade or install more lights, as several times I had to walk down a dark street.

No loud karaoke from the pub I’d passed before, just a group of people out front.

Once again I’m faced with McDonald’s as a late night option as there was 1 across the street from my hostel. Nah it isn’t real food.

I’d read this book and stopped eating fast food a few years ago. This trip was my ultimate test. Could I resist a taste of home?  A taste of something familar, or ould I venture out and try some local restaurants, a taste local flavors?

Tonight I won the battle and still don’t know what McD’s tastes like overseas.

A good travel day, tomorrow I explore Glasgow!

 

Beer: Ax Man

Song:  Belle & Sebastian   Stars of Track and Field

Dream trip Day 96 Princes Garden, bagpipes, nightclubbing

Last day in Edinburgh. I’d found 5 days to be a good amount of time in a place. You didn’t feel rushed, had time to unpack and unwind.

Anything less than 5 days in a city I felt rushed, like I had just arrived. I liked to unpack my bag and get laundry done every Sunday.

All the thing you normally don’t want to do are what you end up missing. Chores, errands, all the mundane, tedious activities that come with living in a home or apartment, that’s what you end up missing on a long trip.

I enjoyed a cup of coffee at the bar next to my hostel, which was surprisingly full of families, locals. I soon headed out and hit the streets.

Ascending the stairs yet again, I paused at the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde pub, based on a real Edinburgh resident, Deacon Brodie. By day he was a furniture maker and city councilor. By night he was a gambler and thief with several mistresses.

He made furniture and keys for people he eventually robbed since he had their keys and trust based on his good standing. The legend has it he designed the gallows on which he was hung for his crimes.

It is quite an interesting true tale should you care to read it.

Fringe Festival was still in full swing so I walked the Golden Mile pausing here and there to listen to a songwriter or see performers dance.

Such a bustling area, full of people walking, crowding around a performer and just having a great time. I do highly recommend if you are to visit Edinburgh, going during the August Fringe Festival is a great time

Had my final pies at Piemaker, another spot I’d recommend. A great way to start the day.

I took up a locals advice about a walk through the Princes street gardens, a green space near city centre.

It was a great, tree covered walk. They were setting up a stage for a performance that night and were playing some tunes on a towering rows of speakers.

I took at seat on a grassy hill and watched the workers building scaffolding for a bit. I turned my gaze onto some kids playing and saw a carousel, so I walked a bit further to get a good view of the carousel.

I don’t see many carousels in the US. I like that they are fun for kids so it’s a good people watching spot if I ever spy one. Round and round they go! They are finally free as most parents stand and watch or take pictures.

Soon I moved over to a bench and spied the castle from afar, perfectly framed between some trees, a Scottish flag flapping in the breeze.

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It moments like this that while I knew I missed a lot of must see spots in the cities I visited, I needed to focus on enjoying everything I did see.

I doubt that anyone living in a city sees all the sites either, all the historic places of interest so why beat myself up over missing them too?

I was walking several miles per day so I was seeing a lot, but I didn’t have a top 10 list I was trying to cram in. I’d done that before and grew to dislike the hurried nature of pursing a list of must see attractions.

Pausing at another bench I watched a street bagpiper play. I’m pretty sure Scotland during the national tattoo festival is about the only time a bagpiper is tolerated on a busy city corner.

The lone piper was fully dressed up with tall black hat, jacket with belt strapped around his chest, and kilt. Lots of oddly placed buckles adorned his attire too.

You do get into bagpipes sound eventually, the droning repetitive nature of the instrument does lull you when played properly. Or perhaps I have some Scottish blood in me that makes these tones set off feelings and memories.

I watched the sun go down whilst the piper blew his pipes. A nice end to a nice day.

Winding my way closer to my hostel via the cobblestone streets. Upon arrival I was shocked to find the pub next door was full.

It seems while I thought this bar was mainly for people at the hostel, it was a locals spot on weekends.

The Doric next door, where I saw the live band, was also full, too.

On the corner in the other direction I recalled a big pub so I went in to check the scene there.

I was in the UK equivalent to a sports bar. Pool tables, shuffle boards, TV’s everywhere showed current and past sporting events.

Not feeling in the mood to walk into the night for another option, I saddled up to the bar and ordered a pint.

To this point, I’d had bad experiences with stag parties, aka guys bachelor party where they are only out to get drunk and screw chicks. Tonight I encountered 2 hen parties, aka gal’s bachelorette party where they also just want to get drunk and screw guys…or gals.

Shortly after I sat down, a group of girls arrives, the bride has a shash that reads: brides just wanna have fun!

They proceed to order 2 rounds of shots, each time toasting ‘to finding some hot lads’

The maid of honour encourages the ladies to “get out there and find some fit cock!”

I knew some girls did this just as guys do, we are all human with desires, we just express these desires differently. But, they didn’t even look my way. How rude!

Throughout the night another hen party came in and began taking shots at the bar.

These parties usually dressed up the same with same colored shirt, white letters spelling out their group’s name and the parties event name:  “McKenna’s Wedding Party. There will be no surviors!” You know that sort of thing.

It wasn’t a crazy evening, no fights, no heated arguements, just a night on the town.

Edingburgh surprised me. I only picked it due to the affordable plane price. It’s wonderful, historic city. It was one of the most scenic places I went on my trip.

The Fringe Fest was another amazing bonus. People sure are talented and I saw many performers accomplishing many feats.

And hey, anywhere that in August, you had to buy a hoodie due to the cool weather, is a great escape from a place that regularly had August temps over 100.

Hooray Edginburgh! On to Glasgow.

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Beer: Deuchars IPA

Song:  Edwyn Collins  A Girl Like You

Dream trip Day 95 Arthur’s Seat, street performers, a live quartet

It must have been travel day because the pub was full this morning, nowhere to sit and charge my phone.

There was a luggage room with couches I could use though so I started my day there.

I was not the only on in the suitcase storage room, there were 2 couches and one had a female with  a sheet pulled over her hair.

No sense waking her up to chat so I put in my headphones. Within 5 minutes, a girl comes in and begins blow-drying her hair.

The sleeping girl rustles and makes a sound. She was trapped, can’t ask someone to be quiet in a room that isn’t meant for sleeping. Yet why of all the places to dry ones hair was this girl here though?

Also as a balding man, I don’t understand the need for blow-drying one’s hair. Is hair mildew an issue? I  air dry my head hair, but it isn’t past my shoulder’s.

As it turns out the previously sleeping girl had arrived very late and had elected to forgo paying full price for only a few hours. It is a strange thing, all the rules about check in, out times but the biggest one is no discounts if you get in very late.

I mean, things happen, plans are delayed, roads get closed at night. I figured deals could be made, but in my experience, there is only 1 price no matter if you use a bed for 1 hour or 12 hours.

Today was a satchel day as I needed to carry water. I was going hiking up Arthur’s Seat, a small mountain near town.

Well it is much bigger than a hill or mound, but not a mountain.

If you are traveling, it is a good idea to get a messenger bag or some sort of over the shoulder satchel for carrying small items.

Inside your satchel should be a durable water vessel. You’ll save a lot of €, £ or $ on water, which you need during the day.

To maximize your savings, don’t buy water, tea or coffee. Little expenses add up.

Spending 2$ per day on water everyday for 30 days = 60$. That is 1 if not 2 nights cost of a room in a hostel. All you have to do is buy a water bottle…

Breakfast was at Piemaker again. They had quite a variety at  reasonable prices. It was also quite filling food.

It was perhaps a mile walk from High St to the entrance to Arthur’s Seat. You have 2 entrance options, both lead up. I elected to take the route with stairs options.

There is also another route that has hills going up. It isn’t hiking per se, but it is for sure more than just walking.

The stair route took about 15min of non stop walking. I was definitely winded but once you’re on top, your breath is going to be taken away at the view!

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Looking out to the west was the North Sea.

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The wind whips by at great speed. It’s so fast that a couple times I felt I would be lifted off the ground or more realistically my hat would blow off.

It was so beautiful, so I sat down for a few moments, to my left was aerial view of Edinburgh, to my left was the North Sea.

Alls well. I’ll remember this for a long time. Be sure to visit Arthur’s Seat, it is a wonderful place.

There are trails in other directions around the seat, it is a large park. I saw several long worn paths in the green grass.

The path down just seemed like a steep decline, but there were moments where it looked like you had to grab on to pull yourself up. A light hike, I’d say.

I soon recognized I’d been in this area before once I saw the Scottish Parliament building.

It was a road that lead to High Street. It also passed a fish and ship shop. I felt being back in the UK, I should have a proper fish n chips meal.

The entire menu was fried items, pizza, cookies, vegetables, most anything you could think of they’d fry up.

The size of the fish and chips I soon received was intimidating. Felt like a pound of thick cut potatoes, chips with a big fried fish that was cut into 2 halves, a few inches of both ends of the fish jutted out of the styrofoam box.

It wasn’t too greasy, nice flaky breading. I added a brown sauce the guy behind the counter said I should have. It was like vinegar-y ketchup.

So much food! Too much food, I had to throw a lot out. I wondered if fish and chips warms up well as a leftover? Maybe put it in the over vs. microwave.

Now full I made my way to catch as many performers as I could.

I saw a singer songwriter with a guitar. A sword swallower. A fire breather. Groups of dancers. A drum group who pounded out rhythms while chanting. A contortionist who fit through a tennis racket. Why there was even a guy yelling bible verses at everyone, but maybe he was just a local who was there every week.

The long street was blocked off for cars so there was lots of room for performers. It was quite a remarkable spectacle!

I found the stairs that lead down to my hostel. There seemed to be several ways to get to High St. I usually followed a road, but there were now 2 sets of stairs I could use.

What made this set of stairs cool was the fact there was a small restaurant on the left and a covered walkway. Looks like someone had a room up there!

Tonight I opted to try the nice pub a couple doors down from my hostel. It was a good thing I did.

The place was full, seats along the walls to the left and right, and in the middle were 5 musicians facing each other and a table. They played acoustic instruments: guitar, fiddle, pipe, a drum and mandolin.

I got a pint and a place to sit just as they began a new tune. A small lady played the violin standing up for the first few measures before holding it to her side. She sang a mournful tune.

They played several tunes alternating from slow dirges to faster tempo hoedowns. I heard a lot of jumping off points for bluegrass in this style of music.

They played for a couple hours. I noticed that as people left, they tossed in a coin or note into a bowl on the table. Ah ye old tip jar.

I made a point to drop some £ soon after I finished my pint. What a wonderful evening of music!

And they weren’t a band, they were just individuals who played there!

I popped into the pub next to my hostel to see if anything was going on. I knew nothing could top what I just heard but you never know.

There was a few people hanging out there, one guy motions to me and then the bartender. He had just bought me a pint.

The bartendress just smiled and poured me a pint, “He’s just arrived, been buying anyone who comes by a pint. He doesn’t talk much tho. Cheers!” she said as she plopped my pint onto the bar.

The guy who bought me the beer never spoke to me, just acknowledged me while dancing with his girl. He bought me 2 pints that night and I don’t know his name or where he is from.

Thanks mystery guy wherever you are!

Beer: Tennent’s lager

Song: Big Country  Big Country

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Dream trip Day 94 Tattoo festival, walking tour, the Hanging Bat

Another gloomy, overcast day in Scotland. Perfect for a walking tour!

Yet again, I was unable to charge my phone overnight in my room so I had to take a leisurely breakfast while it charged.

Today I just had some coffee, figuring that the Piemaker was just down the street, so  I should go there. Better quality food and a bit more affordable.

I got into a small talk with a local gal who also needed to charge her phone so we shared a table and outlet.

She was a nice Scottish lass, very talkative and friendly. Fringe Fest was her time in the city when she went out every night to catch a performance.

We talked awhile, me drinking coffee, her screwdrivers. She gave me a few hot spots to check out in the city, namely Princes Street Gardens and university area for free views.

I was given a list of shows not to be missed for the next couple days. She was less enthused when I suggested we check them out together.

“Oi, my boyfriend would not go for that. Neither would my girlfriend, ha!” She replied. “But you are cute, keep asking girls around here, you’ll be fine!” came the reply as she snatched up her phone.  Swing and a miss.

I’d located a walking tour that met in the city square not too far away. I should have time to get a pie and make it by meeting time.

For some reason, I see stairs as a personal challenge by architecture to me. It’s as if they are taunting me, trying to tell me there are too many steps up and I shouldn’t bother trying to ascend them.

Wrong again stairs, I win.

I was in luck again as the Piemaker had haggis rolls today so I was finally able to try haggis, a dish I’d heard of for years.

It wasn’t bad! It wasn’t good either. I wouldn’t turn it down if someone offered haggis to me, but I wouldn’t seek it out.

Haggis= all sheep organs chopped up with oats , onion and spices, then boiled in sheep’s stomach. Sounds great, eh!?

I also had a traditional English meat pie which was great. Reminded me of Salisbury steak wrapped up in a roll.

Now fortified, I made my way to a statue to start my walking tour. Always look for a free walking tour in any city you visit. They are always great and led by real people who live there.

My guy was a stout man, wearing a beard and kilt. He looked like he would’ve walked around with a sword too but it wasn’t socially acceptable anymore. Instead he carried a walking stick that was as tall as him.

A true renaissance man.

He had a booming voice and a tendency for using the joining statement, “nonetheless…” to unite his stories about the history of Edinburgh.

We paused for a while at a statue of David Hume, where people touch a toe for good luck which polished it compared to the dull green hue the rest of the statue had turned due to years of exposure to the elements.

Passing under an arch we were in a 4 story building’s courtyard. We then got a lesson in social standing in old Edinburgh. If you were working poor, you stayed on the bottom floor, due to the practice of people tossing their waste into the street, you got to smell that all day and night.

The very poor stayed in the attic, no heat, very little insulation from the elements.

The wealthy stayed in the middle floors, above the stench of the street.

Robbery, theft was fairly common in these days so builders would create an oddly placed stair that you only noticed going down, thus if you were trying to make a quick escape or just leaving, you may miss it and break a leg.

We did pass by the castle where we were informed that cannons were placed there for looks only, they never fired them back when the castle was in use. Queen Elizabeth I felt that a castle should have cannons so they added some.

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As we circled the castle there was a large line of people waiting to get into the stadium. It was the country’s tattoo festival.

Not that kind of tattoo, bagpipes. Groups of bagpipers from all over competed to be the best group in the land.

They take the term tattoo to refer to last call at pubs who took to playing a regiment’s corps of drum as a way to get soldiers back to their barracks at a reasonable hour.

In Dutch they would say doe den tap toe  (turn off the taps).  Try saying that pharse in english quickly, sorta sounds like tattoo.

We soon made our way to a cemetery where I learned that JK Rowling wrote about Harry Potter while living here. See would usually write in a coffee shop after strolling through this cemetary.

Many of the headstones were smooth due to age and erosion, but a couple had new headstones as Rowling borrowed some of the names from these headstones for characters in the book.

While she wrote these books in a particular coffee shop, one grew tired of being asked if they were the  coffee shop where Rowling wrote they put up a sign, “Rowling didn’t drink coffee and write here.” She actually did pop in for coffee there, saw the sign and promptly signed it, “And I never will,” and left.

Our tour ended in hangman’s square where we heard about the lady who was hanged but survived. Reading the letter of the law it only stated ‘hung by the neck,’ nothing about til death so she was a free lady and opened a pub overlooking that very square where she almost died. Soon after the law was changed, “hung by the neck until death.”

I’d done a spot of research about the craft beer scene in the city and other than BrewDog, there was a small microbrewery named, The Hanging Bat.

Very modern pub, pretty sure food was served on just thick, round cuts of wood, not plates.

Still they had some good beers here. I even recognized a couple guys who worked at BrewDog having pints.

It was around end of work day time so the pub filled in with nicely dressed people. I still didn’t miss work, not yet.

Exiting the now full pub, I was in search of reasonably priced food. The Bat did have food, but it seemed like small bites, appetizers.

Ah here we go, a potato shop. Looks to be a brick oven of foiled, baked potatoes. There must have been 30 toppings from haggis, chicken salad, to standard cheese, butter, chives.

I got a potato with an ungodly amount of cheese, he just threw a literal handful of cheese on it. He may have been working with the Scottish dairy industry.

It was good and I was able to chat up the owner who told me some cool facts about the city, country. He really loved Scotland. He said Glasgow and the highlands to the north were worth a trip.

Soon enough, I’d take him up on his offer by going west, to Glasgow.

On my walk home, I again was struck by how cold it was, especially as the sun went down. 50’s in August is quite unusual for a Texas boy and I couldn’t image a winter if that was the avg temp in the heat of summer.

I caught a couple performers on the walk back, and man, they really could vamp, promising an amazing trick, coming up soon, just need a few more people…

It was literally like sitting through a 10 min ad on YouTube for 20 seconds of content. I caught a fire breather show this night.

I was at my pub and tonight was their weekly pub crawl so it was very crowded. I was soon joined by some English kids at my table who were waiting to go on the crawl.

These types of things go on all the time and while they are usually great way to meet people, it was mainly an occassion to get black out drunk. Not my scene.

The organizers of the trip were setting up, one had a bottle and as each person was checked in, he poured a shot into their mouths. He had a spigot so it was a slow pour.

He soon came around to our table and got the English kids before asking me why I wasn’t going and I said it wasn’t my thing. He said I should at least have a shot, open wide!

I’m not sure what it was,  maybe grape vodka, but I recall it was purple liquid.

Soon the place was empty and I sat charging my phone, watching fubol.

This bar had big windows with shutters that were open this cool night. A guy yelled hey at me and motioned for me to join him outside.

We talked a bit, I had taken to carrying a lighter so I lit his cig. Soon he said we should go next door for 1 more pint, on him.

No sooner than he set foot into the door, the bartender said “Oi, out, out, out mate. We can’t keep doing this,” as he strode over ready to physically remove the guy who just turned and left mumbling under his breath.

I’m not sure what he did but he was banned from that pub. The bartender apologized, I said I had just met him and didn’t know his story.

I had a pint as they were calling for last drinks. The bartender recommended I come back in a couple nights, they had live, traditional music.

It was back to raining as I left the pub, at least I only had to go a couple doors down.

Another fine day in Edinburgh! Tomorrow was Arthur’s Seat.

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Beer: The Kernel Brewery  Table Beer

Song: Jesus and Mary Chain  Head On

Dream trip Day 93 Fringe festival, High Street, Golden Mile

I had no idea I was staying during the largest outdoor festival in the UK, yet it is true, check it out.

This building was old, very few outlets, only one in our room so it was full. No power strips either. This was frustrating as most travelers have 3 things they need charged.

It had happened before so you just had to find the correct adapter and take your phone, iPad, battery with you for bfest.

My hostel was next to a pub, restaurant who served basic meals. Eggs, bacon, burgers, chicken options. Nothing too hard or fancy.

Today I got a beer with my meal, figured why not. It was in between time, not early yet not noon.

I was beginning to enjoy an afternoon coffee anyway. Plus free, good coffee here, just tell them you are staying at the hostel. Got a % off food too. Score

It was lightly raining so I wasn’t going anywhere for awhile. And my phone needed charging, I was a prisoner to technology, electricity.

Rugby on the telly here, previous nights highlights from across the nation, UK.

Soon enough my phone was charged and I had an idea where I was, where to go and what to see.

Just up the hill, up 1 of the many hills in Edinburgh, was High Street.

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All along High St and others in the heart of the city, were street performers from all across the UK, hell the world!

You could go into clubs all over the city and pay to see magicians, comedians, anything people could perform.

There was also many street performers, some by themselves, others had up to 10 people in their dance troupes.

Most of High St was blocked off to cars, making walking much safer, easier.

The crowds were huge, it was hard to get a good view of some performers. Due to the quantity of performers, this didn’t matter. Just walk a bit and there would be another performer just starting up.

I walked down the street, passed all sorts of shops, pubs, and food joints until I wound up at a very modern, odd building.

Oh my, Scottish Parliament! This was quite a different style of gov building, Check it out!

I just circled back, taking the same street back to my neighbourhood.

I saw a balancer, well a guy balancing, like I’ve never seen. He was on a ball, changing boards, adding more layers of balance. Unbelievable guy, wow.

Humans and their bodies, their talents can do so many amazing things and I saw a lot on display along the road ahead.

Now this wasn’t free, well it was but you are encouraged to tip, drop a bill in the hat. Thing is  there are 1£ coins so they would comment about how ‘that one didn’t sound like a quid!’

The other joke was when it came time to ask for tips, performers work for tips, give me tips, they always said that ‘if you’re from the States, America, tip 10-20£.’

I’d say most acts had 5-ish actual min of show, the rest of their time was trying to get more people out, jokes, pitches asking for money, just general stalling for the big finish, the denouement.

The show was over with a big flourish! This was the time I saw a big guy stand on a board with nails facing the performers chest. “It’s never been done before!” Next show is tomorrow at 1, 3, 5…

Man it was cool out, even during the day. I needed a hoodie in August!

It took some time but I found the one road that lead to low street, or the one beneath High St. You can’t have a High St without a low road. haha

Down down down the steep street.

I was en route to BrewDog, which is a Scottish brewery. I’d been to one of their brewpubs in Barcelona a couple months ago, so I knew the beer was great.

The pub I was at wasn’t their HQ or their 1st pub, but it was the 2nd one they opened. They had a lot in the UK and EU.

It was wooden and had art on the wall. They only served pizza, pretzels as they only had an oven here.  It was a tiny kitchen, big seating area type place.

Plenty of taps though. Always plenty of taps here.

I picked one of their pub only brews, Hello, My Name is Ingrid, an IPA. It was a nice beer and the bartender and I laughed when I ordered it. I think that was why they named it so ridiculously.

Turns out the bartender is also an American, going to school here and working at the pub during the summer. Quite the life!

Pizza after pizza came out of a very narrow kitchen area. It looked like they could only cook 1 at a time, so they would set one up while another was baking. Repeat all day.

It was soon time to keep moving, can’t sit in a pub all day especially when it wasn’t raining.

Edinburgh was very pretty city to walk through. Cobblestone streets, old buildings, interesting shops all over. I didn’t see many chains, it all seemed local.

After mounting the hill to High St, I passed by an interesting joint, Piemaker. You name it they had it in baked in dough.

This was my first haggis encounter in country as they had a haggis roll, but were sold out at the moment.

There were also traditional English meat pies, lamb pies and mac and cheese pie, what?!

About 1-2£ per roll and they were big. 2 is plenty to tide you over for a few hours. Tasty and flaky rolls you can eat there standing at a small table, no chairs here.

I was instantly revived and ready to walk more! I turned the other direction down High St, away from city centre.

It started out cool but soon with pubs, a shoemaker, tailor but then lead to clothing shops, betting agencies, nothing cool.

By now I was checking my phone for weather info. Always important to check the forecast before heading out walking for the day. Especially the UK, storms popped up suddenly and it was cloudy out.

But then it is usually cloudy out in Scotland as I’d find out. I’m pretty sure it was in Scotland I began to wear my raincoat daily.

I didn’t want to risk it so I turned and headed back to the hostel. I was in a steep part of town, there were stairs everywhere.

I almost made it to my place before it rained. Most of the walk was covered so I didn’t get too wet.

It looked like a local futbol match was on, so a pint and footy night it had become.

Had a couple pints while it rained on and off. Saw some locals strolling down the street and a lot of people with luggage. Many rolling cases came down this road since the railway station was basically across the street.

Which makes me wonder if its more correct to say its catty corner to the hostel or kitty corner to the hostel. I’ve heard both at various times, so I presume its a regional thing or I’m hearing it all wrong.

The railway was about a block down and across the street from the hostel is what I’m trying to say. Lots of luggage and people watching as cars and black taxis dropped people off to far away lands.

I had some light conversation with a group of people about to go out clubbing. They had to take a taxi there. I’ve never been a thumping bass and drums man though I kept them entertained while they waited for a car.

My cousins from TX called me, so I talked to them for awhile. They are cool guys, always nice to talk to family on the road. I told them where I was and where I had been.

I had 1 last pint and watched the rain before retiring for the night. 20160825_205812

Song: Travis  All I Want to Do is Rock

Beer: Red MacGregor

Dream trip Day 92 Plane, bus, hello Edinburgh, hello UK…

Travel day yet again! Couting all the flights, this would make lucky 7:

DFW to London

Bordeaux to Lisbon

Porto to Madrid

Barcelona to Brussels

Brussels to Barcelona

Barcelona to Budapest

I flew easyJet, Ryanair whatever was cheapest, really. I knew having a backpack and a satchel, both qualified for carry on. So no surprise fees as long as you remember to eat  and fill up your water bottle before boarding.

I mainly used skyscanner.com a site that shows you the daily flight costs for any route out of any airport by month. I had the luxury of waiting for the cheapest week or day for a flight to my destination.

I’d also check flights on hipmunk.com where you can select flights based on agony, or a combination of transfers,  flight time, layovers etc.

Edinburgh came up really cheap from Warsaw. I think the flight was really just had a layover in Edinburgh en route to London.

I’d also taken into account hostel check out time this trip so I wouldn’t walk around aimlessly for a couple hours.

I had time to pack up and hit up the corner coffee shop one last time. Free wi-fi, too. Had to update my family so they’d know where I was, so I dropped them an email with pics.

This was my last chance for moderately priced food as well so I picked up a sandwich and apple for the trip.

I opened my Uber app and had a car take me to the airport. It was accessible via public transportation. 2 buses and at least an hour, mainly waiting on the transfer bus to the airport.

Only 20 min via car so why not go out in style?

The Warsaw airport was a bit confusing, it had a lot of gates, over 50, but for some reason the block to my flight wasn’t along the main walking route.

My routine is to walk as far as I can throughout the terminal before boarding, in an effort to tire myself out a bit as well as explore airports.

It was down to about 15 min before my board time before I realized I may not find my gate in time.

One more pass and there it was, down a hall and some steps, to the basement, were 10 other terminals for smaller flights, I guess. Not sure why they did it different, but I was happy to see it was going to be a pretty empty flight.

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I selected an empty row and was rewarded by a guy who sat along the aisle, no one in the middle. Score!

No close inspections on my entry date. Nor when I landed in Scotland. I correctly stated I was ultimately en route to Dublin, but I had to see Scotland, since it was along the way and all.

The passport girl smiled, “You’ll luv it here. Welcome to Scotland!” She stamped my passport and waved me through.  I was the UK’s problem now.

Luckily I still had some £ in my bag so I was able to afford the bus from airport to my hostel.

It was raining here too! Confounded rain, always following me!

I understood people here! English and with great accents, too.

Our bus turned and stopped, people got in, people go off. No matter if I remembered the name of my stop, I compulsively checked my map app to once again verify. Like, 10x while the bus was rolling.

My stop was doubly easier as it was also the final stop so I don’t know why I was so concerned about missing it.

Bonus: my hostel was maybe 2 blocks from the bus stop, something I didn’t plan for but due to sprinkling rain, I was quite happy about.

It was cold, actually cold here, even with my long sleeve shirt and raincoat on. I was going to have to do some shopping.

I was warmly greeted by the hostel receptionist who had dreads wrapped up like a crown on her head.

No one in my room but I do see bags. I’d see them later.

My hostel was next to a pub so I decided that was best option to end the evening. I am not sure why travel, flying makes you so tired, but it does.

A couple pints, light conversation with a few people asking for another pub. At least I understood them though I couldn’t help.

Hearing different languages does mess with your mind a bit. It takes some time to adjust but then you start picking out a word or phrases soon.

It’s strange, I don’t know any languages well, but hearing a couple words, context, tenor of the conversation I was able to figure out the gist of what people were talking about in each country.

Conversation is the same wherever you go: weather, girl problems, funny story, what’s up with our government?

I finished my pint just as the rain began the fall harder. Night rain is the best rain and best way to fall asleep.

 

Beer: Edinburgh Gold

Song: Mogwai   Travel is Dangerous

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